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Russert understood that media bias hurt journalism 6/18/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Bias, TimRussert.

As Joni Mitchell used to sing, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” And so it goes with Tim Russert, who many of us were fond of, though never thought why beyond his intelligence, open-mindedness, fairness, equal toughness to all, and his personal decency. But if you think about it, anyone with those characteristics must have had something to say about the persistent accusations of establishment-friendly media bias the mainstream news outlets receive from both left and right.

Sure enough, according to Bernard Goldberg, Russert did have much to say about bias. “I am for having women in the newsroom and minorities in the newsroom…It opens up our eyes and gives us different perspectives. But just as well…let’s have people from all walks of life…You need cultural diversity, you need ideological diversity. You need it.”

When Goldberg asked him why there was such closed-mindedness when the subject comes around to media bias, Russert replied, “That, to me, is totally contrary to who we’re supposed to be as journalists. . . . If someone suggested there was an anti-black bias, an anti-gay bias, an anti-American bias, we’d sit up and say, ‘Let’s talk about this, let’s tackle it.’ Well, if there’s a liberal bias or a cultural bias we have to sit up and tackle it and discuss it. We have got to be open to these things.”

If every journalist were Tim Russert, would the public be as distrustful of mainstream outlets as they are today? Perhaps the concept of objectivity in news was bound to fail anyway, but openness, fairness, and concern about audience satisfaction are eternal values. If this is Tim Russert’s legacy, I could not think of a better one. (H/T Garry Rains)


1. Fundamentals of Interactive Journalism » Blog Archive » So How Unbiased Can the Field of Journalism Be? - 10/6/08

[…] Boriss addressed media bias in a post about Tim Russert’s opinion of media bias in his blog The Future of News. Boriss quoted Russert, who said, “If someone suggested there was […]

2. Rachel Geizhals - 10/6/08

I’m not sure that discussion is an effective way to end media bias on a political scale. This has been an issue for years, and it hasn’t improved. In fact, public distrust of the media has increased. Maybe if we tackle the political bias a different way – by facing it, accepting it, and publicizing it – we’ll gain public trust. Check out http://blogs.journalism.cuny.edu/interactivefundamentals/2008/10/06/so-how-unbiased-can-the-field-of-journalism-be/ for a more complete discussion on this topic.

3. Bill Bartmann - 9/3/09

Cool site, love the info.

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