2 Arts and Media: Media Bias Objectives:To understand what the terms ‘media’ and ‘bias’ meanTo discuss the role of the media within a democracyTo learn how to spot bias in the newsTo consider how media bias is linked to politicsTo consider the ‘rights and wrongs’ of media bias
3 News is a matter of perspective What do YOU see?
4 News is a matter of perspective What do YOU see?
5 News is a matter of perspective What do YOU see?
6 News is a matter of perspective What do YOU see?
7 But how do you know that what you are seeing, reading or hearing is the truth?
8 Media“Ways of transmission.” It is the Latin plural of medium. When we put the word mass in front of media, we mean ways of transmission to very large audiences in the tens of millions and beyond. The world of media is made up of pictures, words, and sounds.There are now more types of media than ever. More recently, mobile phone users and bloggers are also making a contribution to the news. What effect do you think this is having on the news we are receiving?
9 However, it’s important to remember that not all bias is deliberate. Bias is a one-sided view, which a person may have because of some reason or motivation to see things in a certain way. At one time or other we all complain about "bias in the media." The fact is, despite the journalistic ideal of "objectivity,“ (without bias or prejudice) every news story is influenced by the attitudes and background of its interviewers, writers, photographers and editors.For example, if two people had a fight in the schoolyard, each one would report the incident according to his/her point of view. Other people who saw the fight might also have a certain bias or point of view when they tell the story, depending on the experience they brought to the fight, and their feelings about the people involved in the fight.However, it’s important to remember that not all bias is deliberate.
10 Media Bias and democracy A democracy is a form of government in which supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free elections (it’s what we have in this country).Democracy has come to imply universal suffrage, competition for office, freedom of speech and the press, and the rule of law. This obviously give the media lots of independence and choice.
11 Spend 5 minutes discussing these questions with a partner Spend 5 minutes discussing these questions with a partner. You should make some notes on your key ideas, so that you can share them with the class.Why is it important to have a free press in a democracy?Why is it important for citizens in a democracy to be able to detect media bias?Why is it important to see an issue from multiple perspectives?
12 Types of Media Bias Strategies for Influencing Omitting to include infoe.g. stats which supportthe opposing side ofthe argument.Strategies for Influencingthe Thought of the ReaderThink about all the aspects of the media – not just words!
13 How to Detect Bias in the News 1. Bias through selection and omissionAn editor can express a bias by choosing to use or not to use a specific news item.Within a given story, some details can be ignored, and others included, to give readers or viewers a different opinion about the events reported. If, during a speech, a few people boo, the reaction can be described as "remarks greeted by jeers" or they can be ignored as "a handful of dissidents."Bias through omission is difficult to detect. Only by comparing news reports from a wide variety of outlets can the form of bias be observed.2. Bias through placementReaders of papers judge first page stories to be more significant than those buried in the back. Television and radio newscasts run the most important stories first and leave the less significant for later. Where a story is placed, therefore, influences what a reader or viewer thinks about its importance.
14 How to Detect Bias in the News 3. Bias by headlineMany people read only the headlines of a news item. Most people scan nearly all the headlines in a newspaper. Headlines are the most-read part of a paper. They can summarize as well as present carefully hidden bias and prejudices. They can convey excitement where little exists. They can express approval or condemnation.4. Bias by photos, captions and camera anglesSome pictures flatter a person, others make the person look unpleasant. A paper can choose photos to influence opinion about, for example, a candidate for election. On television, the choice of which visual images to display is extremely important. The captions newspapers run below photos are also potential sources of bias.
15 Which picture is positive and which is negative? Photo BiasWhich picture is positive and which is negative?NB: Camera angles and sound can also influence how something is interpreted.
16 How to Detect Bias in the News 5. Bias through use of names and titlesNews media often use labels and titles to describe people, places, and events. A person can be called an "ex-con" or be referred to as someone who "served time twenty years ago for a minor offense." Whether a person is described as a "terrorist" or a "freedom fighter" is a clear indication of editorial bias.6. Bias through statistics and crowd counts To make a disaster seem more spectacular (and therefore worthy of reading about), numbers can be inflated. "A hundred injured in air crash" can be the same as "only minor injuries in air crash," reflecting the opinion of the person doing the counting.
17 How to Detect Bias in the News 7. Bias by source control To detect bias, always consider where the news item "comes from." Is the information supplied by a reporter, an eyewitness, police or fire officials, executives, or elected or appointed government officials? Each may have a particular bias that is introduced into the story.8. Word choice and tone Showing the same kind of bias that appears in headlines, the use of positive or negative words or words with a particular connotation can strongly influence the reader or viewer.
18 Some forms of media support particular political parties Some forms of media support particular political parties. If they support labour or liberal ideals, they are described as ‘left wing’ and if they support conservative policies, they are described as ‘right wing’.Read sources B, C and D on pages 43, 44 and 45 of the text book.Discuss the following points:1. What kind of policies would be characteristically seen as left or right wing?2. Is it the responsibility of the press to be opposed to authority?3. Do the BBC (a public service broadcaster) and independent broadcasting companies (such as Sky) have different roles? (Think about who pays for them!) Should the BBC be objective? Should we pay for the BBC through advertising or pay per view? What would be the benefits?
19 Plenary: Think about…is it right for… …photographers to stake out a politician when they are on holiday with their family?…a journalist to speculate about what the politician and his/her family might be doing or thinking?…a newspaper to present as news what is really subjective?…a picture editor to print a photomontage which ridiculed public figures?Homework:Researching the topic by looking through the newspapers available in the library, and then write a list of newspapers and whether they support more right wing or left wing politics, or whether they are more central. When you have done this, write a paragraph explaining why it may be a problem that some newspapers support one political party. Due next lesson.