There was a time when one could always rely on the various types of media for accurate information. But in recent times, the media has gained for itself a reputation, for sensationalizing certain events or news pieces, where emphasis is drawn on unnecessary details. The various forms of mass media are known to influence the minds of the audience to a large extent.
Does this mean the media controls the world at large? What about our reliability on journalists and organizations worldwide? Journalism is a powerful tool when it comes to influencing the minds of people, but are we ready to have them give us only half the truth, or none at all? Let's take a deeper look into the types and reasons of media bias.
Types of Media Bias
This sort of bias has been witnessed by us innumerable times, where certain nations either highlight the prominent religion of the state or country, or speak ill of the religion that governs the same. While many countries would see this as illegal, others aren't respectful when it comes to how they portray religion to the audience.
Some media houses deliberately leave out information, that they see as unfit for the audience to get their hands on, often blurring the line between the good and bad side of ethics. Newspapers, television news channels, and the like, will snip information that is exceedingly explanatory (but important), choosing to go with what can be conveyed in a nutshell.
The media is always looking to please someone, and in this case, it may be a major corporation that they heavily rely on for funds or exposure to audiences, to gain popularity amongst the rest.
When certain media houses give an audience the impression, that bigger not-so-common events are rather common, they befuddle the minds of people into thinking that everyday accidents and events, don't hold any sort of importance. In other words, they highlight rare instances and make them sound like a big deal, when small (but significant) events are kept in obscurity.
Like corporate bias, advertising conglomerates have to be kept pleased by media houses, since a large part of funding comes from them. The same goes with political parties who have a stronghold on the media, where the reins are in their grip, with zero freedom to exercise expression and honesty.
This is when a media house takes the decision to withhold a story from the people, deciding to release the information at a later date, or never at all. This sort of bias is quite common, where a debate of how to release (if they do, that is) the story is first decided, possibly clipped down to size, and finally produced to the unsuspecting audience.
Causes of Media Bias
- Media bias can happen due to various reasons. It occurs when journalists (or people) connected with the reporting of a particular event, have a prejudiced opinion about certain things, which ultimately results in a distorted version of the story.
- Sometimes, there are certain media that may show a political bias towards certain news events. This happens when the publication or channel is in favor of a particular political party or a candidate.
- A journalist may also be biased towards a particular incident and may add his/her personal opinion to the news report. This kind of media bias is purely based on the journalist's own opinion which is not considered to be purely ethical, to begin with.
- Certain stories are showcased in the media depending on what pleases corporate giants; money and popularity being the deciding factor.
- Racial and religious bias can happen when the journalist or news reporter, gives a report in favor of a particular religion/race.
- Public Relations firms know how to control media houses, influencing their decisions on what to release to the public. They have years of practiced research to back their beliefs, since public opinion (and reactions) are heavily studied beforehand by PR experts.