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Bill Kennedy: Media bias takes different forms

Other than religion, the two areas of modern American life that seem to provoke the most extreme visceral emotions are politics and sports, and in both there are biases shown in what is known as the mainstream media.

These biases come from both ends of the political spectrum and large market versus small market or haves and have nots in the realm of sports.

Politically speaking, Fox News has been vilified for it's openly more right wing, conservative point of view. On the other hand, the three other major TV networks have a more left-leaning, liberal bent in their reporting and editorial content. The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun are two of the more liberal leaning newspapers in this area in their editorial content, and while there may be a major newspaper with a more conservative viewpoint, I'm not sure which one it would be.

TV networks and newspapers are entitled to have an editorial point of view, and in my mind columns and editorials are by nature opinions and/or points of view on whatever subject is being discussed.

News reports and articles, however, should confine themselves to the facts being reported. Basic journalism classes used to teach the six points that should be covered in a story: who, what, when, where, why and how. There was no mention of the viewpoint on, or interpretation of the facts by the reporter to be included in any news report, whether written or audio/visual.

Unfortunately, many of the new wave of journalists were apparently never taught these six points or have simply forgotten their basic mission, to report the news. More often than not, a news report on any political subject will show the point of view of the reporter or the editorial staff. Such reporting does a great disservice to the viewer, listener or reader by attempting to sway the consumer to their particular point of view instead of just stating the facts and letting the reader or viewer decide on his/her own how to interpret them.

We as news consumers shouldn't have to have an interpreter to tell us whether a particular report on the political goings on is completely factual or if it contains some fact and some opinion. There is room for opinion on the editorial page. The news pages should contain just that, the news.

As for the sports bias, we in this area are overwhelmingly aware of the national media's lack of respect for our teams.

The major cable networks that specialize in sports seem to forget that there are places outside of New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and to a lesser extent, Chicago. The most obvious in this bias is ESPN, which regularly fails to even report the score of the Orioles games unless they lose to the Yankees or Red Sox, even on their "Baseball Tonight" show.

Teams such as the Twins and Brewers and even the Rangers are kind of in the same boat with the O's in that regard.

Orioles great defensive plays or majestic home runs seldom are shown as "Web Gems" or "Going Going Gone." The MLB Network is a bit better in its reporting of the Orioles, but that may just be because two of their commentators are Billy Ripken and Harold Reynolds, who both played second base for our home team, and a third commentator, John Hart, who was a former front office executive in the warehouse.

The Ravens fare a bit better since they are perennial playoff contenders with some well known and popular star players, but even in this preseason period the Jets from New York are garnering most of the attention of the ESPN and even the NFL Network folks. The rest of the league's cities could shrivel up and go away and I'm not sure that the people at ESPN would notice.

And it's not just our teams that get the short end of the stick on the networks. If you are from middle America or the "left coast" your coverage is next to none unless it's for something amazing, like a perfect game or something scandalous, such as a PED suspension.

Media bias exists and we have to be aware of it and be able to pull fact from opinion and don't get too upset when our locals are ignored.

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