It is rather common for the media to be accused of bias, usually towards the left. This seems to be obviously true of MSNBC. Fox News is, of course, not liberally biased. It is, however, clearly leaning to the right. Talk radio is generally right leaning. CNN is sometimes accused of leaning left, although most people who watch it are stuck in airports and hence their judgment is probably impaired. As such, the media does seem to have plenty of instances of bias. However, they are clearly not all liberal. Unless, of course, Fox News, talk radio and so on are excluded from the media.
While the matter of a general bias among media folk can be debated, there is a clear bias in most of the media. Namely, the media has a bias towards stories that they believe will attract viewers. This typically means stories that are sensationalistic, preferably with a sexual element or an attention grabbing crime. Such stories are covered, obviously enough, at the expense of matters that are generally far more significant. To use the most recent example, while Weiner’s misdeeds were newsworthy, his being uncovered was covered far more than it actually deserved. As Weiner himself pointed out, we are involved in three wars, unemployment is high, revolts are sweeping the middle east, and so on. However, the main focus of the media remained aimed right at Weiner’s groin (an area to which he seemed obsessed with drawing attention towards).
While it is tempting to lay the blame on the media, they are actually following a good business model: they are giving the customers what they want. The news media is a business and it makes most of its revenue through advertisement. As such, the media folks need to keep the numbers up to keep the money rolling in. What keeps the numbers up is, obviously enough, stories that are sensational, sordid, sleazy, sexual and so on. As such, the media will tend to focus on these sorts of stories because that is what people prefer. This would seem to entail that changing the media bias requires changing what the consumer wants. To be fair to the consumers, they tend to consume what is pushed towards them, so the media folks could take a more active role in serving up more significant news. The analogy to food is obvious: companies sell junk food because people want it, but people want junk food in part because the companies push it. Just as Americans need to get off the junk food, we also need to cut back on our junk news.
This is a rather challenging thing. To use another obvious analogy, trying to provide the significant news is a lot like teaching. Most people find the content of education to be far less interesting than what is going on on Facebook or what text is incoming. Just as some teachers simply give up on trying to compete, so too has much of the media.