Media Election Bias Debated At RTNDA@NAB
April 20, 2009 at 4:10 PM (PT)
A panel at the RTNDA@NAB conference in LAS VEGAS MONDAY afternoon moderated by TENE CROOM of AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS addressed the issue of whether the media exhibited bias in favor of President BARACK OBAMA during the 2008 elections.
HARRISON CHASTANG, News Director of KPOO/SAN FRANCISCO, likened African-American-owned news media to sportswriters and columnists who privately root for the home team to do well so that they can cover the playoffs. He criticized the characterization of African-American media as biased, noting that many of those classified as "journalists" showing bias were in fact columnists and radio personalities (such as TOM JOYNER) who would normally be expected to offer opinion, and decried the limited number of African-American journalists covering the election. "Don't have too many folks covering politics," CHASTANG said of African-American reporters, decrying the cutbacks of news departments throughout the media, although he noted the increase of political coverage by outlets like BET and ESSENCE magazine, "energized," he said, by the OBAMA election.
BEASLEY Talk KDWN-A/LAS VEGAS host HEIDI HARRIS agreed that the biggest issue is that people don't draw distinctions between talk hosts and news reporters, but recounted examples of reporters offering opinions and misinformation as part of news reports. "If you want to love BARACK OBAMA, that's your business ... but when you are a reporter, you are an anchorperson, you are supposed to at least appear to be unbiased," HARRIS said.