Eng 1C H. Fall 2014
September 14, 2014
Media Predisposition Every day, thousands of headlines and forms of news data are thrown at us from an assortment of diverse sources within the media. It is easy to gobble up the information we are being fed, and doing so may very well lead to a misinterpretation of the reality of a topic. Many forms of media give off the impression that they are completely reliable in what they are divulging. But somehow, information on a topic and other vital specifics can be skewed in any which way media decides appropriate. Lots of sources may or may not have a sort of personal agenda; these sources want you to look at things their way, and are going to do everything in their control to make that transpire. How do we avoid falling into the trap of deception that media sets up for us? How do we distinguish which information we should trust? We are all in search of valid content, and it is our right to have access to that content. In a budding age of technology, articles written online are one of the most common places people find themselves for updates on news. Unlike newspapers and other publications, this form of media can be updated quickly, even in real time as an event is actually taking place. As you can imagine, there is an enormous range of websites reporting on the same subject. Yet somehow, they can all manage to paint quite dissimilar pictures. Bias is the culprit, in this case. The situation in Ferguson, Missouri is a perfect example of this functioning bias between different forms of media.
Although identifying bias right away can prove difficult, there are some specific indicators and red flags to look out for. First and foremost, you must investigate who is supporting this article. This could be by examining the credibility of the website in which this article is on. Do some research. Who is this website attempting to represent? You can also take a closer look at the author of the article, and even the speakers that may be mentioned in the article as well. What is the person’s personal stance on the topic in which they are commenting on? For example, the article entitled Ferguson Fizzles appears on the website “National Review” which is noted for it’s right wing views. The author of this article is Charles C. W. Cooke, and doing a simple Google search will lead you to his own personal website. On this site, Cooke has an “about” page, where you can learn that Cooke’s work has “focused especially on Anglo-American history, British liberty, free speech, the Second Amendment, and American exceptionalism.” It seems that Cooke is a very dedicated right-winger. Right away, some words grab my attention; Anglo-American, or the history of people from the U.S. whose ancestry is rooted in England. Essentially, Cooke specializes in the history and interests of Caucasian people, and it is possible that there could be some bias in this article for the fact that it deals directly with people of the non-Anglo-American race. Upon first encounter with this article, you may have never known, nor guessed this information. As you read the article, take special notice if the author does a worthy job of introducing multiple points of view. Neutrality is what you are looking, and it isn’t possible without considering both sides. If the author shows concern for other points of view, are all points expressed in a seemingly negative tone, or a positive one? The author still has much room for bias despite having considered other points of view. Authors could also incorporate numbers, supposed facts, and statistics which we can very quickly be lured in by. This might lead you to give a bit more authority and trust to the article. Although these things seem appealing, they can sometimes be unwholesome. In the article Ferguson Fizzles, the author throws various percentages and numbers at the reader. The author fails to express where these percentages came from, and doesn’t bother citing his