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The contemporary media is characterized by the widespread bias, which has significantly contravened journalistic integrity that requires unprejudiced and bias-free reporting. Media bias is the perceived bias or obvious bias on news procedures and among journalists towards selecting stories for coverage, as well as the mode of covering them. In the United States, mass media has been affected by differing views, which are emphasized in a manner to suggest bias towards certain views and individuals. Media bias is divided into corporate bias, liberal bias, mainstream as well as conservative bias. Out of all these, conservative and liberal biases overwhelm the others (Bandler, 2017). The media has generally affected the masses views, either positively or negatively, as it has inclined itself either towards the left or right, in the political enclave. In today’s setting, every observant person has definitely been able to identify various forms of media bias. This just goes to show how much of an issue, media bias is, and to what extent politics has corrupted the industry. The presence of political inclination has forced media to pursue the views of their preferred parties, and politicians, hence leading to the creation of misconstrued facts and views on pertinent social, economic and political issues. In the American context, the media has significantly shown bias towards either conservatives or significantly promoting progressive liberal views.
Progressive Liberal Bias
Detractors of media have asserted that there is a widespread presence of media bias on the most channels, in the mainstream media. This includes network television news media houses, such as MSNBC, NBC, CBS, Current TV, CNN, and ABC, as well as radio outlets, newspapers and newswires. Prior to 2008, there was slightly less alarm towards media bias, with the political divide between conservatives and liberals seemingly non-existent. The obvious bias between the two seemed to coincide with Obama’s desire to become the US president and the overwhelming support that he had from Democratic Party.
Bias in the media is evident from campaign contributions received from personnel working in major media houses. In 2008, donations given by employees in major news channels such as ABC, CBS and NBC revealed that the Democrats scooped more cash compared to the Republicans (Bandler, 2017). The Democrats got a total of $1,020,816 donated by 160 employees, while the conservatives got $162,863 from 193 employees. This shows the presence of disparity present in the media industry with its employees inclined towards the Democrats. It is thus possible to argue that similar bias is evident when it comes to reposting on political issues.
Research, through surveys, has shown that majority of media channels has a considerable number of Democrat inclined employees. Most of the articles and news content attributed to these employees, are consequently inclined substantially towards the left. Their views on various social issues such as gay rights, abortion, social services as well as affirmative actions are significantly on the left of the general public. Their attitudes tend to affect their news presentations. The presence of a dominant liberal political force in the newsrooms has seen a biased coverage on liberal views (Friedersdorf, 2017). They have pushed to ensure that the progressive or conservative views are covered disproportionately, while pushing opinions to the left. This process is often unconscious, and that makes it almost impossible for the individuals involved to change. The inability of the employees to free themselves of liberal inclination has forced them to turn a blind eye on the views of the right wing. The assumptions are turned into reality without even proper confirmation.
The presence of more Democrat employees, within major news channels, shows how the media gets affected. People seek to transform their views into truths, without adequate proof (Friedersdorf, 2017). Events are also formulated to perceive and promote liberal thinking. News on specific incidences is covered with a disproportionate presence of bias, while leaving some information that might show any centrality of the media. Any incident that is against their views is widely covered and criticized.
Examples of Media Bias
In the recent election, there was significant media bias towards presidential candidates, depending on their political affiliation. The media houses worked overtime to paint their candidate(s) of choice in the best light, while vilifying those that they felt held opposing points of view. Most channels, which the Democrats control, hold liberal views. As such, they presented Clinton and Obama in the positive light. On the other hand, Trump was presented as an irrational being who had no liberal thoughts. Ranging from questionable pictures through to biased conversations circulated across the media, Trump was presented as being uncharismatic, ugly looking person with no character to represent the Americans in the Whitehouse. His utterances were overwhelmingly criticized, and figures cooked to favor Clinton. He was criticized in all manners and denounced by most newscasters (Dimaggio, 2017). The favoritism exhibited towards Clinton, by most media outlets, shows how media tries to propagate information for its benefit.
Media houses are always in the business to make money, and as such would always try to propagate views and news that elicit the most reaction from the public. As a consequence, the bias in media reporting might be driven by financial factors. Information concerning Trump’s bad side always sold and hence, most channels sought to report as much negative news on him.
The dominance of the Democrat inclined employees also ensured that news reporting in most major media house was biased towards Trump. The reporting had created a notion that Trump ascending to power, would be the worst thing that could happen and as such many had convinced themselves that it would never happen. As a consequence, his win was unimaginable to many, resulting in views that he had rigged or had engaged in some form of interference with the elections. Even today, these media platforms, despite having been shamed for their biased views during the campaigns, continue to criticize Trump while leaving his good deeds unreported.
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Following Trump’s ascension to power, the media turned its focus on to his son, further showing its biased view of the President. Trump Jr. was accused of colluding with the Russian government experts to interfere with the elections (Davenport Jr, 2017). In this revelation, the media continued to paint Trump Jr. negatively formulating any information far from the truth. In this case, the inclination of the press to the left has made the general public unconcerned about the effects of any propaganda. They have become insensitive as well as others becoming critical of the government they elected. In this case, it has resulted in mixed views and reactions that are disproportionately irregular.
Statistics and Views on Media Bias
According to a survey conducted by Gallup poll in 2014, it shows that 44% Americans believe that news outlets are significantly liberal. This emanated from the majority of conservative respondents. Only 19% considered most news outlets as being too conservative. The remaining 34% stated that the news was just right, and a significant number of respondents were self-identified liberals. Based on these views, the media is viewed in a sophisticated light in the eyes of the general public. It is challenging for not to consider most channels as being unbiased. Even those whose views are represented in majority channels and especially the liberals agree that there is a presence of biasness. As a result, the general public has been left bewildered on which channel best suits their attention.
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- Bandler, A. (2017, June 28). 5 Statistics That Show Media Bias Is Real. Retrieved from http://www.dailywire.com/news/18054/5-statistics-show-media-bias-real-aaron-bandler
- Davenport Jr C. (2017, July 15). Charles Davenport Jr.: Trump Accelerates Liberal Media Bias. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from http://www.greensboro.com/opinion/columns/charles-davenport-jr-trump-accelerates-liberal-media-bias/article_3582d4b1-b3f0-51bb-acdf-2ceeff875daa.html
- Dimaggio, A. (2017). The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era. Albany: State University of New York Press.
- Friedersdorf, C. (2017, October 26). Media Bias Against Conservatives? Here’s What the Right Isn’t Told. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/media-bias-against-conservatives-heres-what-the-right-isnt-told/248204/