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Media Bias Analysis

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The infamous David Brinkley once said, “News is what I say it is.” At our current day in age, news is what journalists say it is, and Brinkley was brave enough to dispel that. The media define what “is” news, and simultaneously, what is not news. Indeed, there is immense bias in the media—that is indisputable. But how exactly does the journalistic professionalism affect the information we get through news channels? Many feel that journalistic and media bias enters because of personal viewpoints and politics, yet these are not the sole reasons—in fact there are several reasons, all of which can be applied to foreign coverage, for example: the negative light on Africa (as a continent). In “The White Correspondent’s Burden” by Jina Moore, the continent as a whole is broadcasted as one unchanging continent of endless suffering. With the light on Africa, and the unvarying perspective media shines on it, the spiral of silence, framing, Agenda Setting, Gatekeeping Theory, and Uses and Gratifications Theory, all become very apparent and point to reasons that account for the stories’ bias.
Firstly, the “Spiral of Silence” theory (and article by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann) asserts that public opinion always claims to be authoritative and by voicing the opposite opinion you are thereby putting oneself in risk of isolation—and realistically, who wants that? Public opinion can be described as the dominating opinion, and is what requires a journalist to write something that the public not only is interested in reading, but agrees with. It is also inferable that the mass media have an influence on public opinion. With this being said, the media affect the way we perceive Africa as they only report negative news and highlight the violence, ...

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... prejudice, bias, and in a general manner that imposes their views onto an audience. Yet, it is an entirely different story when stories are written in a specific manner for other reasons than to impose individual politics. The reasons mentioned throughout this paper are just some of the many ways in why a journalist might account for the story’s bias, and why news organizations thrive and depend upon such methods. Also, one of the most important key concepts to keep in mind when discussing bias in the media is that much has changed with new technologies. Just for example, budgets have been more restricting, consumer expectations have changed, and the audience expects stories to be shorter and more visual. With this being said, there are not always internal pressures, but there are physical and external restrictions and limitations that encourage bias as well.
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