Media Bias on Women’s Issues

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Media Bias on Women’s Issues Detecting bias in news media is a challenge that every person who watches, reads, or listens to the news should accept. Subtle changes in the details of a story can change the entire focus of an event and affect all members of the audience. Applying the gender-based critique analysis process to the media coverage of the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C. provides an excellent exercise in identifying news bias. The article, “Muting the Women’s March: Media Lose Focus When Women Protest in Washington” by Julie Hollar provides the background for the following information. Source of the Bias The source of the bias that has been identified in the news reporting at the time is sexism based on political and cultural norms that have been in place since before women earned the right to vote in the United States. Women who appear in the news and hold any power, whether real or imaginary, are denigrated and portrayed as unpleasant and potentially man-hating (Schnall, 2014). To that end, the male dominated news outlets reported many slightly altered “facts” regarding the march including ignoring the actual message of the march, the number of attendees, and playing up the celebrity attendees to distract audience members from the real facts of the story (Hollar, 2004). These tactics simply reflect a narrative in a misogynistic society regarding women and their issues (O’Neill, 2014). The March for Women’s Lives was effectively locked out of mainstream media news in any volume. Characteristics That Show Bias Identifying characteristics that show examples of the bias by news media towards the women’s march begin with the simple count of the number of attendees at the event. The downplaying of the e... ... middle of paper ... ...ples of a similar event illustrate the gender-based critique concept of bias and show that women still face discrimination in the media on issues that are critical to their wellbeing. Works Cited Hollar, J. (2004). Muting the women’s march: Media lose focus when women protest in Washington. Retrieved from fair.org/extra-online-articles/muting-the-womens-march/ McQuail, D. (2010). McQuail’s mass communication theory (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishing, Inc. O’Neill, T. (2013). Sexist, racist attitudes entrenched in society erode women’s dignity, humanity and safety. Retrieved from now.org/issues/media/031413sexistracistculture.html Schnall, M. (2014). Controversial Hillary cover of TIME illuminates sexism in the media. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/mariann-schnall/controversial-hillary-cover-of-time-illuminates-sexism-in-the-media_b_4619691.html

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