Many major news outlets are biased in their news reporting, says a 30-year veteran journalist from Orange County.
“I am really intrigued by how different papers come to totally different conclusions about something,” Will Swaim, the publisher for OC Weekly and current President of California Policy Center, told The Epoch Times.
Swaim said he finds that these major media outlets represent either one of the two major political parties and act as the voice to protect their party, rather than report in a non-partisan fashion.
“It was in that reporting that I started to see that you really can’t trust parties. You really can’t trust that the Republicans will always be right or the Democrats will always be wrong or right. It just doesn’t work that way…It’s about individuals. It’s about issues. And they will be right or wrong,” Swaim said.
Bullies in the Newsrooms
Swaim pointed out that bias in the media is worse now than in the past as journalists are being bullied in their own newsrooms for having opposing viewpoints from the majority.
“It’s just not quite the same place as it was when I got into the business. It’s very different.”
Swaim said that recently, a journalist resigned from her job “because she was bullied so badly for allowing that there might be conservative perspectives that are reasonable to include.”
“I do think they believe that what they are doing is telling the truth,” Swaim said, adding that in his belief, “the most dangerous reporters have always been those who don’t know about human frailty, who don’t understand human bias and how it’s in-built.”
Swaim confided that when he first started his reporting career, he was a “Marxist-lefty” who thought free markets were dangerous and that we needed more government regulation.
“I switched over time,” he said. “It was impossible to be an honest reporter or editor and not see the failings, on the one hand, of some business companies… Free markets are like that, they’re not perfect. Fortunately there’s a mechanism in place to punish the bad actor. In government, you don’t have that mechanism that punishes bad government. It just continues to draw on resources infinitely and continues to grind on in its own way.”
Swaim said it was news coverage on issues like government unions and their power to shape local government and state government in California that began to persuade him to change his thinking.
Checking the Facts
“One of the great things that the online media allows us to do, whether it’s Epoch Times, California Policy Center, or the LA Times, or anybody else, is link to original documents,” Swaim said.
He said he would encourage readers to look beyond the headline and read the original documents, although checking the facts is really the job of the journalist.
“The public shouldn’t have to do this. Journalists should be really good at sorting through this stuff and telling people this is what it says, and this is what it doesn’t say. But we can’t trust–never could trust–somebody else to do this job for us,” he said, adding, “We have to remain vigilant as readers.”