News informs the masses and assists them in making better decisions for the collective good. However, there have always been questions about all theories pertaining to collectivism. Some would argue that man is basically good by nature and being a social animal thinks in terms of the welfare of all while others would argue the opposite. Regardless of the view one subscribes to, it is inescapable that man is selfish either by choice or by default. And why he is selfish makes no real difference.
So, once we have concluded the inescapability of human selfishness, the only way to manage things and make the world a better place is to balance the interests. Human beings, being as reasonable as they are, understand that a clash of interest serves none. Thus, they tend to make peace and not war. But when war is in their interest, they wouldn’t shirk either.
This basic human nature does not leave any area of human endeavour untouched, be it politics or newsroom. In politics the collective interest is pressed hard and may culminate in a full-blown war and in the newsroom the same collective interest is pursued by not objecting to the war irrespective of the human cost it might involve. The press as shapers of public opinion would allow one kind of news and disallow the other side from showing up. Not that news is tampered with, just that some of it is not allowed. So, there is no tampering, only ‘selection’. And by virtue of this ‘selection’, news remains intact but the truth is tampered with. The wars are thus defended.
The impartiality of each piece of news stands above doubt, but our collective truth formed on the basis of such news eventually becomes questionable. And we become biased inadvertently.
First published on my WordPress Blog on December 28, 2008