The media’ as a whole plays a major part in one’s life. Media messages can be presented in many ways from reading newspapers to watching news on television from the comfort of your own home. However, the most important factors are how the news is retrieved and portrayed by an individual or a group of individuals as each individual has the right to accept what they believe not what they are manipulated to believe or to accept. There are various issues that can be looked at to conclude whether or not there is such thing as free, unbiased media, to define this topic it is too broad to study itself so it will be broken down and researched in small parts. Bias in different context will be analysed and shown how it is interpreted. Theorists will be researched such as: Rupert Murdoch and Noam Chomsky taking his views into consideration as well as elaborating on them. The approach taken to tackle this area of study will show clear evidence of where the information has been taken from as this will enable the reader to make their own judgment as to whether there is such thing as free, unbiased media.
Can it be argued that there is such thing as a free, unbiased media?
Bias is based around media organisations made up of journalists and news producers presenting particular stories and the selection of which stories to cover with an uneven viewpoint, these particular stories may refer to accusations of either censorship or propagandism. Individuals perceiving various media messages can receive these in different contexts such as socially, ethically, economically and politically.
There are different categories of bias that can be looked upon when presenting media messages to individuals such as: ethnic bias which includes nationalism and regionalism, corporate bias involving advertising and political campaigns, social bias that contains overall bias of reporting to favour the status class, political bias regarding the split in political slant and sensationalism about manufacturing or distort news as a purely commercial product. Temporal bias is known when media are biased toward the immediate, when media organisations decide to take up a story that is happening immediately. News has to be new and fresh, this news has to be ever changing even when there is a small amount of news to cover. There are other forms of bias such as status quo bias, narrative bias, fairness bias, expediency bias and glory bias. Bias can be covered within good and bad news categories, publishing good stories can be seen as dull and boring having some kind of conflict contained within particular stories makes it more exciting to read and more sellable making a larger profit since news media are money making businesses. Taking this into consideration the media industries must release products for their customers to buy in order for them to make a profit. This is known as commercial bias for the reason that the customers of the news media are advertisers. The meaning of good’ to media sources is observed as the number of readers and viewers attention they can draw.
The sources of bias can be from editors, journalists, speakers and corporation groups. When journalists or any other news source decide to publish a particular story it needs to be taken into account whether or not they will benefit from the story or will it be a failure to them. A journalist will attempt to be neutral by taking two points into thought, the first being: fairness to those individuals involved within the news / story being released and the second is a professional process of collecting data / information that obtains fairness, completeness and accurateness.
When detecting bias in a press release or story a number of issues can be raised from the reader’s point of view resulting in questions relating to the authors socio-political position and which group they belong to, does the speaker have something or another to gain personally for actually releasing the story or not. Such points as to who is paying for the message, where do these messages appear and what is the bias of the medium should be considered. One can ask simple questions on what sources have been used as well as what statistics have been used at all if any have been used.
Other factors can be raised regarding the speaker of the message released as well as the issues mentioned.
Many viewers and readers would argue that media messages should obtain more than one viewpoint as this would be unbiased, but on most occasions only one point of view is exposed that of the speaker in many cases.
Media industries possess a certain amount of power over what is being broadcasted through media messages. One argument in itself is that who owns the media? This is where a powerful man named Rupert Murdoch is introduced.
Rupert Murdoch was born on 11th March 1931 in Australia. He is an American media proprietor holding and managing director of News Corporation Ltd which is one the world’s largest and most prominent media corporations. He is known to be one of the few chief executives of any multinational media corporation who has a controlling ownership share in the companies he runs. The News Corporation Ltd contains a variety of broadcast media types such as: film, television, cable television, print (newspapers and magazines), satellite and the internet. Their aim is to provide and create top quality news, sport and entertainment on a global scale across the world. News Corporation owns many media organisations in America and Britain such as Fox News, The Times, Sun, and News of the World and News America Marketing along with others. Not only does the News Corporation owns this but holds a share in the Australia newspaper industry as well as the British Sky Broadcasting known as BSkyB and is still growing.
“Today, News Corp. stands among the foremost media companies in the world, and continues to be aggressive in its pursuit of new media and communications properties. Its wide range of media holdings in many countries of the world puts News Corp. in a central position among a handful of corporate behemoths that could dominate the global media landscape for many years to come.”
(David Gunzerath, News Corporation Ltd)
Looking at this research it clearly shows that Rupert Murdoch is a very powerful man with a great deal of influence on the media and what is broadcasted. As stated earlier media plays a very important role in society and of course involves a great deal of politics. We see media and politics as two related subjects, well as two subjects that are never really parted. One may question as to whether or not Rupert Murdoch has any political views and if he uses them to determine what is being broadcasted. Billionaire Rupert Murdoch takes his opinions and beliefs seriously as he is said to support the republicanism (pro American) over monarchy. He is a far right partisan who has used his media empire to the fully to pull American political arguments to one side. Rupert Murdoch is criticised by many people and it has been stated that there is more to Murdoch than meets the eye,
“in 2003 Rupert Murdoch told a congressional panel that his useof political influence in our newspapers or television is nonsense but a close look at the records shows Murdoch has imparted his far right agenda throughout his media empire” (Center for American Progress).
An example of being bias would be that Murdoch is blamed for presenting partisan media coverage for political groups that publicise policies and conclusions to draw attention to his commercial benefit showing that media bias is involved from the beginning, middle or end and is often encouraged by politicians to persuade him favourably to cover their campaigns. An additional example of the contradiction of the theory of unbiased media would be that of Venezuela and Chavez. In this instance a democratically elected president was over thrown from his position by the media industry (the Venezuela army and influences from the U.S).
The effect Rupert Murdoch has had on the media industry is substantial, setting up an empire that is forever growing. This clearly shows who the media is owned by and how much power they posses, this can determine on what is presented to the public from a single point rather than all angles of a specific story and through not one source of media but several forms of media even though some maybe bias and contain propaganda.