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Democracy dissent and bias in news media


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How to create a healthy culture of dissent and be a discerning consumer of news.

Published in: News & Politics
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Democracy dissent and bias in news media

  1. 1. Democracy Dissent and Bias in News Media Creating a healthy culture of dissent August 2014
  2. 2. Agenda • Dissent and Democracy • Bias and Propaganda • Bias can be through • Critical Thinking Questions
  3. 3. “Dissent: a simple definition” “The collective will of the people, who resist something wrong through protest, and social activism to improve society.”
  4. 4. Democracy & Dissent • For democracy to work it needs – Informed citizens – Alternate sources of information – Way to validate against other sources – Be able to separate fact from fiction, news from opinion, education from entertainment – How to decide?
  5. 5. Is This What Our Country Has Become?
  6. 6. Military Industrial Complex & US Economy • Marriage between military, government corporations, and the media – Helps to maintain huge military budget to address real or imagined threats and maintain Western global hegemony, corporate profits and US jobs.
  7. 7. Media Control & the Big6
  8. 8. The challenge of media • Most media outlets are for-profit organizations, they are not neutral. • Sharing news is not a community service, it is a business. • To bring readers, viewers, listeners, they have to be selective, attractive, distractive and present them selves as objective. • Some facts + opinion + sensationalism= news
  9. 9. What is Bias? • Bias is a one sided viewpoint for or against something or someone based on race, religion, social class, or political party without a consideration for other points of view
  10. 10. What is Propaganda? • Is a way to communicate information to influence the way people think and act towards a cause and in its most extreme form can be used to exploit them for ideological purposes.
  11. 11. Bias or Propaganda? • In Western media, outright propaganda is less common than in closed, dictatorial societies. • Bias creeps in, many times intentionally, other times not. • News stories are affected by history, geo- politics, and point of view of the reporter, photographer, editor, managing director, and ultimately the owner of the organization.
  12. 12. How to Detect Bias in the News?
  13. 13. Bias can be through – Omission: leaving stuff out – Placement: presented prominently or hidden – Images: Camera angle, color, sound – Name-calling: Attacking person instead of issue – Stereotyping: Making generalized statement about group with limited information – Circular Argument: Stating conclusion as part of proof of an argument
  14. 14. One story: 2 Sides
  15. 15. Bias can be through – Black & White thinking: “You’re with us or against us” – Repetition: Persuade by repeating messages and images over again – Authority or Testimonial: Using a person to give credibility or endorse an idea – Emotional appeal: Using emotions eg fear, patriotism, to persuade instead of logic and reasoning – Word Choice: Conveys the Tone: Angry, proud: eg Eg “War in Iraq” vs “War on Iraq”
  16. 16. Word Choice
  17. 17. Bias can be through – Statistics: Persuading through numbers – Red Herring: Distract with irrelevant argument: eg “We’re the worlds largest democracy” – Bandwagon: Persuades to think, buy, act as everyone else is doing it. – Source Control: Where does news come from and who is providing the news: You cannot always trust information from all sources. – Journalists and/or News organizations Attitudes & Beliefs
  18. 18. Bias through headlines
  19. 19. Dissent
  20. 20. Dissent
  21. 21. Critical Reading of News • Read alternate perspectives • Use multiple sources • Identify viewpoints in news stories • Check news for accuracy • Reconstruct stories as you read them from multiple perspectives • Identify agenda and purpose of writer • Notice facts covered and facts ignored • Find what is being left out
  22. 22. Critical thinking questions • Who created/paid for the message? • For what purpose was it made? • Who is the ‘target audience’? • What techniques are used to attract my attention & increase believability ? • Who or what might be omitted and why? • What do they want me to think or do? • How do I know what it means?
  23. 23. Critical thinking questions • Where might I go to get more information? • Why is this message being sent? • Who stands to benefit from the message? • Who or what might be omitted and why? • How might different people interpret the message differently from me? • What can I do with the information I obtain from the message? • What do you know; not know; like to know?
  24. 24. Critical thinking questions • Who produced and/or paid for the message? • What is the purpose of the message? • Who is the ‘target audience’ ? • What techniques are used to both attract attention and increase believability? • What lifestyles are promoted and why? • Does the message contain bias or stereotypes?
  25. 25. References • Bias and Propaganda (presentation, no attribution) • Bias in the News (presentation, no attribution) • Wiki • Google Images