Cal Thomas in his column at the Washington Times looks back on bias and sensationalism in the history of journalism.
There is a perception, supported by many surveys, that what passes for contemporary journalism is more biased, even propagandistic, than in earlier times. One of the definitions of “journalism” on Dictionary.com will affirm that attitude for many: “writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition …”
Journalism has, in fact, been infected by bias and sensationalism from the start. In his book, “Infamous Scribblers,” Eric Burns suggests that colonial journalism would often make today’s tabloids look like real news. Their slogan could have been “all the unfit news we print.”
Newspapers of those days published unverified scandals and statements by rival politicians that would today be considered slanderous, even libelous.