Monday, September 10, 2012

Bias and the Media

Media bias in the United States occurs when the media in the United States systematically presents a particular point of view. Claims of media bias in the United States include claims of liberal bias,conservative bias, mainstream bias, and corporate bias. Recently, my class had the privilege to watch a documentary called Outfoxed. The video focused on the Fox News Channel, and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, and claiming that the channel is used to promote and advocate right-wing views. My goal in this blog post is to disclose evidence on how media bias, particularly the Fox News Channel, and how it effects its viewers.

Since its beginnings, television in the United States has been intertwined with major political events and institutions to effects on campaigns and elections. Unfortunately, this leads to a great degree political bias and misinformation to its viewers. A recent study on Fox News shows that viewers of the channel are the least informed of all viewers. Researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University conducted their test first on the local surrounding areas and second on a nationwide poll. The poll asked questions about international news (Iran, Egypt, Syria and Greece were included) and domestic affairs (Republican primaries, Congress, unemployment and the Keystone XL pipeline.) According to the study, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly, a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. And people only watching “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” could answer about 1.42 questions correctly. But can viewers think critically and evaluate the credibility of what they see and hear?

Regrettably, the study from Fairleigh Dcikinson University and other surveys say it all. If you only consider mainstream U.S. television news outlets with major audiences, it really is true that Fox viewers are the most misled based on all the available evidence especially in areas of political controversy. In 2003, a survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland found widespread public misconceptions about the Iraq war. For instance, many Americans believed the U.S. had evidence that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had been collaborating in some way with Al Qaeda, or was involved in the 9-11 attacks; many also believed that the much touted “weapons of mass destruction” had been found in the country after the U.S. invasion, when they hadn’t. PIPA reported, “Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misconceptions.”

In today's political campaign, it has become very evident that people believe that the liberal media runs rampant throughout the news. In nearly every campaign and policy debate, at least one of the sides (and often both) make the claim that the news media is biased toward the other side. From what I have observed in the last week from watching multiple news sources, it seems to me that there are many more public interest groups representing liberal issues in Washington than those speaking on behalf of conservative issues. This may give rise to the belief in a liberal media and the idea of that particular news source is being controlled by a specific party. According to a study found on “,” studies show that Republicans are quoted 44% more than Democrats, and the coverage of Mitt Romney is significantly less negative than coverage of Barack Obama. The information given was compiled by the 4th Estate Project, which is simply a information organizing website that focuses on social influences of media. So why do people believe the liberal media?Because news consumers are responding to the increasing news coverage of liberal bias media claims, which have been increasingly emanating from the Republican Party candidates and officials. 

In my conclusion, I first would like to say that I have grown up in a very strong conservative family. I myself am a independent and do not particularly follow all of the ideologies that either party has. I say this so that my readers and followers do not take me as a liberal agent trying to sway your decisions. I have reported nothing but facts about the media and how it effects its viewers. From the research I have disclosed, you clearly see a misinformation and a media bias in news channels that advocate a specific political party and a sense of liberal media when there is none.

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