Are there any politically-neutral news channels in the US?

Discussion in 'US' started by Gassing_Badgers, Oct 14, 2011.

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  1. Having sat through half and hour of the O'Reilly on Fox News telling me how Obama wants to suck the lifeblood out of the US in tax dollars and sell it to the Chinese, I felt the need to change the channel to something a little less infammatory.

    Unfortunately, the next channel was MSNBC, where I found Celine Dion lookalike Rachel Maddow spouting on about how bad Republicans were, with a little confused cartoon hefalump in the background just to remind us all who the 'enemy' is.


    Seriosuly, is it possible to find a news channel that doesn't seem to devote its time to belittling the other side in order to re-enforce the existing stereotypes of their viewers?
     
  2. You may as well ask if there are any truly neutral news channels in the world! They all have their own agendas, be it the ruling political party, a biased owner ala Murdoch, or just the bias of the particular news editor!
    I find it best to try and view several different channels to get differing slants on things! Here in Morocco it is BBC world, CNN, Al Jazeera in English, Sky, France 24 in English & a few others from time to time, that way you seem to be able to at least get some of the salient facts of situations!
     
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  3. News Networks are, without exception, shit. This is because they have to sensationalise and play up to their viewers' own cognitive biases in order to maintain an audience big enough so sell ad space. Even the network and local news programming on regular channels are under ever increasing pressure to generate revenue, so you see increasing amounts of "soft news" in the form of gossip and entertainment bullshit, interspersed with more sensationalism. At the local level, this normally involves a reporter going out and trying scare the shit out you so the average mouth-breather is compelled to watch, so in the previews they'll ask rhetorical questions like "Is your local restaurant trying to kill you?" and "Are parking valets acting like those guys in Ferris Bueller's Day Off?"

    A lot of people are turning to the News provision of BBC America for their take on world events, but for my money, the single best news show in the US has to be the PBS News Hour, which is a lot more like the UK's Newsnight or Channel 4 news, insofar as they actually take the time to cover the subject in depth rather than relying on some loudmouthed gobshite inciting you to hop on the outrage bus. Of course, it does come in for a lot of criticism from people with the attention span of a goldfish and who adapt to unfamiliar ideas and information like a duck confronting the blueprints to the space shuttle.
     
  4. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    John Stewart - The Daily Show.

    No - I am not joking.

    BBC - but you don't want to hear that probably.
     
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  5. I'm not sure there is any such thing as politically neutral news, let alone a neatral channel.

    Events are distorted simply by being defined as news, or not, and it all flows from there.

    It's just that some people distort it more than others.
     
  6. Wasn't there a serious report a couple of years back that showed that under-25 Septics trusted the news on the Comedy Network and MTV more than they trusted the "conventional" news shows? If so, all credit to them. PEW & the university of Maryland produced a study that showed hom much you know about what's going on decreases, the more Fox "News" you watch. I find it telling that NewsInt gives the USA Fox News... and gives the Brits "Sky News". And that Murdoch doesn't actually LIKE Sky News one bit. Possiblt because, unlike most other parts of the Murdoch empire, it covers stories that might embarrass the Dirty Digger (Like his daughter reading out the WRONG winner of "Australia's next top model", which kind of totally fucked up the show, and made her a laughingstock.)
     
  7. I know Jon Snow can be a prat but Channel 4 news here in the UK gets my vote.

    As for news channels in the US - hahahaha. Fox News made me laugh the hardest; CBS and ABC made my jaw drop and my eyes rolled. I would certainly watch for amusement value but as for politically neutral, informative, news-gathering - no chance!

    The major problem is that they are all insular in their outlook and present a patronizing attitude towards their viewers.
     
  8. I appreciate there is no such thing as a truly impartial news channel, however the extent to which the 'popular' US channels are polarised into 'Democrat' and 'Republican' really does boggle the mind.

    Evening shows such as O'Reilly and Maddow remind me of the Lewis Prothero 'Voice of London' character from V for Vendetta, in that their shows are typically nothing but a concentrated slice of partisan venom that gives their viewers the impression of an intellectually rigourous analysis of the news.
     
  9. I would have to agree with Crabtastic, about PBS news Hour as a highly credible source.
    The "News" networks are known to pander to the Biases of their (majority) viewers.
    BBC America shot them selves in the foot, when they dropped their evening news broadcast. The "traditional" Networks here, I do not watch, as they are invariably banal.
    The Daily Show, is news satire at its very best, how I do not watch that much at all either!
     
  10. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    The problem with 'neutral' news like the BBC is that their bias is more hidden and can be more insidious.

    The generally Guardianista lefty filter that the BBC puts onto the news is in danger of becoming the consensus.

    At least with Fox or CNN you know what your getting.
     
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  11. Have to agree about PBS, it certainly has the best news and current affairs on U.S. TV. There was also a German broadcaster that had a good English language news programme, can't remember its name.

    I always preferred the 'Colbert Report' over 'The Daily Show' but neither was as cutting as something like 'Have I Got News for You'.
     
  12. It's best to dip into sources across the political spectrum all have interests and biases.

    Most US MSM sources have a softly liberal bias, this isn't any sort of conspiracy, it's more a factor of the sort of folks that are attracted to journalism, highly educated skeptics. I mean "liberal" in a US sense, they are well to the right of the European center, they tend to abhor anything even vaguely resembling a progressive social-democracy.

    Refreshingly Fox News was set up to remedy this by taking a highly skewed editorial line rather than attempting the fatuous balance of most outlets. Like The Sun you'll find many of the journos working for it are liberal. Like that rag it's more an affair of rabble rousing entertainment than a serious news source and it plays to its audience prejudices very well.

    None of them can really been relied on when the countries blood is up. It's the great liberal paper of record NYT and WaPo that led the charge into Iraq not Fox.

    I'd recommend an occasional nibble at Al Jaz, Press TV and even the, timid, lick spittle BBC as a corrective.
     
  13. Good point. One of the key differences between conservatism and liberalism (in the classic sense, not the annoying American habit of using it as a codeword for leftyness) is that conservatives tend to view the world in black and white/ Manichean terms and liberals tend to see lots of shades of grey and complexity in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, neuroscientists have discovered that there is a correlation between how the parts of the brain that deal with fear are more highly developed in conservatives and the areas that deal with complexity are more developed with liberals. This is not a statement intended to extol the virtues of liberalism, per se. There are times and places where clarity of vision is essential to un-stall deliberations and decision-making and while liberalism is much more geared towards solving problems than learning to live with them, the presence of too much complexity often lends itself to a lot of hand-wringing.

    Of course, the real beauty of conservatism is that its message is much more easily understood by low-information voters. Someone without the time or the inclination to pay lots of attention to something will typically choose to buy into the most simple answer, rather than one that is much more difficult to understand. This is why Reagan got so much traction with the line “There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” It reinforces the notion that relying on instinct, rather than analysis, provides the best solution. It also explains why Herman Cain's 9-9-9 economic plan has done so well amongst primary voters as opposed to Romney's 60 point plan (or whatever it is), even though you will not find anyone who knows anything about economics who thinks the 9-9-9 plan would be anything but a complete clusterfuck if anyone actually tried to implement it.

    So, in order to get ratings and, subsequently, to earn money, your interests are best served by: 1) Scaring people (people always pay closer attention when they think they're being threatened by something unfamiliar) and 2) Giving them nice, simple answers that they can understand, preferably involving a narrative that they are good and whatever it is out there is evil. The result is 99.9% of News Corp's output. (The other .1% tends to be tits.)
     
  14. Russia Today is always good for a laugh, you western pig dogs