Introduction bias is a big problem currently and trying

Introduction

Media plays an important role in the passing of information
to the citizens. Almost the whole population in one way or the other rely on
television or read a newspaper for information. Based on what the targeted
audience read, it shapes their opinion on various issues for example racism,
politics, abortion, and homosexuality. 
Mass media power cannot be underestimated especially in shaping the
opinion in the society.  Depending on
what kind of opinion the Media outlets want to put across, it can decide to
stress and publicize one side of the story more than the other angle.

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Types of Media bias

Biased reporting of information can be classified into
various categories.  It could be omission
where one side of the story is left out. In this case, either the liberal or
conservative side of the story is omitted. The second form of bias selection of
sources. This is where the source of the information being used only supports
one side of the story. The third form of media biases is story selection.  This is where the only story that supports
particular ideas is highlighted while ignoring those with opposing views. Finally,
there is bias by labelling. It is most prominent when covering political
news.  Liberal or conservative politicians
are tagged with extreme labels or groups leaving the opponents unlabelled (Patterson).
This form of bias reporting can also occur when a reporter identifies a
politician on news as an expert in a particular field rather than as a liberal or
conservative but as either an expert which brings out a positive image. In this
case, the politician is given an authoritative atmosphere that is not deserved.

The most common way media bias occurs is when the news is
reported in unbalanced manner or journalist to engage in sensationalized
reporting. The main purpose of media bias is to instil individual ideas into
the audience even though it may not it might not be true facts. Media bias
could span from the way an individual’s portrayed to the society, racial
representation of information or corporate propaganda. Media bias could either
be a negative, positive or inaccurate portrayal of information in order to
shape the opinion of the viewers. Depending on which side is reporting mass
media can shape public opinion to sway towards the conservatives or liberal

 

Media Bias in Politics

Can it be said that the media is biased? Depending on the
side of political views represented, the media is evidently biased on both
sides be it conservatives or liberals. The liberals believe that there are
conservative media that report incorrect information and the same opinion is
viewed by the conservative. Media bias is a big problem currently and trying to
suppress it is even more difficult because of the fact that they are owned by
corporate giants that have specific agenda. It is a serious problem since it is
being used to instil certain beliefs that can have a negative influence on the
society (Bernhardt
et al.1095). The citizens rely on Television news and other media
outlets for information in order to make an informed decision about public policy
and how to cast their votes.

Media houses have the power to uplift or kill an individual
political career; they can make a political candidate likable or not. They tend
to focus on what they want the public to see and ignoring other facts that can
have an influence on the result. In the end, the media houses take advantage of
the inability of the public not being able to make an informed decision
regarding the issues in hand like public policy and eventually misinform the
public.   In the recent past, the media
seems to be the one setting the trends on what to be discussed; a good example
of media bias can be seen in the self fulfilling prophecy of polls. The multiple
polls could be produced in a day with contradicting and confusing results. And
they tend to achieve their goals of swaying the voters either from the liberal
s or conservative side.

Example of Media Bias

U.S Presidential election 2016

The 2016 US presidential election was marred by widespread
lack of credibility in reporting from the media houses. Throughout the
election, media reporting was divided between the two presidential candidates.
It is still a debate whether the coverage had an influence on the election outcome
or not. Over the election campaign period, Donald Trump faced negative coverage
that was aimed at portraying him as a racist and xenophobe.  The GOP and president Donald Trump urged that
Hillary Clinton received favourable news coverage than him during the campaign
period. While the Democrats said that the media often aired Trump’s speeches
without interruption.

Reflecting back during the campaign period, a majority of
the newspapers endorsed Hillary Clinton. This led to Donald Trump claiming that
the mainstream media is deeply corrupt and misleading the American public. Both
candidates received a fair amount of coverage though Trump coverage was more
negative compared to Clinton. The election may be one of the most unbalanced in
news coverage of the candidates.  The
election brings to light the kind of information that is always delivered to
the voters making it difficult for them to come up with independent opinions on
different policies.  There is a blurred
line that distinguishes between good or bad candidates from either conservative
or liberals and the news media are not making it any easier.

Another example of misleading information obtained from the
media occurred when the New England Patriots visited the White House. This highlighted  at how inaccurate sometimes media can be .Apparently,
The New York Times posted a tweet with misleading caption of photos of the Patriot’s
visit to the White House ( Patterson). The Patriots responded to the
tweet. In the photos, The New York Times was trying to portray that the players
and staff had boycotted the visit to The White House in protest of President
Donald Trump. The team posted photos of their visits in 2004, 2015 and 2017.
Comparing the two photos from, the one in 2015 has both staffs and players but
the one in 2017 only had players.  As
much as it is a common occurrence for players to boycott white house visits for
various political reasons. But The New York Times was trying to show that there
was a massive boycott by the team which was not true at all. This was meant to
sway public opinion on the president popularity and question his image to the
public.

Impact on public opinion

In a recent poll conducted in 2017, 62% of American believe that
media is biased towards one political side than the other. 64% believe that the
media favour democrat party more compared to 22% who believe it favour
Republicans (GAllUP). In addition, 55% of voters’ think that the mainstream
media report inaccurate information. This statistics could also be blamed on
the media outlets bipartisan audiences. Political coverage of news is a
reflection of the type of audience the media is attracting.  The question whether mainstream media is just
part of the massive political divide is hard to answer

The Media is in a dilapidated state. The way information is
being presented to the public has changed. Currently, it is not about informing
the public with facts but rather telling the public in an effort to shape their
opinions. The problem has already encroached into the public itself whereby the
audience only tunes in to media station that has an identical political
ideology like them. Many are still claiming to be neutral in their news
coverage but it can easily be noticed that news coverage from various media
outlets is connected to a particular political opinion. According to a survey
conducted by Business Insider in 2014, CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS have an audience
that leans on the left while Fox news has an audience that is more conservative
(Engel ).  Among the newspaper, Wall
Street is more conservative, the New York Times is identified by a liberal
audience while left-wing readers are associated with the USA today. 

 

Conclusion

There is still much debate on the role of media in the
society and how they shape public opinion. Journalist and owners of these media
outlets are just humans with differing beliefs and political affiliations, but
they should try to pass information in a neutral manner and let the audience
come up with their own opinion. Mainstream media has a huge impact on politics,
regardless of which side they are reporting the media is still manipulative and
persuasive in matters related to the political decision made by the audience.
As for now , bias in media reporting is still rampant and it will still
continue as long  the public is not
educate enough  to formulate independent
opinions on policies and politics.

Bernhardt,
Dan, Stefan Krasa, and Mattias Polborn. “Political polarization and the
electoral effects of media bias.” Journal of Public Economics 92.5
(2008): 1092-1104.

Engel,
Pamela. “Here’s how liberal or conservative major news sources really
are.” Business Insider (2014).

Patterson,
Thomas E. “News Coverage of Donald Trump’s First 100 Days.” (2017).

 

http://news.gallup.com/poll/207794/six-partisan-bias-news-media.aspx