We applaud media watchdogs for their investigative journalism and for publishing bias news that goes unmentioned in mainstream news.
But who watches the watchdogs? After all, it’s only natural that watchdogs have their own bias.
At AllSides, we say bias is not a problem as long as it’s transparent and we can see more than one viewpoint at once. That’s why we’ll periodically highlight stories from different watchdog viewpoints.
This week, the looming fiscal cliff seems to be on everyone’s mind, so let’s see what the media bias watchdogs are covering around this topic.
From a Watchdog on Right (Media Research Center): Only ABC Highlights Obama's Flip-Flop on a Budget Solution That Doesn't 'Hike' Tax Rates
This is a story about the president rejecting a plan put forward by Republicans this week. It says, “One year ago, Barack Obama backed a budget solution that would not ‘hike’ tax rates. Now, the President rejects this plan, an apparent flip-flop only ABC's Jake Tapper reported... On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Tapper reminded that "what the Republicans are offering sounds a lot like what the President wanted during last year's budget showdown."
The article reports that, while CBS and NBC ignored the story, ABC played a 2011 clip of President Obama saying, “Give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions."
From a Watchdog on Left (Media Matters for America): Wall Street Journal Hides Senator McConnell's Past Support For Presidential Authority On Debt Ceiling
This story is about news coverage of Republican rejection of an element of the White House fiscal cliff proposal.
Media Matters for America reports, “The Wall Street Journal covered up Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) original authorship of a proposal to give the president authority to take steps to avoid a federal government default in an article reporting that McConnell now opposes such a plan.”
The article describes how the Wall Street Journal reported McConnell’s assertion that presidential authority on the debt ceiling is “a nonstarter for anyone who cares about the federal debt,” but the Journal left out the fact that McConnell himself came up with this idea in 2011.
It’s striking how similar these stories are, isn’t it? Each watchdog story exposes an apparent bias, but each chose to cover their story because of their own bias.
Nevertheless, we are all better informed by reading what each of them has to say.