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Media needs to be unbiased

In a stinging condemnation of the national media, a report released this week confirms that a bias for Barack Obama does exist.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs report says simply that, in the past month, 65 percent of the reports and comments have been favorable towards Obama; by comparison, on 31 percent have been favorable to the Republican candidate John McCain.

The report analyzed the nightly newscasts of the three main networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – and adds credence to the complaints of McCain supporters that a real and tangible media bias is shaping the 2008 presidential election.

As a member of the media we are ashamed and embarrassed by the “mainstream media” coverage of this election. And, more important, we worry that the precedents set during this election – softball questions, glossing over potential issues for some candidates while probing every intimate detail of others’ lives, the blurring of the lines between objectivity and opinion – are a real and dangerous threat to the First Amendment.

That cornerstone of our democratic society protects our right to free speech and a free press. And, with that right comes a real and weighty responsibility for the press – a responsibility to be fair and truthful, just and transparent in all we do and all we report.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen that commitment among all members of the media during this presidential campaign.

Worse yet, we’ve seen capitulation and cow-towing among the media. Where was the outrage when the Obama campaign said it would shut-out a local Orlando, Fla., television station after a reporter asked questions that were too tough and too probing of vice presidential candidate Joe Biden? Unless you watched Fox News, you missed the outrage. And that’s frightening.

Whenever the media stops being fair and impartial – and stops fighting to protect the freedom of the press, it takes us all on the slippery slope that could lead to the loss of our freedom.