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ENG 101- Is the Media Biased?

Sep 14, 2023

Write an Argument Essay on one of the following prompts:

  • Should what you say on social media be grounds for getting fired?
  • Should celebrities or professional athletes use their platform to voice their opinions?
  • What Is More Important: Our Privacy or National Security?
  • Should there be a nationwide ban on guns?
  • Do bystanders have a responsibility to intervene when there is trouble?
  • Should the private lives of famous people be off-limits?
  • Is being “Politically Correct”, getting out of hand?
  • Does Free Speech really exist anymore?
  • Is the media biased?
  • Should drugs be legalized?
  • Should your online data be protected?

Is the Media Biased?

Malcolm X poignantly explained the importance of media and also implied the dangers associated with it in the quote, “The Media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” Since the advent of media, it has continued to impact people in a myriad of ways, ranging from their choice of lifestyle to their choice of political party. It influences every part of a human’s life, whether in the online or offline form. Therefore, bias is a crucial element to consider with respect to media. The capitalistic society of the present day has caused this situation of bias to escalate to such an extent that it is no longer possible to have a healthy discussion. Views are not presented in a fair manner, which has heavily reduced the sanctity that should govern the activities of media. Therefore it has become a dangerous tool for the public. Hence, the Media is functioning as a biased tool in the country.           

Media bias is not a new phenomenon and has been prevalent in the country for a long time. There has been a systematic effort from the American government to control the media so that they do not have to face a situation similar to what they faced in the Vietnam War (Dietrich and Eck 1044). Therefore, various organizations began to monitor and control media. Moreover, during the Vietnam War, capitalistic organizations also understood the importance and influence of Media. Government and Capitalistic organizations both understood that the only way to control media is through the aspect of advertising revenue. Through controlling companies providing advertisements and governmental funds, media bias became a massive tool of advantage for corporations and authorities. The steady transformation of America into a capitalistic country has ensured the existence of bias in the media (Baly 40). Capitalism has caused the focus of various media organizations to only be profit. In order to achieve this objective, the media only represents the opinion that is popular and influenced by conglomerates. If the information provided by Media is influenced and caters to a particular view, then it is biased. The bias exists because of the influence and the organization of the media industry. In order to ensure that their objectives are fulfilled, the news provided in the significant networks is biased to the popular opinion for the sake of revenues, which is done to ensure that no opposing opinion is formulated in the society in an effective way.           

Most of the News outlets in both the online and offline forums are functioning without any consideration of standards that should be maintained in professional journalism. There are specific standards that should be maintained by the media during reporting of any matter. These standards include having truthful and accurate information acquired by communication-based on facts. The content, in accordance with the standards and ethics, should be fair, respectful to others, and have accountability (Hargittai 24). The organizations providing the news according to the ethics and standards should be independent, objective, impartial, and fair. Unfortunately, these standards and ethics are not followed by American journalism in any shape or form. The organizations have become capitalistic, with many taking a pro-government stance. These two aspects are severely impacting the standards of journalism that should be followed in general. The news provided in the absence of ethical and professional standards is biased.

The pro-government stance, which leads to biasedness, originates out of self-censorship. This self-censorship happens mainly due to the corporate system. This system causes reporters, as well as editors, to share and acquire values in their work that are associated with the corporate elites. This is done by the editors and reporters in order to progress their careers in the field of journalism. The propaganda model that leads to self-censorship operates on the fact that the most essential feature for media sources is the procuring of advertising revenue. Hence, for every corporation, there is a direct relationship between advertising revenue and the coverage done by them in their outlets. This is the reason Fox News hesitates in showing liberal content because their advertisers are not interested in that thought process. Their potential audience and advertiser pool get hampered, which ultimately also affects their financial prospects. Something like this happened when Advertisers like Walmart, Sony, McDonald’s, Allstate, Bank of America, General Electric, Microsoft, FedEx, Visa, ExxonMobil, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as government entities such as the United States Navy, sent a memo that their commercials never be placed on syndicated Air America programming (Klepka 164). If an organization provides information akin to a particular belief and considers no other opinion, then that information is biased.

American Media is also influenced by the CIA, which again infuses biasedness in the news provided to the public. In accordance with the 1977 Rolling Stone magazine article, “The CIA and the Media,” the CIA has influence over almost 25 wire agencies and newspapers (Strömbäck et al. 140). This results in Reports being formulated in collaboration with Reporters on the basis of intelligence provided by the CIA and the absence of opposing views. These reports then go on to be cited and used as information by recipient reporters, making the information provided by them also biased. “The CIA and the Media” revealed that the organizations influenced by the CIA were headed by people who were known for having liberal opinions but supported pro-American-big-business and anti-Soviet views. Therefore, in order to flourish their big businesses and nationalistic views, they intentionally showcase bias in the information provided to them. The report revealed Henry Luce (Time and Life), Jerry O’Leary (The Washington Star), Joseph Harrison (The Christian Science Monitor), William S. Paley (CBS), and Hal Hendrix (Miami News) to be under the influence of CIA (Strömbäck et al. 150). These networks boast coverage of almost the entire nation, which showcases the extent of bias prevalent in American society.

The manner in which the Media industry is organized in America also results in bias. The majority of media outlets in America are owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global, Comcast, Fox Corporation, and Disney (Bradshaw and Howard 20). Due to such absolute control, oftentimes, information critical of these corporations does not make it to the news, and information supportive of them is widely available. Government policies such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996 enabled these organizations to have a broader expansion. Due to their reach, these corporations practically control the information that flows in the country. It is impossible for any media content to reach a broad extent to the country. This makes content creators also support their views. This hierarchy of power maintains bias in the media.

There is an opinion that the Media is not biased and is just responding to the desire of the majority. The Media is just addressing the issues affecting the majority; therefore, it is not reporting about the areas that concern the minority, which cannot be equated with bias. Considering that the power of running the country is provided to people supported by the majority, therefore it is not biased if the media also serves the majority since the topics concerning the minority are not addressed. In today’s world of globalization, there is no element in the world that supports only one group. Aspects like migration, elections, movies, and literature cannot be viewed from a singular lens. Even in the government, constitutional policies ensure that the opinion of minorities is not suppressed. There is no structure as such present in media, which results in the stereotyping of minorities and their negative portrayal. This is clear bias, as their interest is rejected or wrongly portrayed, which is also harmful to them in their real life.

Media bias is a highly problematic issue as it affects all aspects of society. The news provided to the public is often done without adhering to ethical principles, which makes the information biased. The reason this bias manages to exist in the industry is because of the influence of the government and agencies like the CIA. The organization of the industry is such that only certain companies dominate the media industry, which further strengthens the bias in the industry. If the Media is under the influence of so many factors and not functioning independently, therefore, the Media is biased.

Works Cited

Baly, Ramy, et al. “Predicting factuality of reporting and bias of news media sources.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1810.01765 (2018).

 Bradshaw, Samantha, and Philip N. Howard. “The global disinformation order: 2019 global inventory of organised social media manipulation.” (2019).

Dietrich, Nick, and Kristine Eck. “Known unknowns: media bias in the reporting of political violence.” International Interactions 46.6 (2020): 1043-1060.

Hargittai, Eszter. “Potential biases in big data: Omitted voices on social media.” Social Science Computer Review 38.1 (2020): 10-24.

Klepka, Rafał. “Media Political Bias: In Search of Conceptualization.” Athenaeum Polskie Studia Politologiczne 64.4 (2019): 155-168.

Strömbäck, Jesper, et al. “News media trust and its impact on media use: Toward a framework for future research.” Annals of the International Communication Association 44.2 (2020): 139-156.

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