In college, I took a minor in journalism. When writers are taught to be journalists, we are intrinsically educated to leave our biases at the door and report only that which is reportable as fact.
Far too often, however, when reporters "report", they tend to embellish with their own thoughts and feelings about the subject. They may not do so intensionally, however it's always possible to discern a writer's bias just in the way something is phrased. This is never more evident than in journalistic reporting of politics where there is intense polarazation regarding everything that happens in Washington and throughout the country.
I currently serve as the publicity chairman for a local political party in my home community. While our party will always hold a philosophical bias towards the candidates who we support, when I write my press releases regarding the results of caucuses and the names of the people we chose to support, I report only the facts to the paper. It's up to them to decide how to spin the announcement. Responsible journalism, however, requires the spin to be kept to a minimum and only the facts need to be disseminated, however facts don't sell newspapers, just as they don't ensure viewers watching the news. Spin equals ratings - on both sides of the aisle.
The responsibilty we have as viewers is to be cognizant of what qualifies as responsible journalism and what qualifies as spin. Is Miley Cyrus' latest half-nude televised gyration news? Is Lindsey Lohan's most recent DWI ticket? How about Joe Biden's latest foot swallower? Or Michelle Obama's latest inedible lunch treat? Or George Bush's anniversary? And if it isn't news, why are we listening to or watching it on the news? Is all news just infotainment for our vapid immaturity to absorb?
At some point, we, as viewers, need to decide for ourselves where to find the source of the real news that we deserve to hear. I get mine from a variety of sources and I take everything with a grain of salt. The internet is a marvelous place to research the facts behind the stories and smart people will judge for themselves based on facts, not sound bites. But as long as the sound bites sell, we'll have to keep listening to them. And that, unfortunately, is the primary example of the irresponsibility of consumers who listen to irresponsible reporting and biased news sources when deciding on what they wish to believe.