By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Biased people can find biased media

You literally can pick your poison when tuning into the current quagmire of national politics.

The New York Times is calling on Congress to investigate President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, commenting: “During the Vietnam War, Watergate and the Iran-contra scandal, when a president’s actions or policies crossed the line, Congress investigated and held the White House to account. The time has come for it to do so again.”

Far across the political spectrum, a much different investigation is being demanded by the mysterious Trump.news website: “The time has come for the Trump Administration to start arresting traitors in government AND the media.”

The Wall Street Journal’s latest investigation claims, through sources, that “U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.” Far-right Breitbart.com is repeating that report while featuring its own nod to the president with this story: “Trump vows to catch ‘low life leakers’ in Washington D.C.”

Trump.news, incidentally, is beyond Breitbart. Literally unnoticed by any other media, it evolved from its pre-election sibling site, Clinton.news, which continues its campaign of savaging Democrats.

Interested in national reporting and commentary by sons of Yamhill County? This week’s New York Times column by Yamhill-Carlton High graduate Nick Kristof poses the yet-unanswered question, “What Did Trump Know, and When Did He Know It?” And at Vox.com, Mac High graduate Jim Tankersley’s latest article is entitled, “Globalization was great for Trump’s business. As president, he hates it.”

Tankersley last month left The Washington Post to join Vox.com as leader of its policy and politics section. Vox Editor-in-Chief Ezra Klein, who left The Post in 2014 to launch Vox, introduced Tankersley to Vox staff as a journalist who has “a head for numbers with a heart for people — he will make sure that our focus on policy never comes at the expense of our compassion for, and focus on, those it affects.”

Through all the presidential clamor, the chicken-egg argument continues: Is “the media” biased, or do biased people simply demand and eventually find media outlets that fit their personal leanings?

If you are tied to one end of that media spectrum, try spending a week watching or reading the other end. It can be enlightening to track your own thought process during a temporary media switcheroo, perhaps better understanding the people who regularly reinforce their biases from that media outlet.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

Mike

I expose myself to all of it. NYT, WaPo, Fox, Breithart, Drudge, Federalist Papers, and Regional news sites from LA to Kansas City to Denver to Chicago, to Boston. Not only the articles, I read the comments. We are in different worlds, completely different realities. An even mild question of orthodoxy will be swamped with insults and in some cases threats. There is no common ground at the extremes. All we can hope for is the very large group of non-extremists will sort things out and bring us back from the brink.

Don Dix

Mike wrote -- " There is no common ground at the extremes"

Basically, I read this as true, and place the blame directly on the political parties. It is the design to oppose anything and everything promoted by the opposition.

If the majority would become 'non-members' of any political party, moderation could become the prevalent mindset. There might be little reason to push extremism. And that, my friends, would be something everyone could embrace.

Mike

And now we are in world where the POTUS says the media is the enemy of the people. This family owned local paper? All media? Sad. Terribly, terribly sad.

Rumpelstilzchen

The problem really started with the arrival of cable and internet media who sold news as entertainment and anger as a drug.

In the old days, readers would rail against the paper's editorial pages. Left-wingers saw the shills of big business, right-wingers saw horrible liberal bias, but most people and most media had the integrity to separate a news story from an opinion piece.

Nowadays, a) that requires too much critical thinking, and b) where is the fun in that? It's now possible, and much more comforting, to construct your own media bubble that confirms what you want to believe, assures you that you're smart, and gives you the illusion that you may even be part of a "silent majority".

So no matter which delusion you prefer, that Trump will be swept away by popular resistance, or that he's a great president, you'll find media to support either fantasy.

And reading media from the other side, as suggested by Mr. Bladine, appears to me of limited utility; I'm actually getting tired even of those on my own side. Canadian and British ones maybe?

kona

Rumpelstilzchen, I agree.

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