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Media Bias

Here is a short, excellent video featuring Noam Chomsky that questions the idea of a “liberal media” and instead uses evidence to show that media outlets may truly have a more conservative bias due to the companies that run them.

There is a bumper sticker I have seen that I particularly enjoy: “Media outlets are only as biased as the big, conservative companies that own them”. Clearly the issue is not as black-and-white as the sticker suggests, but it does force the reader to consider the idea in a less-common light. I believe that, while all media outlets are certainly biased, the difference in bias is not as monumental as people like to claim. When the Bush administration was calling for war in Iraq, there was clearly opposition to the idea. But the majority of big media outlets (Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and the like) primarily promoted pro-war coverage. The networks all broadcasted the now-defunct “terror alert” system, blindly reported Bush’s WMD theory without investigation, and often neglected to question his assertions about war in the Middle East for fear of seeming “weak” or “un-American” in the wake of 9/11. And while many Americans did have oppositions about going to war, the majority of media outlets, both social democrat and conservative, gave the impression that most Americans wanted to go to war.

Media outlets are funded by big businesses, and I believe they all act firstly and foremost not in the interest of reporting news, but in the interest of the companies that keep them funded. While some media outlets may supposedly more left or right, they are all being driven by profit.

The wonderful thing about new technology is that a person can now choose where he or she gets information, and I feel as if whether the media has a “bias” is becoming less of an issue in the liberal/conservative sense. People now visit websites that are already tuned to their political beliefs and can avoid all other sites if they wish. If a conservative is worried about being fed “liberal propaganda”, then she can just go to Fox News and never have to encounter those horrid “liberal” broadcasts. People need to stop clutching their pearls and gasping at the supposed conservative/liberal bias of the media, because opposing viewpoints can easily be avoided. If you don’t want to listen to what the other side has to say, you don’t really have to anymore. What people need to start questioning, instead, is the motivating factors behind the companies they get their news from, and even taking their most beloved sources of news with a grain of salt.

  1. February 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    But is avoiding opposing viewpoints good for democracy or for citizens?

    Does being able to avoid opposing viewpoints “solve” the problem of media bias?

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