• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

How many sub-basements are there?

It's not exactly a shock that Americans' confidence in television news has dropped to a new low:

Americans' confidence in television news is at a new low by one percentage point, with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year and from 46% when Gallup started tracking confidence in television news in 1993.

Not shocking to me, since I never did have much confidence in it. This isn't another "liberal bias" dig; the problem for me has always been the amount of time devoted to stories. Chalk it up to my print-journalism prejudice, but I've never counted on TV news for much more than the headline -- a quick and very vague sense of what a story is about. If I want more details, I go to the newspapers; still more, magazines, if its a topic covered there. And today there is the Internet, where you can always find in-depth treatments on just about anything.

I somethimes think those of us on the right make too much of liberal bias, by the way. Although it's quite real, not all of it is the result of a conscious effort to put a particualr philosophical spin on the news. People are naturally affected by their world views; we can't help it -- it's the "what you see depends on where you stand" syndrome, and it affects liberals, conservatives, libertarians and everybody else. Most journalists are liberal, so they can't help but see events from that perspective.

As long as you know it's there, you can take it into account instead of passing up a valuable asset. I know, for example, that NPR has a liberal slant. But it's not hard to filter that out and just concentrate on all the details in the stories. On some things, NPR provides more depth and background than even print. (Where it gets its funding is an argument for another day.)

But if you're just going to watch Fox so you can whine about its conservative bias or tune in to MSNBC to feel shocked an outraged by the loony left nitwits, go ahead and have fun. But there are more productive things to do.