The Impact of Information on Us and Media Bias

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Updated: Dec 17, 2022
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2022/12/17
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The Impact of Information on Us and Media Bias essay

To be educated, productive members of society, we rely heavily on the media and news to get our information in today’s age. One of the media’s main functions is to inform its audience, and the source a person chooses to get that information from is exceedingly influential. The atmosphere of media today is constantly accused of being more polarized than ever before. With the constant accusations of ‘fake’ and biased news, it can be difficult to decide where to obtain authentic, neutral material. This is especially prevalent today as the internet market is rapidly expanding, and now using social media for news. For example, in 2016, studies showed ‘44% of U.S. adults get news on Facebook’ (Graber & Dunaway, 104). It’s safe to say the media does, in fact, benefit us by keeping us up to date on current events at an unprecedented rate. However, with the expanding market and the power to choose any news source we want, how can we be sure we aren’t consuming biased information?

As the media has a substantial role in distributing news about the government and its officials, it’s not surprising that we believe it to be politically influenced by different political parties. Partisan audiences can choose the channels that affiliate with their respective views and ideals. When it comes to categorizing biased news, the main three groups are left-wing, right-wing, and neutral media. To decide how influential each group is on their own political agenda, we have to ask how they’re portraying their stories differently from one another, as well as who they endorse, and who they do not. In this essay, I will analyze multiple articles from several news sources that are to be on opposing political sides, as well as sources that are to be neutral to determine why they are considered biased or unbiased.

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The first articles to analyze are about the pipe bombs sent anonymously through the mail to several major Democrats two weeks before the midterm elections of 2018. These bombs were sent to major left-wing news station CNN, as well as Barak Obama, Hilary Clinton, and even prominent celebrities such as Robert De Niro. Luckily, none of the bombs detonated so nobody was hurt. The attack clearly had a political agenda, and eyes were on Republican leadership to see what they would do to counter these terroristic attacks. How did this affect the way partisan media stations covered the news?

An article by The Associated Press is one of the least bias to be issued. It tells us about the locations each bomb was sent, and to whom they were targeting. There are statements made about Trump’s harsh criticism of these Democrats, as well as his vendetta against CNN for being ‘fake news’. The article goes on to explain the bombs in detail, and how each was intercepted or found. Included are also statements from the targeted individuals that entail their opinions of how they believe these attacks stem from the White House speaks against their opponents, but those statements are not expanded on by The Associated Press itself. For example, a quote from CNN Worldwide presidents stating ” The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that” (AP News, para.30). This quote doesn’t seem to be included to create bias, rather just to show reactions from the targeted victims. In all, the article sheds little bias and just shares the facts.

On the other hand, Fox News published an article that shed a different light on the topic. The article gives a detailed, chronological outline of the events that happened at CNN when and after the bomb was found, and discusses the bombs sent to other Democrats as well. There are no quotes in the article from targeted victims, and there are no statements that influence the reader to believe that the bombings had anything to do with republican hostility towards Democrats in the media. Instead, the article mainly quotes tweets from leadership in the White House condemning the acts, and promising justice shall be served.

The last article to be analyzed was published by Huffington Post on the same day of the bombings, and it illustrated some distinctive inputs on the events. The beginning of the article leads with a tone that is clear that these attacks rely heavily on the actions of President Donald Trump. Several times it is stated about the victims that ‘All of them have been Trump’s very public enemies’ (. ‘All The Targets In This Week’s Mail Attacks Have Been Trump’s Worst

Enemies’, para.8). The facts about the event that are highlighted are the targets, and how they relate to being enemies of Trump. The basis of the essay relies heavily on quotes and previous occurrences between the adversaries, while the actual pipe bombing event seems to get slightly lost in the criticism.

When comparing these three articles, there are several similarities. All articles do give some factual information about the events. They include who the targets were, where the bombs were sent, and how they were intercepted. All articles do talk about a political aspect of the situation as well.

Other than the few small similarities, these articles are profoundly different. Huffington Post’s article is visibly putting full blame on President Trump. ‘Trump has repeatedly called his followers to violence against the people and organizations that were victimized this week,’ the article states (. ‘All The Targets In This Week’s Mail Attacks Have Been Trump’s Worst

Enemies.’, para.2). Even without knowing the motive or the culprit, they’ve already placed blame on the actions of the president. On the other hand, the article written by Fox News completely lacks discussion of Trump’s effect on the situation. Instead of acknowledging the influence the President has on the media, they only focus on his reactions to the events. The article reads, ‘Trump said late Wednesday afternoon that the ‘safety of the American people is [his] highest and absolute priority’ and that a major investigation is being conducted into the ‘despicable acts.” (Fox News, para.18). This quote from Trump is not included in the Huffington Post article, and the article from Fox news includes no statements that allow us to correlate Trump’s actions to these attempted bombings. Instead, Fox depicts him in the sense of a hero, who is going to make sure he makes the perpetrator pay for their actions. The article written by The Associated Press stays quite neutral and gives much more detail about the actual bombs, as well as the victims and their statements. The journalist’s stuck to the facts and left opinions out of their article.

The next story I analyzed took place after the shootings at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. President Donald Trump was planning to attend the same day as the first funerals for the victims, and there were very mixed emotions about the visit. The president visited the make-shift memorial for the victims, as well as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to meet with law enforcement and the medical staff there (NPR, para.2,6). With the public and government officials having mixed opinions, we can analyze whether that translated to the media as well.

An article released by NPR seems to cover the event in a neutral tone. It begins by talking of the president and his family’s arrival to Pittsburgh, and the events they took place in there such as visiting the memorial and the hospital to pay homage to those involved in the attack. The neutrality of the article comes from the fact that it speaks on the side of facts, mentioning that many government officials did not agree with the president’s visit until after the funerals. His defiance also raised comments such as, ‘The president’s critics wonder how he can ‘express his support for the American people and grieve with the Pittsburgh community,’ as the White House said he intends to do, while continuing to use divisive rhetoric toward those he considers political foes’ (NPR, para.13). On the other hand, the article does mention there were those who commended the president’s reactions. Although there is talk of Trump not being wanted in the city at that time, and the protests that surrounded that ideal, the article shows he was there to pay his respects and didn’t paint him in a horrible light.

The Washington Times published an article regarding the events that took quite a different perspective. The article leads right off by stating, ‘a coalition of liberal groups sought to gain partisan advantage by blaming the president for the tragedy and urging the public to ‘vote against anti-Semitism” (Washington Times, para.1). This sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The same events are covered in this article like the others, with the addition of a meeting with a victim’s widowed wife who wanted to meet with the president to let him know people wanted him there according to Sarah Sanders (Washington Times, para 6). There’s mention of the president’s reactions to the trip, showing he was touched and saddened by the events. The Times does not mention the political figures opposed to his visit, they only note their declined invitations to attend. The article paints a picture that the president took time out of his chaotic schedule to make the trip, and discredit’s protestors agenda to vote against antisemitism by mentioning the shooter was an antagonist of the president (Washington Times, para.22). Overall, this article does give a lot of facts, but it also leaves out key details of the protests.

The last article to examine was issued by Huffington Post. This article leads with a picture of Tracy Baton, Pittsburgh’s director of the Women’s March on Washington speaking to a crowd of protestors saying, ” Those that would limit our neighbors’ vote, that would foment hate against the Jewish community, Muslim community, people of color, LGBTQ people, as well as wage a war on women’s bodies, are not welcome here!” (‘Trump’s Visit To Pittsburgh – A City That Didn’t Want Him.’, para.3) Again this leads the tone for the whole article. She’s obviously referring to Trump’s visit. HuffPost refers to the visit as ‘three-hour photo-op in a grieving city where most of the residents, it seemed, had never wanted him to come at all’ (‘Trump’s Visit To Pittsburgh – A City That Didn’t Want Him.’, para.4). There’s mention of the mayor’s advice to the president to not attend, and mentioned the rabbi, Jeffrey Myers as ‘one of the only people who had agreed to meet the president’ (‘Trump’s Visit To Pittsburgh – A City That Didn’t Want Him.’, para.7). The article mostly focuses on the protests and the anger towards Trump’s visit, and the rise in demand to fight white supremacy. The main idea in this article is the president was not wanted in the city at that time, and that he is to blame for these hateful acts.

In regard to the similarities of these articles, there aren’t many. They do all talk about the places Trump visited during his trip to Pittsburgh, and they also mention the meeting between the Trump and rabbi Jeffrey Myers. Each article at least briefly discussed the protests over the visit and mentions the accusations of antisemitism and how they should affect the people’s votes on election day.

On the other hand, it’s clear these pieces are all drastically different. The story written by NPR was very unbiased; it stated the facts and even left out bias when discussing the protests. They mention both parties concerns without making opinionated statements on them. This cannot be said for either of the other two articles. The post by Washington Times does try to mention the protests led by opponents of the president. However, they counter each statement by painting the president as a good man who took time out of this busy schedule because he cares deeply for the Jewish community. They even try to discredit the opposition by accusing them of using these tragedies to ruin his campaign. The Washington Times article is immensely different from the Huffington Post article. HuffPost is relentless on their stance that the events are effects of the president’s actions toward the formation of hate and white supremacy. Their use of words and tone is consistently defiant of Donald Trump and takes away from the facts and the story to push their anti-Trump agenda.

After analyzing all of these articles, it’s clear to me that there is a great prevalence of bias in the media. Through my research, I did find articles from left-wing news stations that highly resembled right-wing news stations articles. However, as I kept diving deeper into analyzing news stations that aren’t always considered to be the most reliable, that’s when I found the remarkably biased articles. There are some outlets that push their agenda more than others, such as Washington Times, Fox News, Huffington Post, and CNN. This is a huge problem with the expansion of choice because a person may stumble upon an article from an agenda-pushing news outlet without realizing it and could miss out on important facts. I believe that journalists do have a great amount of information when writing a story, but they only share the essential data that helps support their opinion.

In closing, the research done in this paper shows that there are reputable forms of information that can be trusted, and there are also outlets that you can’t. Biased media can skew the ideals and beliefs of the audience, and that’s not always a great thing. In a time where bias in the media is talked about so often, especially in politics, it’s important to be educated on what sources will give us the most accurate and honest information. Being a productive member of society not only requires being knowledgeable but should also emphasize that knowledge being accurate and unbiased before forming your opinions.

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The Impact of Information on Us and Media Bias. (2022, Dec 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-impact-of-information-on-us-and-media-bias/