Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Media Bias


Media critic blithefully blind to media’s all-pervasive bias

By Dave Andrusko
Géza Röhrig plays Saul in the Holocaust film “Son of Saul.” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Géza Röhrig plays Saul in the Holocaust film “Son of Saul.” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Here’s today’s edition of you cannot–cannot–make this stuff up, courtesy of the Washington Post.
A few days ago, the Post’s Paul Farhi opinioned about how candidates running for president, but most particularly Republicans, use the media as a convenient punching bag, a virtual piñata. Farhi, the Post’s media reporter, writes

Beating on the press is as old as Spiro Agnew’s political career, so there’s nothing new about candidates dishing out an occasional head slap to the media. What’s new in this cycle is the number and kind of attacks — complaints about biased coverage, about hostile coverage, about inaccurate or superficial coverage. Or just not enough coverage.
And your point, Mr. Farhi?
I had entirely forgotten about his silly post until I read a critical letter-to-the-editor from a man who, as it happens, lives in my neck of the woods. While properly noting that some media-bashing can merely be self-serving, the letter writer astutely observed
The Post also appeared to blame politicians’ complaints for the all-time low in public trust in the media, rather than attempting to discern other possible reasons that the public as well as politicians perceive bias. Media opinions are not restricted to the op-ed pages or cable news rants. The Post scatters throughout the paper opinion pieces (often euphemistically called “analysis”) that try to tell readers how to interpret the news. Art, film , TV and even architecture reviews routinely contain snide political comments unrelated to the topic. Until “big media” replace s defensive responses to criticism with honest self-scrutiny, the public will continue to perceive them as biased.
Which was so on the money…media bias that appears everywhere in the Post, often under the guise of “analysis” and in parts of the newspaper who could hope would be immune to the temptation.
But the letter writer could have had in mind an interview/review that just appeared by one of the Post’s writers who covers movies.
The movie, “Son of Saul,” sounds absolutely riveting. Michael O’Sullivan describes the character Saul as
a member of a Sonderkommando unit in a Nazi death camp — a team of Jewish prisoners who were spared death, if only briefly, to work in the crematoriums and gas chambers. In the course of his duties at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Saul finds a dead boy whom he comes to believe is his son, and tries to bury him.
I won’t go any further, except to say the responses of László Nemes, who directed and co-wrote the film, and Géza Röhrig, who plays Saul, are immensely powerful and make you want to see a film that will be a challenge.
What’s this have to do with media bias? O’Sullivan asks
The Holocaust film is a staple of cinema, especially in Europe. Does the success of your film suggest that parallels can — or should — be drawn between the events of the Holocaust and today?
And by “today,” what he means is a particular Republican presidential candidate who he names by name. You don’t like his politics, fine, Mr. O’Sullivan. To liken him to Nazis and to what took place in extermination camps goes beyond the pale, even for the Post.
Neither man takes the bait, and in fact takes O’Sullivan’s question in a direction I would strongly suspected he did not care for.

To return to the letter writer’s critique, if the news media were not so blind to their own prejudices, they would understand that it’s not just candidates for high office or “a candidate’s most devoted followers” who find their behavior abhorrent.
The public at large grows more and more disenchanted by the month.

Source: NRLC News

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