Thursday, May 17, 2012

Media Bias

You know it is funny, liberals and conservatives alike accuse media outlets of showing bias toward the other side. Liberals claim that talk radio and Fox news is slanted toward the right and is therefore not trustworthy. Conservatives always use the term the "MASS media" is heavily liberal slanted. I would say that ALL media shows bias, favoritism, preference, whatever you want to call it. The thing is, I think our society has missed the picture on HOW the bias is shown.

Many will say that reporters show bias in the words they use to describe events and the inflection they use. This may be true but it is not the most dangerous form of bias. I say it is not the most dangerous because it is fairly easy to recognize and see through. Others will say that the length of time a news story is on shows bias. Again, this is true but still not the most dangerous bias.

In my opinion, the most dangerous bias is when a news organization chooses NOT to report certain stories. Obviously there is so much going on that there is no way a single outlet can cover EVERYTHING. That means they have to be selective about what gets aired and how much time it gets. When an outlet spends 5 minutes covering some story about a Hollywood celebrity and spends 15 seconds or no time at all covering the true picture behind unemployment numbers and people pulling themselves out of the workforce, there is something seriously wrong, slanted and even irresponsible about that outlet. What the media DOESN'T say is far more biased than anything they actually report.

I challenge you to be a conscientious consumer of media. Take in multiple streams of news, from multiple sources--including the ones that are known to be "slanted." Once you take them in, dig deeper in the stories that could have been slanted or the ones that interest you. If the TV news story draws outrage from you, chances are you need to dig deeper. It was probably written in such a way as to evoke that emotion. It is probably at least a little slanted. Take a few extra moments to try to be informed and not just spoon fed by the media.

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