The Public Interest

Is television news biased?

Paul H. Weaver

Winter 1972

Is television news biased? That anyone alive today should debate this question, or even ask it, is at least paradoxical. The spirit of our age is the spirit of relativism—of the belief in the subjectivity of human consciousness, the parochialism of cultures and values, “doing your own thing,” etc. In such an age, the proposition that TV news is biased should be about as controversial as the law of gravity. Yet the situation is otherwise, to put it mildly. The question is not only asked and debated; it has generated an intense controversy that now includes, in addition to the extremes of left and right, a small army of journalists and network executives, politicians across the spectrum, ethnic and interest groups, presidential commissions, and just about everyone else with political interest or ambition.

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