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Media bias is advocacy journalism gone wild, where one-sided arguments masquerade as objective reporting. It “is rarely expressed through distortion of the facts, but rather through the omission of certain facts that would be inconvenient for the outlook of the person or group reporting.”<ref> Nat Brown - National Review</ref> A good example is Paul Krugman's claim, in his New York Times opinion piece, that “Everyone knows that the American right has problems with science that yields conclusions it doesn’t like.”<ref> First They Came For The Climate Scientists</ref> This statement completely ignores the much worse “problems” the American left has with science, specifically the climate science which refutes the junk science used by liberals to prop up their global warming theory and their “solution” to the “crisis” (see Kyoto Protocol, carbon credits, etc.).

It manifests distortion of news, commentary, non-fiction articles, textbooks, documentaries, speech codes and the like to favor one side's ideas over another's (see partisanship). Dictatorships and other authoritarian regimes which suppress freedom of the press are notorious for their media bias, particularly when all media are controlled directly by a one-party government.

Most journalism schools in free countries address the issue of eliminating bias, although efforts are rarely successful. The U.S. media is strongly polarized, with multiple outlets have strong liberal and conservative biases, depending on which station (or newspaper) is considered. Overall, however, many, including some academics with scientific backing, maintain that the media has a general liberal bias.

Sources of bias

  1. Deliberate propaganda: Presenting bias with the intention of benefiting the media establishment.
  2. Institutional bias: The reporters and editors of a media organization may hold political views, which influence their reporting. Reporting on the Vietnam war has been cited as a notable example of such.
  3. Sensationalism: Media depends on viewership for financial support from advertisers. Thus stories that have little political value but much entertainment value may receive attention disproportionate to their impact. Scare stories are also an example of sensationalism.
  4. Omission: The inverse of sensationalism, media may overlook important but boring stories.
  5. Political correctness or sensitivity: Fearful of appearing racist or discriminatory, media may avoid any stories which reflect negatively on a ethnic, social or religious group, especially if the group is a minority.
  6. Confirmation bias: a type of selective thinking whereby people tend to report what confirms their beliefs, and to ignore, or undervalue what contradicts their beliefs.
  7. Audience bias: Readers or viewers tend to read news sources with which they agree. Thus, media must reinforce the existing views of their audience, or risk losing them. This source of bias can also reinforce the effect of a moral panic. In this case, the public may receive a distorted perspective that is a result of their own preferences, because the news media will deliberately deliver news not only suitable and desirable to the general public, but may also incorporate bias that would similarly suit the viewer.

Academic Studies and theories of media bias

The Media Elite, co-authored in 1986 by political scientists Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman, and Linda Lichter is among the most cited academic study of political bias in news reporting. These researchers surveyed journalists at national media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and the broadcast networks. They found that most of the responding journalists were Democratic voters whose attitudes were far to the left of the general public on a variety of topics: homosexual rights, abortion, affirmative action, and so on. The study argued that the way in which journalists wrote about controversial issues was directly related to their personal political positions.

Independently corroborating the findings above, is the 2002 book length study by political communication researcher Jim A. Kuypers: Press Bias and Politics: How the Media Frame Controversial Issues. In this study of 116 mainstream US papers (including The New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle), Kuypers found that the mainstream print press in America operate within a narrow range of liberal beliefs. Those who expressed points of view further to the left were generally ignored, whereas those who expressed moderate or conservative points of view were often actively denigrated or labeled as holding a minority point of view. In short, if a political leader, regardless of party, spoke within the press-supported range of acceptable discourse, he or she would receive positive press coverage. If a politician, again regardless of party, were to speak outside of this range, he or she would receive negative press or be ignored. Kuypers also found that the liberal points of view expressed in editorial and opinion pages were found in hard news coverage of the same issues. Although focusing primarily on the issues of race and homosexuality, Kuypers found that the press injected opinion into its news coverage of other issues such as welfare reform, environmental protection, and gun control; in all cases favoring a liberal point of view.

See also



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media_bias.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:36 (external edit)