The Role of a Newspaper’s Position in Encouraging and Discouraging Bias

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Derek on his blog opined that it might not be such a good idea for newspapers to so clearly allow their position on politics and social issues to be known.  He explained that this encouraged divisions between readership (democrats read one paper, republicans another) and that it also foster bias in news articles.  While I think Derek makes some really great points, I also see advantages to newspapers being very open and clear about their standing on current controversial issues.  When they are forthright and clear about where they as a paper stand, it is easier for readers to read articles with a critical eye.  The example I used in my comment to Derek was that if I know a paper is against the death penalty and I read an article in that paper about the death penalty, I will know to read that article carefully, searching for any biases.  I would ask myself: did they interview all sides? Were they fair?  I think not only knowing the papers position allows the reader to examine the articles through a clearer lens, it also would encourage the reporters to be more unbiased.  If the readership knows where the paper stands on an issue and is viewing the articles with more suspicion, the reporter will be forced to be doubly cautious on reporting it and being fair to all sides.    

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