One of the issues I hear discussed most frequently is that of bias in the news media, and the most heated of these discussions usually involve the Middle East.
My personal belief is that the problem is not that the media is biased, but that it pretends to be objective. I think that all writing is inherently biased, despite the lauding of objectivity by journalism schools. The major media's chief bias seems to be toward publishing anything that will increase readership or the number of viewers, and thereby increase advertising revenue.
The Internet is a fantastic source for news, not that it is any less biased than other types of media, but because it allows one to sample a great variety of opinion from around the world, easily and almost instantaneously. I like to obtain news from sources with widely divergent viewpoints and then arrive at my own synthesis.
Most US newspapers now publish an online edition. There are web based versions of the great newspapers like The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, LA Times and Chicago Tribune and even small home town papers like the Mendocino Beacon and Riverside Press Enterprise have online editions.
What I find most interesting are the online editions of foreign newspapers. I read the English version of the Israeli newspaper Ha'Aretz (The Land) (http://www.haaretzdaily.com) almost every day. I find that the viewpoint is quite different from that of most US news sources and much closer to my own. Other Israeli newspapers also publish online, including the Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com) and the conservative Israel Insider (http://www.israelinsider.com).
Yahoo does an excellent job of collecting articles on the Middle East, from a variety of International sources at their Middle East Peace Process Site (http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Middle_East_Peace_Process). These sources include the AP, Reuters, The Times of London, Israeli newpapers and Arab newspapers. The site includes links to a wide spectrum of websites including those of the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, the UN and Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanian sources.
The MCJC website link page "Newspapers, Periodicals and Zines section" (http://www.mcjc.org/mjlinks/mjlink000.htm#Newspapers) contains links to 23 online Jewish publications. You can even listen to radio broadcasts on your PC. The MCJC link page has hyperlinks to ten Israeli radio stations that broadcast over the web. (http://www.mcjc.org/mjlinks/mjlink000.htm#Radio).
I don't mean to imply that information on the Internet is any more accurate than news from other sources; in fact, the opposite is probably true. The web is also home to the most popular newspaper in Britain, the trashy tabloid The Sun (http://www.thesun.co.uk/) and our own Weekly World News (http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/index.cfm), where you can read about fish that whistle "God Bless America" and the lonely life of the half-man half-dinosaur.
Next time you are online, check out "the news".
© Robert G. Evans 2001
updated 11/11/2001 - rge
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