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Media Bias and Society Essay

Updated April 19, 2022
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Media Bias and Society Essay essay

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Media bias is a political bias in journalistic reporting, in programming selection, or otherwise in mass communications media. The media selectively chooses what they want to release to the public to program the majority of people that watch the news regularly to think a certain way. CNN and MSNBC are often cited as examples of liberal media bias, but Fox News is cited as an example of conservative media bias. Liberal means open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values. Conservative means holding to traditional values and cautious about change or innovation especially in politics. The media is biased toward both liberal-progressive values and conservative values depending on the specific media outlets you may access.

Most people that watch mainly CNN and MSNBC are steered to support liberal bias and adopt liberal values because they deliberately promote liberal bias. In the modern age, there is media bias especially on social issues and the economy. “And the political press in the U.S. has an overwhelming leftward tilt, mostly on social issues, but also on economic matters.” One example of liberal media bias in the 2008 presidential election is “bias by placement.” For instance, “During the 2008 presidential election, media outlets were criticized for helping Barack Obama win the White House while portraying the John McCain and Sarah Palin in a poor light.” According to the 2008 poll results, 33% of the stories about Obama were positive in tone, 35% were mixed or neutral, and 29% were negative. 57% of the stories studied about John McCain were negative and 14% were positive. 39% of Palin stories carried a negative tone, while 28% were positive, and 33% were neutral. In this case, the media was accused of downplaying John McCain and Sarah Palin while supporting Barack Obama.

Most newsrooms like CNN and MSNBC do not think highly of conservatives. An example is that “The most crucial role of our press is scrutinizing those in power and those who want power. Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and the others all deserve intense scrutiny of their policy proposals, their past and their stated beliefs. Dr. Carson has portrayed the 2016 presidential election scrutiny of him as a witch hunt, and (especially when some of it is unfair) conservative voters believe him.” The mainstream media, especially the more liberal news stations, attacked Ben Carson verbally because of his conservative political stance and opinions. “Democracy needs a trustworthy news media.” In order for conservatives to trust the news media like CNN and MSNBC, it needs to better understand conservatives.

CNN is biased more towards liberal values. According to Student News Daily, there is media bias by certain sources. Although CNN supports the liberals, Fox News sided with the conservatives. For example, both news programs provide bias by omission, bias by spin, and bias by labeling because in general they support their own beliefs and sometimes publicly dismissed the other’s political party’s beliefs. “As for the 2008 presidential campaign, media attention focused on the Democratic race for president because of its history. The nominee was either going to be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.” During that time, Oprah Winfrey received praise for helping Barack Obama to win the presidential election. However, she did receive harsh criticisms from others viewers for turning her back on a female candidate. “Oprah Winfrey is credited with giving Obama the boost he needed to overtake Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary election, although she faced a backlash from some viewers for turning her back on a female candidate.” Another example is when Pew Research stated in 2016 that most of CNN’s stories about Trump were negative. A major new study out of Harvard University has revealed the true extent of the liberal media’s bias against Donald Trump. They noticed that “the tone of some outlets was negative in as many as 98% of reports, significantly more hostile than the first 100 days of the three previous administrations.” CNN has been labeled for providing fake news by Fox News, President Trump and many of his supporters.

According to MSNBC, “these media sources are strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation.” MSNBC is more preferred by a liberal audience. A survey was conducted in 2014 that 48% of MSNBC’s audience is consistently or mostly liberal, 33% mixed, and 18% consistently or mostly conservative. For instance, MSNBC used strong headlines in articles, “GOP senator says he’s ‘concerned’ Trump was ‘involved in a crime”, “Cohen gets 3 years in jail for covering up Trump’s dirty deeds”, and “Says President Donald Trump is ‘talking about exterminating Latinos’”. This shows that MSNBC is a liberal-based news platform.

Fox News was the main source for 40% of Trump’s voters during the 2016 election. Another survey from the Pew Research Center claims that conservatives strongly support Fox News. 47% almost half of the consistent conservatives exclaimed that Fox News is their main source of information for government and political news. Fox News presents issues from a conservative perspective because the majority of Fox News stories are pro-Trump. For example, Fox News posted headlines such as “They Wanted It to Blow Up: Limbaugh Says Success of Trump-Kim Summit Caught Media Off Guard.”

According to the article about the president Richard Trumka in ALF-CIO, the president has a history of human injustice. This ranged from incitements that lead to killings of people. However, the media ignored the news and did not report the happening as they were happening. These issues are against the press responsibility of unveiling the truth so that necessary action is taken. This is on the other hand indirectly supporting wrong doings to continue happening, and the common citizens are the ones that keep suffering from the injustices. At the same time, the media should remain neutral and identify themselves with integrity in their work. In some instances, the media are not given enough power by some government constitutionally, and if so, their duties are influenced politically in some ways (Orcutt, 2012). This is to prevent some unjust activities happening from the government from leaking to the public. They are limited regarding intimidations and a lot of regulations of duties during licensing. The public which hence suffer is denied the right to information that is vital for a developing country. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/2578160/posts?page=22

According to the research done, the majority of the Americans still have no confidence in the media regarding reporting the exact and accurate news. 44% of the Americans believe that the press has shown the credibility of reporting reliable information throughout. However, the majority did not agree with these and claimed the media in one way, or the other manipulates the exact information. The majority view bias of the media, 47% of the Americans believe the media are liberal, and 13% believe the media is conservative. However, 36% of the public believe the media is just. https://news.gallup.com/poll/149624/majority-continue-distrust-media-perceive-bias.aspx

Therefore, the media is biased towards both liberals and conservatives depending on the specific media outlets you may access like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. CNN and MSNBC support liberals because they release headlines and articles in favor of liberals and Fox News is in favor of conservatives because they publish articles that support conservative beliefs. The mainstream media puts down conservatives political views in order to popularize liberal values. Depending on the news stations you use, both conservative-based news channels and liberal-based news stations have their own media bias.

Works Cited

  1. Carney, Timothy P. “Liberal News Media Bias Has a Serious Effect.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 21 December 2015, www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/11/11/why-has-trust-in-the-news-media-declined/liberal-news-media-bias-has-a-serious-effect. Accessed 11 February 2020.
  2. “CNN.” Media Bias/Fact Check, Media Bias Fact Check, LLC, mediabiasfactcheck.com/cnn/. Accessed 11 February 2020.
  3. “Fox News.” Media Bias/Fact Check, Media Bias Fact Check, LLC, mediabiasfactcheck.com/fox-news/. Accessed 11 February 2020.
  4. Halbrooks, Glenn. “Does the Media Have a Liberal Bias?” The Balance Careers, Dotdash Publishing Family, 8 December 2018, www.thebalancecareers.com/is-the-media-liberal-2315202. Accessed 11 February 2020.
  5. “Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias.” 660am The Answer, KSKY- AM and Salem Interactive Media, 20 May 2017, 660amtheanswer.com/content/all/harvard-study-lays-out-extent-of-media-bias-against-president-trump. Accessed 12 February 2020.
  6. “Media Bias.” Student News Daily, www.studentnewsdaily.com/types-of-media-bias/. Accessed 11 February 2020.
  7. “MSNBC.” Media Bias/Fact Check, Media Bias Fact Check, LLC, mediabiasfactcheck.com/msnbc/. Accessed 11 February 2020.
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