The Division Between Church and State: What Bloomberg, Fox and the Economist Have in Common

The division between church and state is dead.  The age of skepticism is here, and I for one thank Fox news.  Fox news is the first station that blatantly laid claim to bias (or wait, was it anti-bias bias they claimed?).  Or maybe it was the Economist.   Either way, it is pretty clear that both media present their own points-of-view.

Today, point-of-view rules.  And its kingdom is growing.  (Call it “Entertainment News” or “edutainment,” it’s still about their point-of-view).

Central Synagogue by Trudy Spielberger

Without Advertising There Would Be No Editorial

I’ve been a journalist and studied anthropology in college so I can assure you (with no qualifications whatsoever), that no one ever approached anything without bias.  So who are we kidding?  Wouldn’t you rather know that someone is trying to sell you a bill of goods and exactly what the bill will be?

There is a difference between manipulation and persuasion.  Manipulation assumes a level of deviousness that surreptitiously herds you onto the right side.  Persuasion is about changing attitudes and/or behaviors with information, feelings and/or reasoning.

I think we could put a big dent in manipulation if we just demanded that bias be clearly indicated in copy.

Since the dawn of time there have been incursions on the house of righteousness. Remember “advertorials?”  (Yes, the NYT does them).  Shouldn’t we accept that without advertising there wouldn’t be any editorial (c’mon, everyone knows that).  And that where money goest, there goest the editorial?   (I was the ad director of Spy magazine once-upon-a-time.  I know what editorial integrity looks like, and it doesn’t look like a paycheck.)

Now the world is up in arms over Bloomberg scrapping some articles about China that will hurt its business there if it publishes them.

We shouldn’t be so naïve.

Full disclosure seems like the best, and perhaps only option.  Add a healthy dose of skepticism about ourselves and our own biased ideas and the recipe is complete.  (And we’ll even know the calorie count!)

Do you think there’s such a thing as editorial integrity?