BIASIN THE MEDIA
Biasin the media
Haveyou ever watched a news item and thought of it as being one sided? Orhave you ever harbored the thoughts that a news story did not seem toreport the most important part of a story, or the factual story? AsAmericans, we trust and respect what reporters say on television, onthe radio, and what they write in the newspaper. However, currently,media houses are distorting stories, making some narratives to getmore attention than others. They are all concerned about making moneyand getting ratings at the expense of propagating the true accountsof events. Media prejudice is a terminology used to refer to biasnessin news and media houses. Media biasness is perceived as an unfair,selective or imbalanced presentation of facts (Eveland& Shah, 2013, p 103).As it always is, politics is one of the top most arenas marred bymedia biasness.
Thereare numerous types of media bias, although they all fall into fourbroad categories bias by omission, story selection, selection ofsources and placement (Eveland& Shah, 2013, p 105).Bias by omission happens when media intentionally leaves out one partor aspect of a story. It is worth noting that this form of biasnessis rampant in political news stories. In such a scenario, the mediamight report a story from a conservative political standpoint,completely neglecting the facts that support a conservativeperspective. Or possibly the media reports a news story from aconservative perspective, shutting out facts that support a liberalperspective on an issue. This form of media bias is frequently usedto describe news networks or newspapers. CNN is accused of bearing aliberal prejudice whereas FOX News is criticized for its conservativebias (Gentzkow& Shapiro, 2015).
Mediacan also be biased by selection of sources. In this situation, amedia outlet opts to exclude the sources that support a conflictingpoint of view (Gentzkow& Shapiro, 2015).For instance, still focusing on the politics example, a media outletmay choose to quote liberal sources without the inclusion of quotesfrom conservative sources. On the same note, a media house may chooseto quote conservative sources and exclude quotes from liberalsources. The third category of media biasness is prejudice by storyselection. This happens when stories reported by a media outletcoincide with a specific agenda, leading to the reporting of storiesbent on only one side of the story (Eveland& Shah, 2013, p 112).For example, a newspaper might chose to cover an accusation ofcorruption leveled against a conservative political candidate,avoiding covering similar allegations against liberal politicalcandidates.
Thefourth category of media biasness is prejudice by placement. Thisform of media prejudice happens when a news outlet constantly andprominently places news stories that concur with a precise agendawhile intentionally “burying” those narratives that represent anopposing point of perspective (Eveland& Shah, 2013, p 112). Unlike prejudice by story selection, this form of media prejudiceacknowledges both sides of a story. However, the preferred point ofperspective receives more printing space and time, whereas theopposing perspectives receive less space and time (Gentzkow& Shapiro, 2015).Still on the politics example, a media house with a preference forconservative views will acknowledge both the conservative and liberalperspectives, but will provide more time and space for the coverageof the news items that concur with their specific agenda. In as muchAmericans depend on the media for news, sometimes media outletsprovide one sided stories. As a result, the information beingdisseminated is incorrect and marred with misleading information inthe name of pursing better ratings and money.
Eveland,W. P., & Shah, D. V. (2013). The impact of individual andinterpersonal factors on perceived news media bias. PoliticalPsychology,24(1),101-117.
Gentzkow,M., & Shapiro, J. (2015). Mediabias and reputation(No. w11664). National Bureau of Economic Research.