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Do we need an “unbiased” cable news network?

The answer is probably no, not because the industry’s three big players—CNN, Fox News, MSNBC—do such a great job of presenting unbiased news to the public, but because the marketplace is not likely to support it. Cable news is already under threat from cord cutting, aging audiences, and shifts in viewing habits, and the reality … Continue reading “Do we need an “unbiased” cable news network?”

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The answer is probably no, not because the industry’s three big players—CNN, Fox News, MSNBC—do such a great job of presenting unbiased news to the public, but because the marketplace is not likely to support it. Cable news is already under threat from cord cutting, aging audiences, and shifts in viewing habits, and the reality is that it’s very hard to rise above the deafening din of punditry and pack journalism that currently defines the sector. Recall that Al Jazeera America, which tried in earnest to bring balance and in-depth reporting to the space, lasted only two years.  

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Nevertheless, we’re getting a new cable news channel anyway, courtesy of the Dutch telecom giant Altice, which is bringing its international news channel i24 News to the United States next month. As Altice exec Dexter Goei told THR: “We really do believe there is a void for unbiased news reporting to show multiple angles of the same situation.”

He’s right, but, sadly, I think that void exists for a reason. Viewers are already gravitating toward the coverage that confirms their biases. Many say they want unbiased TV news, but saying it and actually watching it are two different things. It’s hard to see that changing.


[Photo: Matthew Paul Argall]

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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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