Another issue commonly encountered when concerning news and journalism is favoritism. By favoritism I mean news stations (television, radio, print, or web) picking favorites. For instance, if a station shows bias or favoritism towards a particular brand then that would effect honest, correct, and important information about said company. This issue can also go further with political favoritism. The news station shows bias or favoritism towards a particular party or politician.
A Real Life Example
For example if CNN is sponsored buy Ford then they would show bias to Ford. By showing bias they wouldn’t give Ford any bad press. So if there was a Ford recall and CNN doesn’t cover the story because it would give Ford bad press that isn’t honest, fair, trustworthy, or any news quality. This lack of informing could hurt the viewers directly or indirectly. If one of the viewers drives a car made by Ford and that particular car was subject to recall that viewer wouldn’t know and could be hurt by the malfunction. Also indirectly the viewer could be hurt because they work at Ford. This could mean longer hours or even less hours.
In the political realm the same could be true. If Fox doesn’t cover Democratic news or gives Democratic politics bad coverage it is bias. Therefore the lack of information or misinformation is bad for the viewers. The viewers are only given a part of the story. They then make a judgement about the subject from the biased information from the news service provider.
Almost every station can be affiliated with something else and therefore some bias toward that. For example, it is common to think that CNN leans liberally while FOX leans conservatively. A viewer can make a decision on which place to consume news from by personal preference. However I think there should be an unbiased station that covers news from both ends of the spectrum and isn’t swayed by money or power.
The website FAIR (or Fair and Accuracy in Reporting) explains that bias can even be something as simple as the guest. If a particular radio or television station has guests of similar orientations then that is a bias. For example, if a radio talk show uses white, wealthy, male conservatives the majority of the time then that is a bias. But if the same radio talk show would have guests of both genders then it would be less bias. If the same talk show would have guests of minority groups (Hispanic, African-American, or Asian-American) then the show would be even less biased.
The University of Michigan’s website explains even stories, pictures, or videos are skewed representations of the entire event. The reporter makes choice on what goes in and what stays out. Something is because of a station’s bias and sometimes it is because of a personal bias and sometimes it’s from an unintentional place but the story is still bias. The website explains this scenario using a picture from a meeting between JFK and Russian officials from the 60’s. The picture just shows the men talking but what isn’t known is what and why they are talking and the behind the scenes of the photograph.
Here’s to Us
So future journalists let’s put an end to news bias. Let’s report the news in the most informative, unbiased way.
Until the next mass communications adventure….