Media Bias

Media Bias

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7254-3.ch010
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Abstract

A solution towards media bias would be quite hard since it is somehow part of its culture, but an attempt can be made by allowing watchdog NGO organizations to enforce the law when a breach is in evidence. Then any fine charged should be given to the organization. This way the organization is motivated to continue strict and proper monitoring. An ethical dilemma surfaces when it should never have arisen in democratic society. Give the people truthful and fair accounts of events and be regarded as non-patriotic or defend the country with any means or tactics. Journalistic ethics is most sensitive in situations such as these when disagreement is seen as disloyal. This chapter explores media bias.
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Background

The Oxford dictionary defines bias as the “inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair”. That being said, media bias can have catastrophic psychological and economic repercussions due to the wide dissemination of different media outlets and the heavy reliance of the majority of consumers on the information provided by these outlets. Sendhil Mullainathan and Andrei Shleifer sought to dissect the reasons that drive media bias and the consequences that result from this practice. They identified two main reasons for media bias: ideological, and the “need to tell a memorable story”. The first reason behind media bias (i.e. ideology) stems from the editor or the reporter’s desire to influence audience into adopting a certain opinion or belief system. On the other hand, the second reason behind media bias (i.e. spinning the story) has no hidden political agendas and simply exists to liven up or create a story that would be worth telling in the views of the editors or reporters of a certain media outlet (Mullainathan & Shleifer, 2005). However, David P. Baron adds one supplementary cause of media bias to the previously mentioned two and that is reporter greed. In fact, Baron explains in an article published in 2006 that if reporters or journalists gather information through independent investigation and believe that skewing, manipulating or misrepresenting this information might aid in their career advancement then these journalists might be inclined to act unethically and bias their findings to serve their own personal purposes (Baron, 2006). As an example to this point, Matthew Gentnzkow published an article in 2005 and in it he showcased how three different media outlets reported on the same event (a military battle in Samarra, Iraq during the U.S-led invasion in 2003). The three media outlets included in the article were Fox News (a conservative American media outlet), the New York Times (a liberal American media outlet), as well as AlJazeera (a prominent Arab media outlet). It comes as no surprise that these ideologically differing media outlets gave very varying accounts of the events of that battle. This example goes to show ideology can affect the accuracy of media coverage and thus create bias.

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