Practical Application: Evaluating the Impact of Media Bias

Instructor: Mary Matthiesen-Jones

Mary has worked around the world for over 30 years in international business, advertising, and market research. She has a Master's degree in International Management and has taught University undergraduate and graduate level courses .

Everyone has opinions about stories in the news and there are always different interpretations of events. In this practical application you can apply what you know about media bias to identify the different ways information is presented to support one view or another.

Types of Media Bias

Look at any major news story today and you will likely see multiple interpretations of what seem to be even the most basic facts. As citizens it is important that we can identify types of bias that occur and how it skews the meaning of a story.

In the lesson Media Bias & Criticism: Definition, Types & Examples you compared the six types of media bias that commonly appear in the coverage of events.

Type of Bias Description
Omission Leaving out one side/part of a story
Selection of Sources Leaving out sources supporting an opposite view
Story Selection Pattern of running stories to support an agenda
Placement Whether a story get prominent placement or is ''buried'' based on an agenda
Labeling Use of critical labels to identify people or fails to identify bias
Spin Giving only one interpretation of a story

A Story with Different Possible Interpretations

To see how the same information can be presented in different ways, let's look at a fictional news story related to the ''Brexit'' vote in England and how two different views of immigration could create bias in how a story is presented to readers. As you read the two versions, consider how they might persuade people to vote ''Leave'' or to vote ''Stay'' in the national referendum.

Version 1 - On the front page of the local paper, Roman Road Weekly, the story is titled ''Immigrants are to Blame!''

The town of Roman-Crossing-on-Thames reports a growing crime wave in the last decade. According to the leader of the ''Brits-for-Britain'' party, a large increase in the number of immigrants is the reason. He cites the stories told to him by locals about an increase in foreigners in town, especially Roma or Gypsies, whose presence, he states, always leads to increases in theft. In a recent rally in the town he declared that the only solution is a total immigration ban and exiting the European Union.

Version 2 - In the local news section of a national paper, the English News the story has the headline ''The Immigration Debate''

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