View profile

Big Revolution - Trust in journalists' biases

Welcome to the start of another week of Big Revolution. – Martin
October 22 · Issue #239 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to the start of another week of Big Revolution.

Big things you need to know today
  • Facebook reportedly wants to buy a cybersecurity firm. The Information reports that Facebook wants to “ repair its tattered reputation around data protection” but hasn’t settled on a company to acquire yet.
  • Tesla has stopped promoting its ‘full self-driving’ add-on. The feature, which added hardware to new cars that would eventually allow them to operate autonomously was confusing customers, and the feature was facing setbacks.
The big thought
Credit: Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash
Trust in journalists’ biases
One of the most talked-about articles in media circles over the weekend was Axios CEO Jim VandeHei’s 4 ways to fix “fake news.” In particular, the suggestion that:
“News organizations should ban their reporters from doing anything on social media — especially Twitter — beyond sharing stories. Snark, jokes and blatant opinion are showing your hand, and it always seems to be the left one. This makes it impossible to win back the skeptics.”
This is a particularly extreme version of a view that crops up regularly from editors and executives who think that the best way to deal with accusations of bias is to completely hide all evidence of biases.
Accusing media organisations of bias is silly because of course they’re biased. Media organisations aren’t staffed by robots, they’re staffed by humans who naturally have opinions. Even if they work for a publication that emphasises impartiality, the way they execute that impartiality will be based on their life experiences and personal judgements – their biases.
The best way for readers to understand why the stories they read are the way they are is to see journalists’ personal sides. If, for example, I see Mike Isaac’s snarky tweets, and his tweets about music and life in his local area, I trust his stories all the more - I have an idea about the person who wrote them. If I read a story by a journalist who only ever tweets links to their stories I’m more likely to wonder what it is they’re hiding.
It should be completely optional for journalists to have a social media presence, but to say them doing so reduces trust in the media is a simplistic view to say the least.
Karen K. Ho has a good Twitter thread that makes more solid arguments against VandeHei here.
One big read
If you’re on the side of democracy, Nick Clegg, why are you going to work for Facebook?
Carole Cadwalladr’s take on Facebook’s big new hire.
That’s all for today...
See you in your inbox tomorrow. In the meantime, don’t forget:
  • if you have any feedback on Big Revolution, you can always hit ‘reply’ to this email
  • if you like this newsletter, share this link with your friends and suggest they subscribe
  • if you want to help support me in bringing you this newsletter every day, you can become a member for $5 per month. More details
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $5 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Martin SFP Bryant
You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue