Why is Media Bias an Issue?Written by Bernie Day
Most of us have grown up in a society where we felt fortunate to live in a democracy where free speech was one of our basic rights. We also believed that "news" was delivered to us in a factual manner - with both sides of any story equally represented. In theory, it is supposed to work this way. But, when news articles are measured for bias utilizing an objective process, one discovers that there is an agenda underlying much of news Americans are subjected to and programmed by, each day. In defense of news media there is a rational behind changing face of news content. Given that average American wants to be entertained and time and attention available to commit to news stories, press has shaped its focus to deliver content in an entertaining and "byte-driven" format. As a result, news stories are designed to ignite an emotive response to GRAB attention. Often, this attempt is misleading. The use of words to imply suspicion, controversy and/or fear, elevate public interest. This is seen as good media presentation because it gets viewers to pay attention. The benefit of increasing mass media distribution is, of course, an increase in advertising revenue. Therefore, rational behind a changed format of news content has been shaped by public-at-large, through a demonstrated increase in its interest to consume sensational news. It is probably understood by most that news media is doing just this and may dismiss media bias claims as a result. But with a closer look, one can see that media bias reaches far deeper, effecting psyche of reading/viewing public - because it's so subtle. The sensational depiction of events is overt and thereby acceptable by most of society. But covert misrepresentation of facts, either by omission or slanted, are not perceived. It is as if facts are cloaked. Therefore Media Research Center of Alaska has committed itself to uncovering these subtle, covert, misrepresentations so that a reader is well-informed about REAL story. To begin discussion then, of less obvious media bias, we need to understand that there are always two sides to every story. As a result, both sides need to be given equal representation and equal weight so that reader can decide for himself/herself what meaning of news is. Even though Media Code of Ethics clearly outlines this as a core value, it is not always adhered to. Additionally, reporters have a difficult time NOT selecting their stories, words and sources independent of their personal views and/or views of their newsroom where their paycheck is earned. Some examples of covert media bias that average news consumer would digest without a thought are: ** Words - selection of words to describe one side, compared to other can slant a reader’s/viewer’s perception. (An example would be, describing one side of abortion issue as Pro-Choice versus Anti-Abortion. To give both words same weight, and not imply some "ethical assessment" by journalist, one would need to describe each as Pro-Abortion and Anti-Abortion, or Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. As you can evaluate for yourself, if a reporter uses "Pro-Choice versus Anti-Abortion terms, he/she has automatically assigned a positive label to those who favor right to choose abortion, while he/she has assigned a negative label to those who want to preserve right to life). Therefore, words to describe any person, event, or entity can quickly shape mind of reader/viewer in a very subtle way.
Free Tips For Your Child's SuccessWritten by Frank W. Thatcher Jr.
Getting free tips for a child's success is something most parents/guardians are interested in. Most want their child's academic growth to improve every school year. Most sincerely care. Unfortunately some don't, but that's a completely different article. For now, I want to focus on improving reading abilities of our children immediately.
This summer is flying by and soon our children will be back in classroom with eager teachers and their fellow classmates. My concern as an educator, with over twenty years of invaluable experience, is loss of reading and comprehension skills over summer months simply due to lack of reading. Children need to read in order to keep up their skills. They must read on a consistent basis to not only maintain but to also improve their skills. Just as any skill or talent, if it isn't used, it will slowly diminish. Do we really need our children's reading abilities to begin to waste away as they enjoy summer months? I don't think so. Our society can't afford this to happen either.
I frequently compare reading skills to that of a runner's skills. A person that wishes to maintain or improve his or her running ability must run almost on a daily basis. What takes much time and effort to achieve however, can be very quickly lost if that runner takes some time off. Basically, to maintain skills, runner needs to run on a consistent basis. This is exactly what we are looking to achieve with our children and their reading skills. We want them to maintain and even improve their skills. This can be accomplished by reading consistently. Perhaps not every day, but consistently.