Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Media Bias and Censorship

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Media Bias and Censorship

Article excerpt

The private discourse of individuals through letters, emails, twitterings, blog posts, and oral remarks is not subject to external condemnation nor control. These people cannot be legitimately accused of biased perspectives nor self- censorship. Their articulations are their opinions, often aimed at an extremely delimited audience and no matter how skewed, bizarre, propagandistic, or empirically wrong they may be, they are entitled to their beliefs. The same cannot be said of the public discourse tendered through the general media including newspapers, magazines, journals, and radio, television, and Web broadcasts. Many of these media unequivocally state or strongly imply that they present empirically verifiable, factual reports of world events: "All the news that's fit to print," as The New York Times has famously claimed for more than a century. This fitness naturally varies along a chronological and cultural spectrum, so that social mores in the early twentieth century precluded discussion of extreme sexual matters, whereas today such biases and self- censorship no longer obtain. Indeed, The Times fails to muster the necessary discretion (self- censorship) to abjure publishing graphic photographs of those maimed and killed in military operations. …

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