NewsBusters exposes bias in the media


Browsing through the web this morning, I came across an article in New York Magazine. David Chalian, Yahoo’s Washington bureau chief, was fired for saying Mitt Romney doesn’t care about black people.

According to the article, Chalian did not state the inappropriate comments publicly, but it was accidentally recorded and NewsBusters got a hold of the audio. Seeing the word NewsBusters confused me. I had never heard the term before.

Upon clicking the hyper link provided, I quickly learned that NewsBusters was not a “term.” NewsBusters was a blog with a purpose. Created in 2005 by the Media Research Center, NewsBusters focuses on uncovering bias in the media, critiquing reporting constructively and making timely corrections to articles. Think of the blog as the “media police” or “undercover media agent.”

Although journalists continue to rely on the Internet more than ever before, many fail to realize that because of the creation of blogs and social media — someone is always watching.

Chalian released a statement apologizing to Mitt Romney’s campaign and media outlets, for distracting their coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. In his statement he said, “I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke.” However, his apology was not accepted by Yahoo News and he was terminated immediately.

He is not the only news reporter to which this has happened. Since Twitter, Facebook, and blogging have become popular, many reporters have been fired or suspended for saying inappropriate, sexual, racial, and/or degrading comments. Ethical journalism is becoming an endangered species.

I am sure NewsBusters is not the only blog on the Internet that serves this purpose, but it is probably the best-known and best-regarded one. On Facebook it has more than 890,000 likes and, on Twitter, it has more than 43,000 followers. The blog operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is constantly being updated with new information.

Journalists, take note. There are watchdogs everywhere.

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