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Media Bias and the Information Revolution

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  • Media Bias and the Information Revolution

    Interesting points to ponder in the following article.

    Thoughts opinions,... discuss.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    A new Pew study concluded, as we approach the midterm elections, that most partisans remain sharply divided in their attitudes about the news media. While most Americans expect news to be accurate, most also say news organizations cover up mistakes, take sides. This study brings to light an age-old paradox as to the perception of biased media coverage. The paradox is perplexing and was validated in countless studies: most conservatives feel that the news media has a liberal bias and most liberals feel exactly the opposite, that news media coverage is tilting towards conservatism.

    There are several factors that influence the discussion about media bias:

    The first comes from the realm of psychology. Humans tend to reject information that contradicts their basic beliefs. People do not turn to mass media to routinely shape new opinions. On the contrary, most people turn to mass media to reinforce their pre-existing convictions. Psychologists refer to it as cognitive dissonance: evidence that clashes with our pre-existing beliefs is usually rejected by us. Two individuals can be exposed to the very same message or argument, yet each would draw an entirely different conclusion. Humans process information through a highly personal and uniquely individual filter.

    Second, is the question of media influence. Scientists are still trying to figure out the question of how and where media effect happens. While there are several significantly different views on the subject, most researchers would agree on one thing: media influence is not linear.

    The very exposure to a message, fact, evidence, or opinion is insufficient to bring about a full conversion of opinion. Studies conducted as early as the 1940s indicated that voters who consumed the most media had generally already decided for which candidate to vote. As a public diplomacy practitioner, who dealt with media for much of his career, I tend to agree with the proponents of the agenda-setting theory: the main media effect is its ability to set the agenda. Per this theory, the media cannot dictate what to think but rather about what to think.

    Third, is the self-designed news feed which is the true game-changing development in the field of news media. Even the agenda-setting theory, arguably the most-valid media effect theory out there, is being challenged by the new media experience. Our self-designed news feed guarantees one thing: humans digitally congregate with other like-minded media consumers. Thus, the news media generates a never-ending set of circular niche conversations attended by very similar information consumers. Ultimately, we are all preaching to our own choirs.

    Fourth, is the massive proliferation and decentralization of news media outlets. As traditional main stream media is losing its grip on the monopoly to set the publics agenda, new outlets are emerging. They are more specific, at times esoteric, and their attraction is not based on quantitative measures (ratings, for example) but rather on qualitative metrics (that measure the quality of engagement as well as its intensity, frequency, etc.)

    Whether we like it or not, the perception of media coverage will continue to be determined by the complexity of our mental world. Humans will continue to seek consistency in their mental world, regardless of the quality, intensity, or frequency of the message they have been exposed to. The old saying referring to people who do not wish to be confused with facts is more accurate than ever.



    https://www.newsmax.com/idoaharoni/m.../02/id/884413/

  • #2
    That's a good point -we seek sources that confirm our own bias. When I'm reading a news story from either biased viewpoint (my own or the opposition), I try to keep in mind the "tricks" commonly used by media sources. Better sources will state almost all relevant facts, but very few (or none) cover all the facts with equal attention to detail. Those facts that contradict their bias will be minimized or (in poor sources) left out altogether. What sets off alarm bells for me is a news source that claims it is unbiased. A claim to provide "all the day's news" might be a reasonable pitch on a national level, but "unbiased"? That's like an car manufacturer claiming to make the "world's best automobile"; it's advertising that nobody takes very seriously.

    As for news outlets, they can be vetted as always, despite the internet. The title of a news source can be legally protected, it's reporters (and their professional credentials) are still protected from and subject to defamation and plagarism laws. The problem can be in numbers, but that can be whittled down by the reader over time. Those who need decent summaries without wading thru a lot of garbage should find two to four decent sources, at least one of them with a bias contrary to their own. Those who have the time or desire to use more than a few sources should be happy with the internet adding to the mix. There might be some people who will reject all "mainstream" sources in some attempt to set an independent agenda, but they are still looking with a bias -what they expect to be important news, what they reject as "made up" news or stories that are assigned an inflated importance. The protection against "another's agenda" is to skim articles and drop them as soon as one determines their lack of worth. One example would be an article that dives into celebrity opinions on an issue, even if the title doesn't make that clear. If people remember that author's name, they can save time by skipping past that person's work in the future. Entire sites can get that treatment if needed.

    ?


    • #3
      As we've discussed previously, there is a bias in all "news" sources and the bias depends on which source you consume. Even formerly "straight" sources like NPR and Reuters (well, NPR drifted left quite a while ago) can no longer be counted on to give us "just the facts." I also recall several years back we affirmed "cat climbs a tree" might be news but it doesn't sell as well as "cat claws a child" sells.

      I think what that article and the PEW research really shows, however, is Americans by and large have abandoned (not lost, but willfully turned their backs on) the willingness to think critically. In our video-game haste to get it all in 30 seconds or less, we settle for just one or two sources (usually just one) and those sources are typically delivered right to our smart phones with their headlines. We seldom look past the headlines, and even if we do, we go to that one source instead of looking at other sources or even varied sources.

      IF all we look at for our "news" is Fox or MSNBC ... if our "research" into a given headline takes us to the same sources every time, but those sources are all Newsmax or CNS ... or CNN and MSNBC, we are not thinking critically and, like radcentr and that article point out, we're not really challenging our own bias. Redrover does this all the time: Takes one source (from his little gaggle of similar sites) and promotes it as support for his own hatred.

      That is not critical thinking by any stretch of any reasonable definition, but I have to confess, sometimes I also find it is easier to just take Fox's word for it than search other sites.

      ?


      • #4
        It's fair to expect I'll come up short in a political discussion, if I only checked one source without bothering to check the opposition. Rightly so.

        Another point that needs to be made on this subject: Lots of people don't want to engage in political discussion -it's in the same category as religion. That phrase, "...Don't discuss religion or politics". That might be one of two major reasons why there is so little decent argumentation on the subject (along with David's point on lacking patience). Just because it's "argumentation", doesn't mean we're arguing out of a lack of respect. What's the meaning of the rule, "Don't discuss politics or religion..."? The full phrase (IMO) is, "Don't discuss politics and religion until everyone involved knows each other, and measure their comments." Even for those who don't like to debate topics, I'd like them to study political issues on their own, to make informed decisions.

        ?


        • #5
          Very good and interesting points you both make.

          Hard for me (you too probably) to imagine, but there are a lot of people who are just completely ignorant of most things "political," and have zero interest in any of the subject.

          That changes quickly of course when things politicians do affect them...

          Then they're suddenly interested LOL

          .... maybe that's how it happens to us all

          ?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Captain Trips View Post
            Very good and interesting points you both make.

            Hard for me (you too probably) to imagine, but there are a lot of people who are just completely ignorant of most things "political," and have zero interest in any of the subject.

            That changes quickly of course when things politicians do affect them...

            Then they're suddenly interested LOL

            .... maybe that's how it happens to us all
            That's odd, your mention of people who are completely ignorant of most things political. That's my status with most things paparazzi -almost complete ignorance. Difference is, political stuff has an impact on our lives whether we like it or not. Hollywood scandals have an impact on our lives if we let them, otherwise they just reflect objectives (fame or fortune) or degeneracy in our social fabric.

            ?


            • #7
              Originally posted by radcentr View Post
              It's fair to expect I'll come up short in a political discussion, if I only checked one source without bothering to check the opposition. Rightly so.

              Another point that needs to be made on this subject: Lots of people don't want to engage in political discussion -it's in the same category as religion. That phrase, "...Don't discuss religion or politics". That might be one of two major reasons why there is so little decent argumentation on the subject (along with David's point on lacking patience). Just because it's "argumentation", doesn't mean we're arguing out of a lack of respect. What's the meaning of the rule, "Don't discuss politics or religion..."? The full phrase (IMO) is, "Don't discuss politics and religion until everyone involved knows each other, and measure their comments." Even for those who don't like to debate topics, I'd like them to study political issues on their own, to make informed decisions.
              I've also tried to make this point a lot: I like to argue. It's in my blood. But two things I have to constantly recognize:
              1. I like to argue but that doesn't always mean I'm right or that I know everything. I have been in a lot of arguments that show me something I had not previously considered or known.
              2. I seem to understand "argument" differently than a lot of folks (as radcentr pointed out): To me, argument is the intersection of opposing ideas. I don't have to "win" by making someone else "lose." Argument, to me, is not insulting and it is not beating down my opponent. It is "I believe" versus "you believe" and we back it up with facts that we know.

              ?


              • #8
                There are several types of "bias" which can occur, some of which are inherent to what they do:
                1. Occurrence related bias - reporting on things which happen, rather than things which do not (unless the absence of something happening is particularly unexpected).
                2. Conflict related bias - a tendency to be more prone to report on conflict rather than harmony
                3. Bad news bias - summed up nicely in the "if it bleeds it leads" cliche
                4. Simplification bias - The tendency to present an issue as being binary in nature (either this, or that) rather than as a range of far more subtle trade offs
                4. Political/ideological - covering (or choosing not to cover) in a manner which advances the individual or organizations partisan or ideological preferences.

                All of these can manifest in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

                Political/Ideological - One of my all-time favorites, Campaign Finance. During the debate over McCain-Feingold's passage, the national news media:
                A. Devoted a wildly disproportionate amount of time covering the issue considering that campaign finance had never made the top 20 of any poll showing what was of most concern to voters, this was a DC establishment issue, not one of importance to the voters at large.
                B. Accepted and used the term "reform" rather than the more neutral and accurate "regulation" or "restrictions". Any decent pollster will tell you that anything described as "reform" will poll better (people have a more positive view of the term "reform").

                Simplification bias: If we put Kavanaugh on the court he WILL be the 5th vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, which WILL make abortion illegal in the USA, if you don't want abortion to be illegal, you need to oppose him. Well, first of all, it is debatable whether there would be 5 solid votes to flat out overturn Roe (as opposed to scaling back some post-Roe precedents that went further than Roe did) even with Kavanaugh. Second, overturning Roe would NOT make abortion illegal anywhere, it would merely allow each state to decide for itself whether or not to make it legal, and under what circumstances.

                ?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                  That's odd, your mention of people who are completely ignorant of most things political. That's my status with most things paparazzi -almost complete ignorance.
                  There's no good reason that I can see to be interested in such folk... unless you have a hobby of closely following celebrity personalities or one personality or whatever.

                  I'm in the same boat as you.

                  Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                  Difference is, political stuff has an impact on our lives whether we like it or not.
                  Not necessarily. Unless it's something really drastic. As I said;

                  " ..there are a lot of people who are just completely ignorant of most things "political," and have zero interest in any of the subject.

                  That changes quickly of course when things politicians do affect them...

                  Then they're suddenly interested LOL
                  "

                  Not everyone will be affected by things these politician people do. Some are insulated in various ways.
                  They're the exceptions for the most part of course.

                  Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                  Hollywood scandals have an impact on our lives if we let them, otherwise they just reflect objectives (fame or fortune) or degeneracy in our social fabric.
                  They're no more, or less interesting than the scandals of everyday Americans... and there's always an endless supply of those occurring.

                  They're just "public" scandals. Interesting for the same reasons many people watch the Dr Phil show.

                  ?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post
                    There are several types of "bias" which can occur, some of which are inherent to what they do:
                    1. Occurrence related bias - reporting on things which happen, rather than things which do not (unless the absence of something happening is particularly unexpected).
                    2. Conflict related bias - a tendency to be more prone to report on conflict rather than harmony
                    3. Bad news bias - summed up nicely in the "if it bleeds it leads" cliche
                    4. Simplification bias - The tendency to present an issue as being binary in nature (either this, or that) rather than as a range of far more subtle trade offs
                    4. Political/ideological - covering (or choosing not to cover) in a manner which advances the individual or organizations partisan or ideological preferences.

                    All of these can manifest in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

                    Which some of us see, because we not only watch (occasionally) "the news," but we also watch the news.... watching how the news is doing its job.

                    Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post
                    Political/Ideological - One of my all-time favorites, Campaign Finance. During the debate over McCain-Feingold's passage, the national news media:
                    A. Devoted a wildly disproportionate amount of time covering the issue considering that campaign finance had never made the top 20 of any poll showing what was of most concern to voters, this was a DC establishment issue, not one of importance to the voters at large.
                    B. Accepted and used the term "reform" rather than the more neutral and accurate "regulation" or "restrictions". Any decent pollster will tell you that anything described as "reform" will poll better (people have a more positive view of the term "reform").

                    Simplification bias: If we put Kavanaugh on the court he WILL be the 5th vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, which WILL make abortion illegal in the USA, if you don't want abortion to be illegal, you need to oppose him. Well, first of all, it is debatable whether there would be 5 solid votes to flat out overturn Roe (as opposed to scaling back some post-Roe precedents that went further than Roe did) even with Kavanaugh. Second, overturning Roe would NOT make abortion illegal anywhere, it would merely allow each state to decide for itself whether or not to make it legal, and under what circumstances.
                    regulation & reform, you're pointing out how the use of words is used to sell or discourage ideas and/or concepts. Something that has been so out in the open and obvious, one MIGHT think no one could miss it !!

                    But they do.

                    They do and buy into these new ideas and concepts .....

                    ..whether these ideas are good or bad, true or false, doesn't even matter.

                    ...words

                    Abortion "rights" are going no where.

                    Still, this is why liberals are willing to lie, cheat and steal to try to keep Kavanaugh off the court, they've made the killing of tiny humans their "altar of sacrifice," their God.

                    That they're acting insane over it is indicative of how their minds work. . and don't work. There simply is nothing to justify the idiocy they've engaged in.

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                    • #11
                      I always thought "reform" meant a reduction in certain rules and staffing, as a result of making some law or regulation more efficient. More efficient, hence less expensive, both in enforcement and compliance.

                      Regulation and restriction is a turn-off to many citizens (IMO) because it describes an additional expense for the operator subject to restriction, and that means additional expense for the consumer, (aka, all of us). The concept doesn't bother me like it does many others (aka righties), because I understand the history of regulation -which certainly paints a very ugly picture of why regs came to be in the first place. When operators impose too high a cost on the taxpayer (fe pollution at deadly levels or single-source for shipping product), it is less expensive for the taxpayer to vote in reps who will impose regulations. If reform were a regular part of the cycle of regulation, the term "regulation" would have less negative meaning.

                      If Dems had a tendency to impose regulations (which they do, regularly), balanced by a GOP's tendency to reform regulations (which they don't, at least not on a regular basis), most adults would have a better understanding of "reform" vs. "regulation". The GOP would also have a more consistent cycle of majority power in Congress, rather than their "boom/bust" strategy.

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                      • #12
                        Keep an vigilant eye out for hte disparate coverage of Sen.s Murkowski and Machin...clearly she will be covered as independent-minded and courageous. He will be covered as a cynical, politically self-interested turncoat.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post
                          Keep an vigilant eye out for hte disparate coverage of Sen.s Murkowski and Machin...clearly she will be covered as independent-minded and courageous. He will be covered as a cynical, politically self-interested turncoat.
                          ...By the left-biased press? Correct. Look for your formula to be reversed by the right-biased press.

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                          • #14
                            This is our "media" today.

                            This isn't reporting, it isn't journalism, it isn't anything but lies & manipulations !

                            They wonder why more ignore them ?

                            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            This is a very dangerous kind of journalism to practice, Irvine argued. If they had been able to really get away with this in the long-term, I shudder to think what else we're going to get down the pike.

                            Reporters from the New Yorker have made an astounding admission regarding sexual assault claims made against the newly confirmed United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

                            On September 23, New Yorker reporters Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow dropped a bombshell on the Kavanaugh debate. A second accuser had come forward accusing the nominee of exposing himself to her 35 years ago.

                            The charge threw the nomination into chaos, prompted a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) check, and managed to delay the confirmation. But in a shocking admission of journalistic malpractice, Mayer says she and Farrow ran with the accusation without any evidence to back it up, hoping to show a Kavanaugh pattern of misconduct.


                            ....

                            https://www.onenewsnow.com/media/201...inst-kavanaugh

                            ..

                            Any one can say anything, make ANY claim and have it "in the news" by these standards !

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Captain Trips View Post
                              This is our "media" today.

                              This isn't reporting, it isn't journalism, it isn't anything but lies & manipulations !

                              They wonder why more ignore them ?

                              ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              This is a very dangerous kind of journalism to practice, Irvine argued. If they had been able to really get away with this in the long-term, I shudder to think what else we're going to get down the pike.

                              Reporters from the New Yorker have made an astounding admission regarding sexual assault claims made against the newly confirmed United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

                              On September 23, New Yorker reporters Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow dropped a bombshell on the Kavanaugh debate. A second accuser had come forward accusing the nominee of exposing himself to her 35 years ago.

                              The charge threw the nomination into chaos, prompted a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) check, and managed to delay the confirmation. But in a shocking admission of journalistic malpractice, Mayer says she and Farrow ran with the accusation without any evidence to back it up, hoping to show a Kavanaugh pattern of misconduct.


                              ....

                              https://www.onenewsnow.com/media/201...inst-kavanaugh

                              ..

                              Any one can say anything, make ANY claim and have it "in the news" by these standards !
                              Making stuff up should be restricted to the opinion pages, that's true.

                              To run an actual news story, one should use an actual quote from a swampster who would support someone who sexually assaulted someone while in high school. Like this fine scumbag:
                              North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, the Republican challenging Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, suggested the allegation of sexual and physical assault -- even if it's true -- should not disqualify Brett Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court.
                              https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/25/polit...ota/index.html

                              Then, on the opinion page, a pro-Cramer piece would provide a mild apology, but state that Cramer's mistake was giving credibility to anyone who assaulted someone in HS. What Cramer should have done was point out the thin evidence against Kavanaugh, and leave it there without further elaboration.

                              An opinion piece against Cramer only needs to point out that ND voters might provide a promotion for a lawmaker to a Senate seat, even though the alleged lawmaker publicly stated he would confirm a person to a significant position in the federal gov't., who might have assaulted someone and then lied about it. That's a pretty big lapse in judgement and moral character, especially for someone who wants to be a lawmaker.

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