Role of Media in a Democracy Essay

Submitted By micaelakeller123
Words: 1268
Pages: 6

Micaela Keller
Professor Pieracci
Sociology 102
22 April 2014
News Network’s Role in a Democracy News networks are a large source of public instruction when it comes to learning of important events and developments throughout the world. People often turn to news networks because it is simple, the information that the networks feel are most important are all in one place (DellaVigna and Kaplan 1202). The problem here is that the public is receiving one sided, bias, and sometimes inaccurate information about events and developments from news networks. My thesis for this essay is that, in a democracy the role of news networks should be to provide accurate information to the public that is unbiased to any particular political party in order to create a knowledgeable population of voters. In an ideal government-media relationship, news networks should avoid being biased towards political parties. Current news networks that have a bias towards political parties often discourage a knowledgeable population of voters by providing news that is one sided. After a study done by Tim Groeling, the Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at UCLA, he found, with varying degrees of statistical significance that,
“CBS, NBC and ABC showed what Groeling calls a pro-Democrat bias. For instance, CBS was 35 percent less likely to report a five-point drop in approval for Bill Clinton than a similar rise in approval and was 33 percent more likely to report a five-point drop than a rise for George W. Bush. Meanwhile FOX News showed a statistically significant pro-Republican bias in the most controlled of the three models Groeling tested: its Special Report program was 67 percent less likely to report a rise in approval for Clinton than a decrease and 36 percent more likely to report the increase rather than the decrease for Bush” ( Martin 25). This is showing that in order to promote the favored party, one of the main focuses of news networks becomes to share only information and or events that positively reflects that of the party’s candidates or reflect poorly on the opposing party. Instead of reporting the most important news that would inform the population, they are only providing the events and developments that would promote a positive attitude towards their political party. If people only hear, see, or read news that is one-sided those people become less knowledgeable because they are only getting half of the story. In a democracy, news networks should remain un bias because in doing so they will not fail to deliver necessary information by supplying the most important news, instead of just the news that will benefit their favored political party. A good relationship between a democracy and media would require that news networks produce only validated factual news information. As of now, news networks are not required to have validated sources of the news that they are producing. In a study done by the Union of Concerned Scientist, it showed that when discussing a liberal subject such as climate change, Fox news network, a republican biased network, discussed the subject 50 times during 2013. The UCS’s study shows that Fox provided misleading coverage on 72% of those segments. Meanwhile, MSNBC, a more liberal leaning network, prioritized coverage of climate change during 2013, discussing it 132 times. Only 8% of the time they allowed guests, contributors or news hosts to present misleading or nonfactual information (6). This statistic shows that often news networks are more likely to provide false information more often in order to benefit their political bias. In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that, “there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States. ‘Fox’ argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves” (Raphael 492). This particular case, not