Media Bias Essay, Research Paper
Is the Media Bias? Many people including myself believe that it is. On the other hand, there are people who believe that media is not biased and just states facts. These people (i.e. my dad), who believe that media is not biased also believe that everything on TV is true, in my experience. We see bias in media (print or broadcast) many times. It might be the subtlest of things that is unnoticeable to more blatant attempts. The fact is bias is everywhere and it is very difficult to separate the two. The reasons why it is difficult are not clearly understood by my self but I can point toward the fact that everyone is the world has opinions and in some way or form it will be presented in the way they talk or write. The discussion of this paper is to see if we can find bias in media. We will be focusing our attention on the 2000 Elections and observing for bias in News Media articles regarding one of the Presidential candidates. My focus was on seven daily consecutive articles published by CNN. Each article was viewed for coverage of event, policy proposals, characterization and general tone of articles.
People might disagree, but I think that the CNN was biased towards Al Gore. There are many reasons why I have come to this assumption. I feel that the layout the articles are presented are in a biased manner, words and phrases used to describe Al Gore are negative in tone while a positive tone is used to describe George W. Bush. Also, the discussion of the policy seems to be in a negative tone for Al Gore.
First, I would like to point out that the articles always start on good grounds by stating the general activities of the day. The brief summary that introduces the articles gives an outline of the activities of the day and highlight key appearances of the day. Generally, the articles discuss what was stated in the speeches and comments made by each candidate. However, very quickly, the articles comes to “candidate bashing” by each candidate rather then discussing the issues the articles focuses on what each other says about the other.
One thing that really stood out, in five of the seven articles, are discussions of George Bush’s activities were discussed prior to discussion of Al Gore. At first, I thought that maybe it was a fluke and writer was following an alphabetical order procedure to present the article. But, when I read the two articles that discussed Al Gore’s activities first it struck me that this is a very important aspect of any writing. This struck me as important because I believe that the position that the writer usually supports is the one that is discussed first and the contrast it with another view. By discussing George Bush first the ideas of Bush are imbedded in the mind and then when discussion of Al Gore is presented it is in the mind to compare it with the previous discussion. This might not necessarily be true but I do feel strongly about this claim. The reason why is, when someone wants to present a unbiased presentation they will compare and contrast the positions of both candidates throughout the whole article and not separate it into two sections.
Next, words and phrases chosen to describe the candidates’ activities imply bias towards Al Gore. In almost every article I found some words or phrases that gave the impression that George Bush was doing a good job and Al Gore is struggling. Some examples of words or phrases used to describe Al Gore’s activities are: “…two-pronged endgame of wooing undecided votes”(Final Pre.,p.1) “stumping”(Presidential Candidates, p.1), “harshly critical of Bush”( Presidential Candidates, p.2), “swung hard at bush”( Presidential Candidates, p.3), “Gore hoped to gnaw at on this leg…”( Presidential Candidates, p.4), “crawling back up toward Bush”( Presidential Candidates, p.2) and “touted”(Gore Promises, p.1). While words or phrases to describe George Bush’s Activities are: “unloaded on Gore”(Presidential Candidates, p.1), “tore into his Democratic rival”(Presidential Candidates, p.1) and anticipating a Bush win”(McCaleb, Presidential Candidates, p.1)
I think it is easy to see by the choice of words that Al Gore is described as an animalist, brutish, and harsh character while bush is described as confident and respected person.
Lastly, the discussion on policy was geared toward trading words in a boxing fight. Rather than taking a stance and discussing what the “real” effects of the policy proposals will have if they had taken effect and allowing the readers to make judgment regarding the better of the two proposals the articles quotes comments made by both candidates towards each other and the effect of the others proposals “will really have”. Most of the articles quoted George Bush “bad mouthing” the character of Al Gore while Al Gore was saying his proposals are bad. It is clear that support by this media is focused towards the election of George Bush. Some other examples that will help make my point are: they make an attempt to show that the Democrats are becoming desperate and “are more willing to tailor his addresses” (McCaleb, Presidential Candidates, p.2) will change their strategy because it doesn’t seem to work while Bush never changes his strategy to say that Gore will do or say anything to win and there is a brief discussion of Bush’s tax plan but there is no discussion of Gore’s tax plan.
In conclusion, I hope that I have made my point that the media is very biased. It is in these subtle but very dramatic steps that are used to imbed ideas in the minds of readers. I should say that there are non-profit organizations that say they provide unbiased coverage but can’t always be too sure. The reality of the matter is that one of the largest news media sources is one of the most biased. CNN is viewed my many persons and a good majority don’t realize that they are not obtaining the whole truth that they deserve.
McCaleb, Ian C., “Bush, Gore Intensify Campaign for
Battleground States,”CNN.com (October 25, 2000), p.1-3
McCaleb, Ian C., “Presidential Candidates’ Paths Cross in
the South,” CNN.com (October 24, 2000), p.1-4
“Bush, Gore Storm Battleground States,” CNN.com (October
28, 2000), p.1-2
“Bush, Gore Trade barbs on Character, The Environment as
Candidates Compete For Undecided Voters,” CNN.com
(October 26, 2000), p.1-3
”Final Presidential Push Starts In Texas for Bush and
Gore,” CNN.com,(October 22, 2000), p.1-3
“Gore Promises to Foster ‘New Economy;’ Bush Espouses
Leadership in Kalamazoo,” CNN.com (October 27, 2000),
“Presidential Candidates Barnstorm with 15 Days to go.”
CNN.com, (October 23, 2000), p.1-4