The prejudice of journalists and news producers in the mass media in the selection of numerous events and stories that are reported and how they are covered is referred to as media bias. Biased journalism can be seen as a tool for those who hold power over the media to promote their own interests at the expense of the public interest.
Bias can take many forms. Examples include discrimination based on gender, race, religion, class, or other factors; suppression of news that would undermine political figures or institutions; and giving one side of a story while withholding information that might lead readers to conclude otherwise. Bias can also be expressed through omission, such as failing to cover issues relevant to certain groups of people.
In recent years, media bias has become a significant issue in American politics and society at large. Many observers have accused journalists of being too sympathetic to Democrats or liberals, while others claim they are biased against them. There is also evidence of media bias against minorities, particularly African-Americans. Finally, some critics argue that the media are biased against women because they do not give them equal representation in decision-making positions or coverage of important topics.
These are just some of the ways in which the media can be said to be biased.
In the United States, media bias occurs when US media outlets slant information, such as reporting news in a way that contradicts professional journalistic standards or advancing a political agenda through entertainment media. There is a liberal bias as well as a conservative prejudice. The bias varies by publication and individual journalists.
Liberal media bias refers to the tendency of some newspapers, magazines, and television programs to report on issues of politics and government with a focus on liberalism, which is defined as support for increased funding for social welfare programs, greater equality between men and women, and freedom in general. These publications often criticize other groups for lack of support for these causes, and they often describe those who oppose these increases in government spending or other forms of regulation are "bigots" or "extremists".
A common example of liberal media bias is the New York Times' coverage of President George W. Bush compared to its coverage of President Barack Obama. During the Bush administration, the paper criticized his policies and actions, but also reported on some of his successes, such as the reduction in terrorist attacks after 9/11. However, under Obama, the paper has described many of his actions as "unconstitutional", "reckless", and even "tyrannical". It has also reported on most of his failures, including the economic crisis, the rise in the number of people without health insurance, and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
The ownership of the news source, concentration of media ownership, subjective staff selection, or the preferences of a targeted audience are all market pressures that result in a skewed presentation. A number of national and international watchdog organizations report on media bias. These include the American Journalism Review, the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and NewsBusters.
How does media bias affect us? Media bias can have an impact on everyone who reads or watches news reports. It can influence what people think about important issues, who they vote for, and even how they act. The more aware we are of media bias, the better able we will be to separate fact from fiction, and use this information to make informed decisions.
What is some evidence of media bias? There are many examples of media bias. Some common ones include: omitting important facts such as the full name of a public figure; giving disproportionate coverage to issues that matter most to one side of the argument rather than to the other; and reporting stories with a clear bias behind-or-even before them- being published first.
Why do you think there is so much debate over media bias? Bias is not something that can be easily proven or disproven through empirical data collection. Instead, it's based on opinions that differ on both sides of an issue.
If a newspaper story is biased, it suggests that the reporter's unwarranted favoritism for someone or something influenced how the item was written. The reporter may prefer one side of a discussion or a certain candidate, which may skew the news. An article can be biased toward the subject, as well, with strong opinions presented without giving opposing views a chance to be heard.
Biases can also appear in omission, such as when an article fails to include important information needed by readers to understand the topic being discussed or observed. For example, an article about police brutality might fail to mention the role that racial discrimination plays in some cases of violence by officers against people of color. Biased reporting is often used to describe journalism that presents a slanted view of events for financial or political reasons; however, it can also occur when journalists are careless or ignorant of the facts at hand.
Finally, biases can also appear in interpretation. If a journalist favors one perspective over others, then he or she is likely to interpret evidence in favor of that view and ignore or underreport contrary evidence. For example, if a journalist believes that teachers are underpaid relative to students-lovers, he or she will probably report evidence indicating this fact (e.g., low salaries) but will withhold judgment on evidence suggesting they are overpaid (e.g., high turnover rates).
Recognizing and attempting to minimize the strength and inevitability of human bias is not just an essential component of generating great journalism; it is also a key skill for news and information consumers and sharers. Without understanding our own biases and those of the people we report on, it is impossible to be truly objective or accurate.
Journalists must always remember that they are not neutral observers but rather participants in the stories they report on. Their views may be influenced by their opinions of persons or organizations involved in the events they cover. If they fail to acknowledge this potential for bias, they risk reporting only part of the story or misrepresenting the facts.
It may be explicit, such as when a reporter expresses a preference for one side of an argument or person involved in a story. This type of bias is easy to identify because it comes straight from the source. Implicit bias, on the other hand, involves judgments made by reporters without them knowing it. For example, if a reporter tends to write more extensively about positive developments in society at large than about negative ones, this would be an instance of implicit bias. Such bias can have profound effects on how individuals, groups, or even entire societies are portrayed by the media.
Identifying bias is difficult because it is based on subjective assessments. Even experts disagree on what constitutes bias.
The news media are those aspects of the mass media that focus on conveying news to the general public or a specific audience. Print media (newspapers and magazines), broadcast news (radio and television), and, more recently, the Internet are examples of this (online newspapers, news blogs, etc.). The term "news" can be used in a broad sense to include any type of information that is new or recent, but it is usually restricted to describe events that have not happened yet but are expected to occur at some point in the future.
Newspapers are published daily or weekly; magazines are published monthly. Both print and online newspapers have an editor who selects and publishes news articles. Editors may be based in cities across the country or even around the world, depending on how large their publications are. They may report to a publisher or they may be self-employed individuals who write for various papers across the country or worldwide.
Newspaper editors choose which stories will be printed in their publications and in what order they will appear. Sometimes they will place an article on the back page with the intention of bringing more attention to it later. Others times they will choose a front-page story and leave other, less interesting news on the back page. Still others may print both front and back pages each day and alternate which ones are the lead story.
Some newspapers have more important news than others.