For Immediate Release
Contact: Emily Schneider
Indianapolis (May 6, 2013) — Bias in the media was not always considered a negative. In fact, until about 100 years ago, it hardly ever occurred to anyone that media should be unbiased. Our current standards demand that the media give all perspectives a fair shake, and yet few do. In the May/June issue of The Saturday Evening Post, now available on newsstands, contributor Frederick Allen takes a look at the history of media bias and how it impacts modern day news, offering an historical perspective that only the Post can provide.
According to Allen, while the Progressive Era of the early 1900s touted impartial news reporting, mainstream media began to fracture in the 1960s when even Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” came out against the Vietnam War and helped end Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. But the real changing of the tides came with the cultural earthquake of the Internet, something that Allen describes has “become a democracy of instant newsgathering and reporting by absolutely anybody with access to a smartphone.”
Allen offered advice for those looking for an objective view of the news:
Triangulate from less biased sources: Fox News has a clearly conservative slant, MSNBC has a liberal one. Whatever news source you begin with, think about how hard that source tries to be unbiased.
Separate news from opinion: Always ask yourself whether what you’re getting is reporting or commentary. In newspapers the distinction is usually pretty clear. There’s news on the front page and commentary on the editorial page. On television and on the Internet, it’s often less clear.
Be suspicious: Always have your antennae out for anything that sounds untrue. If something you hear or read seems questionable, a simple Google or Google News search can often ferret out the truth. Factcheck.org, politifact.com, and snopes.com are good nonpartisan sites devoted to separating truth from fiction.
Balance your news diet: Try to get at least some of your news from the other side. Even if you feel strongly about an issue or a news event yourself, it’s vital to take in opposing positions. Somewhere between one extreme and the other usually lies the truth.
Recognize your own biases: The multiplicity of voices available to us today allows people to find news sources that consistently present the news the way they like it. This tends to strengthen people’s prejudices and make all of us even more polarized than ever. Try to stay aware of this tendency in yourself.
The complete story appears in the May/June issue of The Saturday Evening Post and online at saturdayeveningpost.com/balancing-act. Additionally, a series of historic Post articles offering perspective on the subject of media bias and freedom of the press are available online at saturdayeveningpost.com/media-bias.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Post contributor Frederick Allen, please contact Emily Schneider at The Rosen Group at 646-695-7050 or [email protected].
About The Saturday Evening Post: For nearly 300 years, The Saturday Evening Post has chronicled American history in the making—reflecting the distinctive characteristics and values that define the American way. Today’s Post continues the grand tradition of providing art, entertainment and information in a stimulating mix of idea-driven features, cutting-edge health and medical trends—plus fiction, humor, and laugh-out-loud cartoons. A key feature is the Post Perspective, which brings historical context to current issues and hot topics such as health care, religious freedom, education, and more.
Tracing its roots to Benjamin Franklin, The Saturday Evening Post mirrors cherished American ideals and values, most memorably illustrated by its iconic cover artist Norman Rockwell. The Post is also known for publishing such literary greats as Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, J.D. Salinger, and Kurt Vonnegut, and continues to seek out and discover emerging writers of the 21st century.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, the Post is a publication of the nonprofit Saturday Evening Post Society, which also publishes the award-winning youth magazines Turtle, Humpty Dumpty, and Jack and Jill.
“As the nation changed, the Post changed, but it looks to its past as a fertile ground for its future”
—Starkey Flythe, Jr, Former Post Executive Editor