In a must-read piece on The Decline and Fall of the BBC, Jonathan Foreman observes that
Accusations of endemic and consistent political bias have been particularly easy to bat away, largely because those making the accusations fail to understand that the organization’s very real biases—even those against Israel and America—are largely unconscious.
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The most important thing to understand about BBC bias is that, like its institutional obsessions with youth and celebrity, it is neither conscious nor in any way officially mandated. There are no orders from the top reminding journalists that Israel should be considered the greatest threat to peace, freedom, and justice, or that businessmen should generally be treated as crooks until proven innocent. That is just what everyone in the corporation believes in the same way that they know the world is round. Moreover, it is what they believe that everyone else—by which I mean everyone who is intelligent, educated, and of decent moral character—believes.
And we see a similar “unconscious bias” in American news media as well where the various journalists have never really associated with economic libertarians or social conservatives. No wonder the Kermitt Gosnell trial has gone largely unreported:
If [New York Times reporter Trip] Gabriel had wanted a more questioning view, he could have read Melinda Henneberger’s online analysis for the Post, “Why Kermit Gosnell hasn’t been on Page One”: “I say we didn’t write more because the only abortion story most outlets ever cover in the news pages is every single threat or perceived threat to abortion rights. In fact, that is so fixed a view of what constitutes coverage of that issue that it’s genuinely hard, I think, for many journalists to see a story outside that paradigm as news. That’s not so much a conscious decision as a reflex, but the effect is one-sided coverage.
Because reporters largely travel in circles where support for “abortion rights” is de rigueur, they hesitate to cover stories which paint a less-than-flattering image of abortion providers.