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Blog 6: The ambiguity of media bias

We have already been arguing about bias in the media in class. But bringing a single answer to the question “Are the media biased?” seems to be still difficult. I would first say that bias can be found in the media. We studied some Media effects such as the Agenda Setting, the Priming or the Framing. And if we cannot affirm that those effects are always used on purpose by the media to influence the audience, we cannot ignore neither the fact that most of the time those effects are the results of biased positions and/or sources.

Nevertheless, as it is suggested in the article “Mapping Boundaries of the Hostile Media Effect” by Albert C. Gunther and Kathleen Schmitt, it is also important to consider the impact of the readers’/audience’s perception. Indeed, what is explain in the article is that partisans are more or less likely to consider a article as “biased” according to the source.

Finally, I think that it is also important to question the real definition of “bias” opposed to objectivity. In the article “Re-thinking media objectivity”, Brent Cunningham reports that a CJR intern:

“was told by the letters editor at The Tennessean that letters were running 70 percent against the war, but that the editors were trying to run as many prowar letters as possible lest they be accused of bias.” (B. Cunningham, “Re-thinking media objectivity”, Page 3)

Is objectivity reporting reliably opinions (even if there are more favorable opinions for a side than for another) or giving the same amount of favorable/defavorable opinion for each side. When exactly should we consider that a newspaper or a TV program is biased?

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