Reporters, I fully acknowledge, bring their own biases to their work. The questions they ask, and the stories they pursue, are shaped by things as simple as geography. I grew up in Miami; I follow Cuban politics more closely than many other Americans did. As a result, when I covered the White House, I was more likely than my colleagues to ask questions about Cuba. A New York–based reporter may approach reporting on guns, or on evangelical Christianity, differently than a reporter in Pensacola, Florida.
The charge of media bias can encompass a great many different problems. Critics, for example, may be pointing to the way that certain journalists pay more attention to some issues than to others, or complaining about the unquestioned assumptions reflected in journalists’ work. These are real issues, and most journalists labor to correct them.
This, in my experience, is as far as MSM journalists ever get in acknowledging their role in the rise of alternative-facts-alternative-media like Fox News. They will not face — they cannot face — the fact that for decades they systematically excluded responsible conservative voices from their platforms. And now our civic fabric is being shredded by irresponsible conservative (or faux-populist) voices. The media world is about as self-critical and self-correcting as the American Catholic bishops.