Monday, July 24, 2006

The Look of Bias

WaPo has an article today about the perception of bias in the media. A sample case of news coverage from the 1982 war in Lebanon was used to gauge how much bias people perceived. Each side (in this case, pro-Israeli vs pro-Arab) perceived more bias against their own position than for it. Also, the more informed the observer, the more bias they perceived. Why? Lack of context. There is only so much information you can fit into a news story, so it can be difficult to lend proper perspective to current events, especially ones that are complex and ever-changing. Imagine trying to summarize the history of the Middle East every time you did a report on the latest outbreak of violence. It would be interesting to see if people perceived longer reports as being more balanced than short reports, since longer reports have more space in which to provide context. Of course, they also provide more opportunity for perceived bias.

1 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

Of course there is bias in the media. They want to slant the news to what they think is right, while taking into the consideration the attention span of the average adult.

And it's not really about the news any more - it's just a big directed, well orchestrated, production number. Television news is basically a GDP (Graphics Delivery System) achieving its apex with the weather presentation. The rest of the time, they just throw a bunch of BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects) at the screen along with terror warnings ("Something in your refrigerator can kill you and your baby. Do you know what it is? We'll have that for you ... right after the weather! And later, is your dog tattling to your spouse? You'd be surprised!"

- John

7/25/2006 7:26 AM  

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