MINOT, N.D. — Talk about media bias to a journalist, and you're bound to get an eye-roll.
They're dismissive. They see such accusations as a product of good journalism. If you're making people mad, you're doing it right, and there is a certain sort of logic in that (I say as someone who frequently writes true things that make people mad).
Or they see the accusations as irrelevant.
Who cares if most American newsrooms are full of people who lean left in their politics? Those people can still do their jobs objectively.
Maybe that's true for some, on an individual level. Still, the journalism industry has spent a lot of time talking about the need for things like racial and gender diversity in newsrooms for the sake of adding viewpoints and combatting an unconscious bias born of the undeniable fact that our lived experience colors how we see the world even when we're trying to be objective.
If viewpoint diversity is important — and it is — what can we say about newsrooms where conservatives are an endangered species?
If our newsrooms are full of people who are inclined, because of their personal feelings, to have, consciously or not, a double standard when it comes to political reporting, we're going to have a problem.
In fact, we already have a problem. We have (with apologies to Jimmy Carter) a crisis of confidence. Many Americans do not trust the institutions charged with writing the "first draft of history," and politicians such as Donald Trump have been capitalizing.
Our newsrooms do not reflect the diversity of thought present in the American electorate, and our nation is suffering for it.
Worse, this institutional bias is metastasizing.
Twitter is not a news outlet, but Twitter is how a lot of people find news.
This week, the social media giant banned a New York Post report, based on an email found on a hard drive at a computer repair shop, suggesting that Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was peddling influence with his dad to Ukrainian interests.
Why the ban?
First, Twitter claimed the story was "false." Then they claimed it was "unverified." Then they finally justified the ban by saying the report was based on "hacked content." This is rich because, not that long ago, The New York Times published President Trump's personal tax records in a story that was widely shared on Twitter with nary a concern about the divulsion of deeply personal information obtained through legally dubious means.
Journalists were right to pursue, and publish, both stories, but one of those stories received much different treatment from the other.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted his company handled the Post story poorly, but only because they didn't sufficiently explain the ban. Not because of the blatant double standard.
Meanwhile, the nation's trust continues to plummet.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.