The phony binary choice of conspiracy versus journalistic independence

I mentioned in an earlier post how the media propaganda system works to tilt coverage in favor of candidates who will favor the interests of the oligarchy and against those who attack them. I used as an example the case of the New York Times reporter who was assigned to cover Bernie Sanders.

Now, the editor of the Washington Post Marty Baron has responded to the accusation by Bernie Sanders that this newspaper, owned by Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in the world, may tend to be biased against politicians like him because he has lambasted the greed of the wealthy and their exploitation of workers and called for tax increases on them to fund programs that serve the less well-to-do.

Baron defended the journalistic objectivity of the paper in a tweet.

Baron’s false binary choice of conspiracy versus independence is designed to shut down criticism. Media analyses by serious scholars have shown that bias does not have to take this overt form and in fact is counter-productive if it does so because reporters are never very convincing if they are forced to say what they do not believe. The best propaganda systems are those that have in place a filtering system that results in the hiring of people who already have the ‘right’ beliefs and then they rise to positions of editor and so on. Any serious journalist who does not acknowledge the existence of these analyses (which are hardly controversial) is either too ignorant to call themselves a journalist or is being utterly disingenuous and self-serving, as Glenn Greenwald points out.

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