Not so long ago, there was an open, healthy dialogue about the way news media worked – Hollywood even made movies about it with big stars, Oscar-nominated hits like Broadcast News and Absence of Malice. That was around the time that I was studying to become a journalist, and questions of bias and media ethics were openly, enthusiastically discussed.

It's barely a generation later, and we've evolved with astonishing speed from serious, probing explorations of the news media to casual (and insidious) dismissals of "fake news" – an epithet that is no longer the domain of extremist, but is used with alarming frequency by centrist Americans.

There's a suspicion, championed and encouraged by the president himself, that news media are biased, and an assumption that that bias is tilted toward the left. That appears not to be true.

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