Media Bias is the Skewing of Information

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Whether it’s watching the television, reading a newspaper, scrolling through Facebook, or just hearing it through a friend, everyone obtains news through some outlet. Media is a vehicle for communication; it’s how the public is kept in the loop on the events happening in the country. Though some media can be honest, it is more common nowadays to see media bias. Media bias is the skewing of information to support one political ideology over another. There are many specific media outlets that are known for communicating stories through a lens of either a conservative or a liberal. People are more likely to watch or read news that they agree with, so news outlets report in the ways that the audience will respond best. Despite the fact that Americans know what media bias is and understand that it happens in almost all media outlets, they still continue to obtain most of their information through these outlets. Though media bias has caused distrust in the media, media bias is also a large reason that America has starting to become extremely polarized when it comes to politically ideology. Media should act as a fourth branch of government, something that keeps executive, judicial, and legislative branches in check. However, the media has started to focus on what their viewers want to see and hear; this is known as the business model. Because the viewers want their beliefs confirmed, media bias and this business model has become increasingly popular.

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Televised news is a major way that people receive their information; however, depending on which channel that is watched, the stories told can be slightly different. There are some media outlets that are known to be bias one way or another. For example, CNN is known to promote the democratic agenda, while Fox News is known to promote the republican agenda. These media outlets might report on the exact same events, but the stories they produce could be twisted in a way that shows bias. The news outlet might choose to focus on a certain part of a story but ignore other parts. In this situation, a viewer wouldn’t actually get the whole story. This goes back to the idea that news outlets give their audience what they want to hear. Because of this, Fox News is going to slant or interpret a story in a way that is different from the way CNN would. A Fox News article about gun control would look very differently than a CNN article about gun control. For example, in Fox News’ article, “Gun-rights advocates sue to block new gun-control law in Washington state,” the conservative view on gun control and the second amendment is expressed; this article highlights that gun control violates citizens’ right to bear arms. However, a CNN article on gun control will discuss the benefits of gun control. In the CNN article, “California already had the strictest gun control laws in the nation. They just passed a bunch more,” the author explains that gun control is the key to less shootings in America and positively discusses the changes being made to the gun laws. These news outlets know their audience and know what they want to hear; this is known as the business of model of media, and it is becoming increasingly common in the media world. Circumstances like this are seen when discussing many major topics including: abortion, gay marriages, and presidential elections. Fox News shows the more conservative side while CNN shows the more liberal side.

A recent time that bias was seen throughout all media was during the 2016 presidential election. Articles that Fox News posted about the election focused on the amazing changes that Trump would make to the country; CNN focused on the upset that was the 2016 election. In the Fox News article, “Trump Wins Presidency, Defeats Clinton in Historic Election Upset,” the author discusses Trump and his agenda in a very positive way. Fox News includes Trump’s statement about America coming together after this election; he writes, “Sounding a call to “reclaim our country’s destiny,” Trump declared: “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. … America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.” While doing this, Fox News doesn’t necessarily talk negatively about Clinton, but all of her mistakes, setbacks, and failures are highlighted in the article. This article encouraged its readers to support Trump and have confidence in his plan for America. On the other hand, in the CNN’s article “Trump’s Shocking Victory: What It Means,” multiple writers discuss the election and its aftermath. The first writer, Errol Lewis, describes the election and even includes statements from Trump. Unlike Fox News’ article, Lewis follows Trump’s statement with very negative words. He writes, “Could this be the long-awaited and oft-promised pivot Trump’s supporters said would happen? Or are we in for more of the tone of mockery, insults and bitter backlash that Trump aimed at so many during the campaign?” After this, the article continues with multiple other authors discussing the election. Though there are a couple writers that write relatively positive about Trump, the majority of this article talks about the negative accusations from Trump’s past and the consequences that could come from this election. This article, more than likely caused readers to question Trump and put thoughts of doubt in their head. These two articles were posted a day apart, and though they should tell the same story, the messages they send are different. Fox News supports the republican agenda and Trump’s presidency, while CNN questions it. This is media bias. News outlets write about stories and choose to leave out or purposefully highlight specific things to support a cause and please its audience.

Nowadays, media bias happens more often than it doesn’t, and the audience knows it. Despite this, viewers still chose to get their information from the skewed articles and clips. As liberals tend to watch the liberal spin on the news through CNN and conservatives tend to watch the conservative spin on the news through Fox News. Because of this, the political ideologies in America have become more extreme, and there are less political moderates. This is because the viewers are not getting the full truth from both sides of the spectrum. Viewers either hear a bad perspective on a person, place, or law, or they hear a good perspective. It is rare that a news article is straight facts; there is usually an opinion intertwined in the story that influences the viewer. In a poll completed by the Media Research Center, the Gallup polls show that about 44% of Americans find the news to be too liberal, 19% find the news to be too conservative, and only 34% of Americans find the news coverage to be “just right.” In a study done by the Columbia Journalism Review, the author, Mathew Ingram, discusses the consequences of media bias. Ingram also states that the majority of people surveyed have lost trust in the media; of those surveyed 45% don’t trust the news because of the “inaccuracy, bias, fake news, and alternative facts.” Media bias can cause conflict or make already occurring conflict worse; America is becoming increasingly polarized, and media bias has done nothing to stop that. Over the past years, media bias has caused a decrease in trust in the media; this is the most distrust in the media that America has ever seen.

Whatever outlet a person chooses to obtain their news through, there is going to be some bias. Media bias is how the news outlets keep their viewers watching or reading. The media knows that the audience pays attention to what they want to hear, and they take full advantage of that. Fox News and CNN are just two examples of new outlets that show media bias. These two media outlets tend to favor one ideology over the others, and it shows in their reports. The media is supposed to be the fourth branch of government that accurately communicates news stories to the public, but as time goes on, the media is shifting more and more towards the business model. As the public has started to acknowledge the bias found in media, their confidence in the media has dropped. Though it is believed that news outlets can recover from the large amount of bias found in their articles, media bias is something that is almost unavoidable and will continue to happen regardless of the audience’s response.

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Media Bias Is The Skewing Of Information. (2021, Apr 08). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from
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