In praise of, dare we say it, the media

From the Globe and Mail:

NY791-YE+2016+Top+10+StorieMark Twain once complained about newspapers that use one half of their pages to tell readers how good the other half are. It’s a valid grievance; no paper ought to do it. But in a year that saw a boom in fake news, neo-Nazi sloganeering against the “lugenpresse” and attacks on journalists by the president-elect of the United States, it is defensible for this little space to spend a minute celebrating, not our newspaper in particular, but a free and unbiased press in general.

Note the word “celebrating.” We could have said “defending,” but we aren’t going to play that game. The attacks on the media of the past year, from left and right, have been driven either by political operatives or opportunists. There is political gain to be had from whining ceaselessly that the “elite” media are biased against you, as Donald Trump and many others ritually do. There is also a solid business model in telling your readers that the mainstream press are lying to them, and that they should spend their money and time on the alternative that you just happen to own and operate. There is no point decrying these inevitabilities, and it is wrong to be censorial about them if one is committed to free speech.

Note in that first paragraph the word “unbiased.” There are undoubtedly readers who got to that contentious term and crumpled this page into a tightly wadded ball, carried it to the kitchen garbage pail and dropped it in with relish.

The charge of bias is a constant today, for reasons already stated, but also because there is no hiding the fact that newspapers and the people who write for them have a variety of leanings.

More here.