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Wallace biased vs. Bias - Broadcasting & Cable

Wallace biased vs. Bias

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CBS newsman Mike Wallace dismissed as 'nonsense' much of Bernard Goldberg's
recent book called Bias, which focuses on Goldberg's thesis that much of
the news media has 'liberal bias.'

Wallace addressed the subject in a luncheon speech Wednesday at New York's
Metropolitan Club, where he accepted the 'Fred Friendly First Amendment Award'
from Quinnipac University.

In his book, Goldberg elaborates on a theme he first raised a few years ago
in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that suggested that viewers no
longer trust those putting together the network evening newscasts.

But the numbers don't support the argument, Wallace submitted. True,
viewership to the network newscasts is down by more than 50 percent over a
20-year period. But that has more to do with the 300 or so additional viewing
choices the audience has and little if anything to do with trust.

The network newscasts still get almost nine times the audience (roughly 27
million viewers) of that delivered by the three cable news networks (Fox News
Channel, Cable News Network and MSNBC) on average in prime time.

There may well be more liberal reporters than conservative ones, Wallace
allowed. But that doesn't mean the liberal ones are any more or less biased than
the conservative ones. In fact, he said, most reporters, regardless of political
leaning, 'are pros and we want most of all to be accurate, we want to be
fair.'

Wallace quoted the late Tom Griffiths, who, as ombudsman for Time
magazine, compared the journalist's job to that of a juror: 'Jurors are not
required to be empty minds, free of past experience or views. What is properly
demanded of them is a readiness to put prejudices and uncorroborated impressions
aside in considering the evidence before them . as much is expected of the
journalist.'

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