In the ideal world news would be impartial. You would simply be presented with the facts with absolutely no bias. It would appear that world is still to be created if you take these two unrelated articles as examples.
You’re on the website of the BBC, that august news organisation and bastion of impartial news and information. You’re reading a news item about an upcoming Formula 1 race in Bahrain, Dubai. Stuff about the drivers’ potential performances during the race and beauty of the Bahrain International Circuit as a nighttime venue. Suddenly, you get a box of unrelated information about Bahrain’s ‘human rights record’ and you’re left wondering: what’s that got to do with Formula 1 or even sports?
You’re on another trusted news website reading an article on how Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has applied to trademark his name. The opening sentence starts: “Cross-dressing, occasionally smelly man-child webmaster Julian Assange…” You’re left in no doubt that the publishers do not like Assange too tough and are not even wasting time pretending to be impartial.
Ah, but if only all media bias was so easy to spot.