Is unbiased news dead?

What the accelerating decline in newspaper circulation says about America's appetite for straight news

Figures released this week showed that big-city newspapers lost as much as a quarter of their readers over the last six months. And CNN's prime-time news shows are getting trounced in the ratings by other cable channels' opinion programming. Are Americans sick of unbiased news?

People want straight news, they just won't pay for it: The appetite for solid, serious news coverage is still strong, says Joel Achenbach in The Washington Post. But it costs a lot of money to have a "veteran journalist" with great sources produce a story on Afghanistan. And people won't pay a newspaper to deliver it as long as they can get it for free from some "freeloading" website.


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Unbiased news never existed: Newspapers are going bankrupt, says John Hinderaker in Power Line, because they refuse to "abandon their liberal bias." And CNN's sneering liberalism might be behind its decline as well. The cable network is trying to goose its ratings by putting its personalities on game shows to "show off their superior intelligence"—maybe it should just try covering the news straight.

"CNN's ratings falling faster than Obama's"

Canceling your paper makes you stupid, no matter why you do it: Reading two newspapers a day makes you smarter, says John Dodge in And readers who get their news from Google get a pass for a while, because their searches still call up articles from the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. But as circulations continue to fall, publishers will cut staffs further and "coverage and depth will shrink"—so we'll all pay.

"Newspaper circulation’s downward spiral"

The pretense of objectivity is dead, but we still want the truth: European papers have long shown their political stripes freely, says Michael Ledeen in Pajamas Media, but Americans have always expected their reporters to give them the truth straight. We've grown wiser, though, and see subtle bias everywhere—so now we have to sift through our "blogs, posts, tweets, videos, and messages of all sorts," and find the truth for ourselves.

"Bias then and now"

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