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Media Bias Lecture

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The advent of cable news has created a "news of ideology." This means that each of the major networks (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC) all present the news from a strong political standpoint. This lecture discusses what it means to be on the left and on the right--and the objectivity troubles journalists often face in this news climate.

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Media Bias Lecture

  1. 1. MEDIA BIAS What it Looks Like, Why it Matters
  2. 2. MEDIA BIAS: A WORKING DEFINITION <ul><li>The real or perceived limitation of the press to be objective in their newsgathering and reporting. </li></ul><ul><li>Media bias is also derogatively called “spin.” You may hear politicians say: “The media spun that story to make me look bad. That is not how it happened.” </li></ul>
  3. 3. WHAT CAUSES BIAS? <ul><li>A non-diverse newsroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure from advertisers & interest groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced funding due to lower ratings. </li></ul><ul><li>Government funding cuts. </li></ul><ul><li>Political affiliations that arise from the ideological positions of media owners and journalists. </li></ul><ul><li>A culture of sensationalism. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Fair.org </li></ul>
  4. 4. A “NON-DIVERSE” NEWSROOM Cause #1
  5. 5. NEWSROOM DIVERSITY: THE STATS <ul><li>The American Society of Newspaper Editors conducted a survey in 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Of the 932 newspapers that responded, nearly half (42%) had no minorities on their full-time staff. </li></ul><ul><li>This is an increase from 2006, when 377 daily newspapers had no full-time minority journalists. </li></ul>
  6. 6. NO REPRESENTATION = MISREPRESENTATION? <ul><li>Nearly 57,000 full-time journalists now work in daily newsrooms. </li></ul><ul><li>About 7,800 are people of color. </li></ul><ul><li>Watch this video. As a lone minority in the newsroom, would you have aired it? Is it news? Is it biased? </li></ul>
  7. 7. PRESSURE FROM ADVERTISERS Cause #2
  8. 8. PRESSURE FROM ADVERTISERS <ul><li>Media companies sell audiences to advertisers. Advertisers pay lots of $$. </li></ul><ul><li>If major companies pay big bucks for ads, they certainly do not like to read or see news reports that make their products or services look bad. </li></ul><ul><li>So, advertisers develop a disproportionate power over media companies. </li></ul><ul><li>Even “non-profit” news companies like PBS or NPR are given grants by major corporations. </li></ul>
  9. 9. THE TOP 10 MEDIA ADVERTISERS OF 2008 Source: Nielsen $730,503,931 Pepsico Inc. 10 $742,708,529 Ford Motor Co. 9 $807,869,688 General Electric Co. 8 $819,377,026 Toyota Motor Corp. 7 $878,355,332 Time Warner Inc. 6 $1,059,109,138 Johnson & Johnson 5 $1,125,700,512 Verizon 4 $1,317,893,377 AT&T Inc. 3 $1,441,747,399 General Motors Corp. 2 $2,342,319,397 Procter & Gamble Co. 1 Ad Dollars Spent Parent Company Rank
  10. 10. WHICH COMPANIES AVOIDED BAD PRESS...UNTIL RECENTLY? Source: Nielsen $730,503,931 Pepsico Inc. 10 $742,708,529 Ford Motor Co. 9 $807,869,688 General Electric Co. 8 $819,377,026 Toyota Motor Corp. 7 $878,355,332 Time Warner Inc. 6 $1,059,109,138 Johnson & Johnson 5 $1,125,700,512 Verizon 4 $1,317,893,377 AT&T Inc. 3 $1,441,747,399 General Motors Corp. 2 $2,342,319,397 Procter & Gamble Co. 1 Ad Dollars Spent Parent Company Rank
  11. 11. Did you hear: the gov’t tapS YOUR CELL? <ul><li>Probably not. </li></ul><ul><li>Verizon and AT&T are the main culprits. </li></ul><ul><li>Pres. Bush allowed them to do so for “national security,” then granted them immunity from lawsuits. </li></ul><ul><li>NSA official, Russell Tice blew the whistle. Watch the video. </li></ul>Q: What are the dangers of a government spying on its people, 24/7?
  12. 12. LOW RATINGS = REVENUE Cause #3
  13. 13. The ratINGS GAME <ul><li>Until 1963, nightly news lasted only 15 minutes. * </li></ul><ul><li>In June 1980, Ted Turner launched CNN. It was the first 24-hour news channel. </li></ul><ul><li>Suddenly, CNN had to report exciting news...even when there really wasn’t any. Other copycats sprung up and the competition for eyeballs began. </li></ul><ul><li>* Source: Does 24-hour news cycle overwhelm us with too much doom and gloom? </li></ul>
  14. 14. AUDIENCE WARS
  15. 15. GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS Cause #4
  16. 16. POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS Cause #5
  17. 17. A CULTURE OF SENSATIONALISM Cause #6

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