Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Political Bias in the Media

Taylor Evans

The 2008 election was a fierce race against two very different candidates. In the Democrat's corner, there was Obama. He was green in Congress but p
romised the change many Americans were looking for. His running mate, Joe Biden, was older and was very good at saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. The Republicans had McCain, a septuagenarian and former Democrat who although experienced, ran side-by-side with the unexperienced, but charismatic, Sarah Palin.

The country was torn. The media's job was to step up and help them make the decision. Is that even possible though? Does the media tip to one side, or do we have enough sides represented, just through different outlets?

If you ask people, we are at the hands of a liberal media, which is somewhat true. Only 7 percent of journalists consider themselves conservative, according to a survey done by Pew Research Center and The Press in 2004. Although there are only a few conservatives, they manage to get their voices heard in many media outlets.

Fox News is notorious for its conservative bias. Journalist Michael Massing wrote in his essay, 'Un-American,' "In the end, no institution devoted more energy to assailing Barack Obama than Fox News."

Commentators such as Glenn Beck, who will be leaving the channel , Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly encourage this bias in their choice of guest on their shows. Ann Coulter is famous for her controversial views on everything from 9/11 to liberals.

Ann Coulter

Sean Hannity has also had guests with unpopular views on his show. It is important to get many sides of the story, but sometimes giving screen time to someone who has extremely off-kilter beliefs can fuel the fires of hate. In 2009, he asked a man named Pastor John Manning to come on his show to talk about his theories on Obama being a potential Hitler. Rewarding Manning with a segment on a national show is wrong. He will probably feel more validated in his beliefs, making them stronger.

The conservative media should stop complaining about the liberal media and its bias. The conservative media is extremely vocal with its own biases. The media is not perfect. You will never be able to completely get rid of your own beliefs which will lead to these biases. Through editing and outside opinion, I think it is possible to monitor this and get more points of view in a story.

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