Bias In The Media Essay, Research Paper
BIAS IN THE MEDIA
Bias in the media is viewed as the unbalanced or otherwise sensationalized reporting of events or ideals, which may reflect the beliefs of those in the media and not the population as a whole. The media can persuade the population to view events, proposals, or agendas in a liberal or conservative manner. It is argued that these media organizations are not covering assignments factually, fairly, or fully, resulting in a bias in their coverage.
The power of mass media to persuade the population cannot be understated. If the media gives greater coverage, or sensationalizes only one theory, the population sways in the direction of the information supplied. The same is true for downplaying, or covert negativity in coverage. How and in what tone information is supplied to us can influence our opinion in a positive or negative way.
An example of this phenomenon is the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. Richard Joule was tried and convicted by the media. For weeks the media, in headlines and top stories, continually maligned him. When it was discovered he was completely innocent, coverage was minimal or nonexistent. His reputation and credibility was utterly destroyed. Five years later, if you ask who bombed Olympic Park, most people would respond the security guard, Richard Joule. If we apply that persuasiveness into political ideology, we can easily understand that bias in the media has the ability to misrepresent facts and sway a relatively uninformed public.
Both articles, Resisting Pressures on a Free Press by Rentschler and Heeding the Call by Starobin, agree that bias in the media is a problem. Both articles reflect a domination of the media by a single political ideology. Each eloquently cites compelling arguments, which suggest the opposing ideology, has control of the media. They tend to agree it is mainly a problem in areas of public policy and social values, and both agree that the consequences of bias are dangerous.
They starkly contrast each other however; regarding which political spectrum is most prevalent in the media. Rentschler suggests that the lavishly financed conservative propaganda campaign is dominating the print media and air waves, impeding the free flow of conflicting ideals, threatening the functionality of our free society is responsible for the bias. This article describes a typical us and them scenario, with them, not us, being responsible for bias. Starobin on the other hand, suggests that liberals dominate the media, because survey research indicates, journalism has traditionally attracted folks of a liberal, social reform bent, leading to more liberals in journalistic positions than conservatives. This liberal insurgency results in an unbalanced, urban, upper-class perspective.
In these two articles, both authors are inherently hypocritical. They are writing about bias in the media and the dangers and consequences of that bias, yet each article contains the obvious bias of the author s ideology. The adjectives used in these articles to describe statements and events clearly reflect the support or opposition in positive or negative connotations. Rentschler writes Air Force Association, made a strong, predictable case for beefed-up military outlays and greater preparedness The adjectives predictable and beefed-up are used to downplay the argument of the association. Conversely he states, A fellow at Harvard s Russian Research Center, argued persuasively, that the US military budget outstrips sevenfold the combined spending by our potential enemies. The adjectives fellow , persuasively , and outstrips , in the context of the paragraph clearly show agreement or support for this view, and reveals the authors personal bias.
How these articles are presented even expresses a bias. Free Press clearly lists the occupational title and accomplishments of Rentschler, publisher of The Rentschler Report, a national journal of independent opinions, is a three-time winner of the Chicago Headline Club and five-time Pulitzer Prize nominee. Heeding the Call on the other hand, just lists the authors name. This suggests that one is more qualified or credible, and thus more believable than the other. Bias does not discriminate; it affects everyone, and every thing.
If we look hard enough we can establish a bias in everything we disagree with. Why should journalism be any different? Rush Limbaugh was lambasted for his conservative ideology and rhetoric. James Gaines was lambasted for his portrayal of Newt Gingrich in Time Magazine, exposing his liberal views. Is bias as recognizable in things compatible with our own views?
In the US, it is the responsibility of the citizens to express their opinion and ideology. This is reflected in decisions impacting public policy, from towns all the way up to the federal government. If the conservatives believe there are too many liberal journalists, it is their responsibility to encourage journalism amongst their constituents. If the liberals think the conservatives are dominating print media and the airwaves, shouldn t they stimulate contradictive articles and talk shows? Each side would rather complain and try to stifle the opposition, than roll up their sleeves and get their message out.
I don t believe it is possible to be completely objective about anything because opinion, personal objectives or life in general are about bias, in one form or another. This is a recent realization, but one that certainly has merit. I can recognize bias in areas of the media. I can also recognize that the media has many different forms, balancing the effect of individual journalistic bias. As for bias in general, we can ask ourselves a simple question: At the end of the day, is the pot any blacker then the kettle