Media Bias Effect On Society

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Before media, politicians and other newsmakers had to rely on word of mouth to communicate the various messages they were espousing. However, they found this was an unreliable method of communication and the first newspapers and other media mediums were created. This comes at a drawback. As media companies grow larger and larger, they become more susceptible to bias. This has lead to a proliferation of bias across the many media companies in existence today. Media bias has a very large effect on society and most often in a negative way. There are four specific effects that will be discussed. These are, it undermines the public’s trust in the media, it leads to a decline in productive discussion, it can ruin the reputation of businesses or individuals…show more content…
Public trust in the media has been declining continuously over the past five years. In a Gallup study, it was reported that, “Americans' trust and confidence in the mass media "to report the news fully, accurately and fairly" has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media” (Swift). This type of mistrust is because of the bias in the new forms of media today. Bias may have been easier to keep in check when there were fewer news sources. However, with the ease of access to the internet and the rise of citizen journalists and fake news sites, the public is finding more and more stories they most see shared are false. In fact, according to an analysis done by Buzzfeed News, found that false news stories were actually getting more Facebook engagement by about 100 000 engagements than the real news stories (Silverman). While one may not see this is as an immediate problem, it can have far reaching consequences when considering the function of the media. One of the media’s roles is to inform citizens of items that concern them (McNair 19). However, once the public’s trust in the fourth estate falters, this function of the media is severely impeded. This can have a great impact on society as vital information that they may need in their daily lives becomes mistrusted and ultimately…show more content…
Society as a whole tend to watch the news outlets that most fit with their own beliefs. As shown by a Pew Research Center study in 2014, “When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals” (Mitchell et al). This is called selective exposure and involves the theory of cognitive dissonance, where people seek means to rationalize their beliefs by avoiding information that clashes with their existing views (Festinger). By having their beliefs continually confirmed by both their news sources and the people around them, their views will never be challenged, hence leading to a breakdown in productive discussion. Productive discussion is a hallmark of our society, both between citizens and the politicians they elect to lead them. Media bias affects productive discussion in two main ways. The first is that the bias creates a foundation of misrepresentations of the facts which ensures that the people cannot debate the facts as they are. One of the main functions of the news media is to set the agenda for society. In the words of Bernard Cohen, “media do not tell people what to think, but what to think about” (Cohen). When the media presents biased

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