Media bias refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selec

 Media bias  refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selec  Media bias  refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selec - Start

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Media bias refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selec - Description

The most commonly discussed forms of bias occur when the media support or attack a particular political party, candidate, or ideology, but other common forms of bias include:. Advertising bias. , when stories are selected or slanted to please advertisers.. ID: 776027 Download Presentation

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Media bias refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selec

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Media bias

refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term "media bias" implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article. The direction and degree of media bias in various countries is widely disputed.


The most commonly discussed forms of bias occur when the media support or attack a particular political party, candidate, or ideology, but other common forms of bias include:Advertising bias, when stories are selected or slanted to please advertisers.Corporate bias, when stories are selected or slanted to please corporate owners of media.Mainstream bias, a tendency to report what everyone else is reporting, and to avoid stories that will offend anyone.Sensationalism, bias in favor of the exceptional over the ordinary, giving the impression that rare events, such as airplane crashes, are more common than common events, such as automobile crashes.Other forms of bias including reporting that favors or attacks a particular race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic group.

Types of Bias


There are many examples of accusations of bias being used as a political tool, sometimes resulting in government censorship.

In 1798, Congress passed the

Alien and Sedition Acts

, which prohibited newspapers from publishing “false, scandalous, or malicious writing” against the government, including any public opposition to any law or presidential act. This act was in effect until 1801.

During the American Civil War,

President Lincoln

accused newspapers in the border states of bias in favor of the Southern cause, and ordered many newspapers closed.

Film and television media were accused of bias in favor of mixing of the races, and many television programs with racially mixed casts, such as

I Spy


Star Trek

, were not aired on Southern stations.

During the war between the United States and North Vietnam,

Vice President Spiro Agnew

accused newspapers of anti-American bias, and in a famous speech delivered in San Diego in 1970, called anti-war protesters "the nattering nabobs of negativism."


Language may be a more subtle form of bias. Use of a word with positive or negative connotations rather than a more neutral synonym can form a biased picture in the audience's mind. It makes a difference whether the media calls a group "terrorist" or "freedom fighters" or "insurgents".

For example, a 2005 memo to the staff of the CBC states: Rather than calling assailants "terrorists," we can refer to them as bombers, hijackers, gunmen (if we're sure no women were in the group), militants, extremists, attackers or some other appropriate noun.


Who are the sources?

Be aware of the political perspective of the sources used in a story. Media over-rely on "official" (government, corporate and establishment think tank) sources. For instance, FAIR found that in forty months of Nightline programming, the most frequent guests were Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Elliott Abrams and Jerry


. Progressive and public interest voices were grossly underrepresented.

To portray issues fairly and accurately, media must broaden their spectrum of sources. Otherwise, they serve merely as megaphones for those in power.

Count the number of corporate and government sources versus the number of progressive, public interest, female and minority voices. Demand mass media expand their rolodexes; better yet, give them lists of progressive and public interest experts in the community.


Are unchallenged assumptions left to stick?

Often the most important message of a story is not explicitly stated. For instance, in coverage of women on welfare, the age at which a woman had her first child will often be reported—the implication being that the woman's sexual "promiscuity," rather than institutional economic factors, are responsible for her plight.

Coverage of rape trials will often focus on a woman's sexual history as though it calls her credibility into question. After the arrest of William Kennedy Smith, a New York Times article (4/17/91) dredged up a host of irrelevant personal details about his accuser, including the facts that she had skipped classes in the 9th grade, had received several speeding tickets and-when on a date-had talked to other men.



Political Correctness


term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent. In current usage, the term is primarily pejorative.


he term

politically incorrect

connotes language, ideas, and behavior unconstrained by a perceived orthodoxy

or by concerns about offending or expressing bias regarding various groups of people.



Other forms of media bias are based on the various kinds of relationships between the dominant forces in modern media. Included relationships: Corporate Ownership Advertiser Influence Official Agendas Telecommunications Policy The PR Industry Pressure Groups The Narrow Range of Debate Censorship Sensationalism

When dozens of women were sexually assaulted in and around Central Park on June 11, 2000 the story became front page news locally and nationally.While many outlets focused on allegations that police officers did little to prevent the attacks or help the victims, a disturbing trend emerged in coverage of the story. In a media climate accustomed to sensationalized images of mass crime scenes, news outlets seemed to use the Central Park "wilding" story as an excuse to feature lurid amateur video footage of the assaults.Outlets from the Fox News Channel to the New York Post repeatedly featured images of nearly naked women crying, screaming or trying desperately to cover themselves as they were forcibly stripped and molested.Sexual assault on this scale-- and the police force's failure to respond to it-- is certainly news. But media did not have to run tape of in-progress sexual assaults to tell the story. Victims caught on tape attempting to cover themselves didn't want bystanders in the park to see them naked; by running this footage over and over, news outlets made sure that the victims were exposed to anyone tuning into the TV news for weeks to come. In doing so, news outlets have further humiliated the victims, exposing them on a grander scale than did the original attackers.






Do words cause offense or is it the speaker

Many in the media were troubled when one spoke,

but an eyebrow was barely raised when the other uttered the same words





Media Bias

Student will watch the Media Bias Video from the Newseum Students are to take notes on the video.

Subsequent Videos

Students are asked to respond by identifying the bias in the piece.


Media Bias Videos Two

A Moment of Media Sanity –

From Russian Television


Media Bias Videos Three

Bernard Goldberg and

Media Bias


4 Media Bias Number Four

Irony and Media Bias


Media Bias

Al Jazerra

Where is the Media Bias in this piece reported from the Middle East?


During a London concert ten days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, lead vocalist of the Dixie Chicks Natalie Maines said, "we don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas". The statement offended many Americans, who thought it rude and unpatriotic, and the ensuing controversy cost the band half of their concert audience attendance in the United States. The incident negatively affected their career and led to accusations of the three women being "un-American", as well as hate mail, death threats, and the public destruction of their albums in protest.


Pressure Groups

Telecommunications Policy

The United States' original communications policy is the 1st Amendment. Freedom of the press was guaranteed in the Constitution because an exchange of information and an unfettered debate were considered essential components of a democratic society. Today, however, government policy is designed less to facilitate a democratic discussion than to protect the investments of media corporations. Regulations tend to promote the formation of huge media conglomerates and discourage new, competing voices.

While institutional pressures are enough to keep most journalists from straying from the conventional wisdom, pressure groups stand ready to punish reporters who challenges the official agenda.

While grassroots activism around media issues is legitimate and indeed essential,


hen does an activist group become a pressure group? A pressure group is more concerned with suppressing viewpoints that it disagrees with than ensuring that a wide range of perspectives is available.


ressure groups are often funded by companies or industries whose interests they promote, these groups often push ideologies that are already well-represented in media debates.


Advertiser Influence

Most of the income of for-profit media outlets comes not from their audiences, but from commercial advertisers who are interested in selling products to that audience. Although people sometimes defend commercial media by arguing that the market gives people what they want, the fact is that the most important transaction in the media marketplace-- media companies selling audiences to sponsors. This gives corporate sponsors a disproportionate influence over what people get to see or read. Most obviously, they don't want to support media that regularly criticizes their products or discusses corporate wrongdoing. More generally, they would rather support media that puts audiences in a passive, non-critical state of mind-making them easier to sell things to.

An internal memo from ABC Radio Networks to its affiliates reveals scores of powerful sponsors have a standing order that their commercials never be placed on syndicated Air America programming . The memo gives the following order to affiliates:

Please be advised that Hewlett Packard has purchased schedules with ABC Radio Networks between October 30th and December 24th, 2006. Please make sure you blackout this advertiser on your station, as they do not wish it to air on any Air America affiliate.

The directive advises ABC Radio Network affiliates to take note of a list of other sponsors who do not want their programming to run during Air America programming.

The list, totaling 90 advertisers, includes some of largest and most well-known corporations advertising in the U.S.:

Wal-Mart, GE, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Bank of America, Fed-Ex, Visa, Allstate, McDonald's, Sony and Johnson & Johnson. The U.S. Postal Service


the U.S. Navy

are listed as advertisers who don't want their commercials to air on Air America.

When Al Gore proposed launching a progressive TV network, in 2003, a Fox News executive told Advertising Age: "The problem with being associated as liberal is that they wouldn't be going in a direction that advertisers are really interested in.... If you go out and say that you are a liberal network, you are cutting your potential audience, and certainly your potential advertising pool, right off the bat."

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