bias

1296 Words6 Pages
Introduction This paper will cover the omnipresence of media biases and their implications in three news stories from various newspapers including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times through content-analysis and comparison. Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro in “Media Bias and Reputation”from the Journal of Political Economy argue that media biases, distort information to make it conform with consumers’ prior [political] beliefs in order to shape reports in whatever way will be most likely to improve the reputations of media outlets [thus increasing future profits by expanding the demand for their products] (Gentzkow & Shapiro, 2006, pg. 282). Additionally, in Four Information Biases That Matter W. Lance Bennett suggests that biases in the the news overwhelmingly plays to the human-interest angle and fragments the stories. The prevalence toward personalization and fragmentation biases engages readers through conformation to prior beliefs, such as using bias to affect readers’ political leanings and ultimately increases demand for their publication through likability and inquisition caused by unclear, fragmented stories. Analysis The first article by Ed O’Keffe (“After government shutdown, dozens of lawmakers gave to charity” taken from the February 26, 2014 issue of The Washington Post) exhibits a noticeable clouding of the “big picture” due to personalization and fragmentation biases. These biases implicate an increase in demand for newspapers. The article examines an investigation into the claim that 116 U.S. lawmakers, following the government shutdown, pledged to donate part of their federal salaries to appease voters. Personalization bias refers to the tendency to downplay the big social... ... middle of paper ... ...ith a decrease of objective journalism and an increase in the demand for news products. Moreover, the prevalence of personalization and fragmentation biases affects readers’ political leanings and ultimately increases demand for their publication through likability and inquisition caused by unclear, fragmented stories. Given my findings, the news media, in order to improve its quality of news reporting should not only work to reduce or remove biases, such as personalization and fragmentation, from their articles but to strive for objectivity as well. These goals can be accomplished through a more focused and succinct writing and interviewing process; a process used to avoid a cloudy, unfocused, or misleading news article. Though entirely objective journalism is quite unattainable, taking steps to remove biases may aid in improving the quality of news reporting.
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