Flipping the Script on Conservative Media Critiques

The media world has remained in a state of collective shock following the election of Donald Trump, and has questioned where they went wrong while struggling to figure out how to improve and regain the trust of the American public.

Within this whirlwind, The New York Times released a letter to their subscribers promising to “rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Time journalism.” In response to this letter Accuracy in Media’s (AIM) Cliff Kincaid published an article titled “Media Bias Has Become a Mental Illness,” which serves as a critique of the Times and calls the newspaper “hopelessly liberal,” in addition to other negative commentary throughout the article.

While every news outlet has room for improvement, a piece coming from AIM calling for an end to media bias and claiming that the Times is not able to report the issues that all of America feel are important is quite bold. AIM is known for its conservative viewpoints and only reports from that standpoint. In its mission statement, AIM says that its mission is to “promote accuracy, fairness and balance in news reporting. AIM exposes politically motivated media bias, teaches consumers to think critically about their news sources and holds the mainstream press accountable for its misreporting.”

How is that truly possible when your organization is not fairly critiquing the media?

AIM is a conservative news watchdog that exclusively selects liberal news and media services to critique. They claim to be a center that fights back against media bias, but its articles suggest otherwise. With headlines like “Lazy Liberal Journalist Smear Bannon,” “People are Laughing at Liberal Media” and “Media Bias has Become a Mental Illness” it is obvious that liberal media does not reach AIM’s standards of reporting. While AIM might be a “check” for liberal media, it leads to wondering who serves as its buffer.

Conservative news outlets have become synonymous with bias reporting and perpetuating conspiracy theories or exaggerating the truth. So why not monitor those news outlets as well? Fair reporting for both parties is what AIM is trying to make sure happens, but by only serving as a check for liberal news outlets, it becomes hypocritical to ridicule liberal media, but support conservative news outlets.

But they are not the only ones. Many organizations are promoting themselves as checks for the media in addition to AIM. Left-wing outlets like Media Matters and Fair Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) monitor stories that do not align with the views of liberals in a similar fashion as AIM. On the right, outlets like Media Research Center also report on media bias within right-wing coverage exclusively. Both right and left-wing outlets are guilty of predominantly reporting based off of one set of ideals and can take steps to amend this issue.  

AIM can successfully serve as “a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage;” but viciously attacking the Times, like Kincaid did in his article, is not the way to do so. If AIM really wants to serve as a check for media and ensure that they are being unbiased, perhaps they should begin by looking within their own organization for issues concerning objectivity.

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