Media Bias: Blatant or Barely There

Dean Esmail, Senior Staff Writer

 The ideal role of the media is to provide information to individuals. It is almost impossible for people to directly inform themselves about world affairs. Media is a very effective way of having a few big journalists utilize lots of resources to find and create stories of interest and information, then present them to the world. Given that mainstream media is the outlet by which the vast majority of students receive their information, it is important that such information is reliable. Citizens have the right to know about the events happening around them, no matter how minor they may seem to some. 

In today’s world, however, the problem of “fake news” and how to distinguish it seems to be as prevalent as ever. Tony Dattilo, a senior at Hubbard High School, states: “It’s crazy how much unreliable news is out there now. I have to fact check every single article I see before I believe it.” Nowadays, individuals can post anything on social media, leading to speculation on what is and isn’t true. Some people are completely oblivious to this concept of fake news, however, and believe everything that they see in an online post or through a news station. 

People must be educated and learn how to determine what is legitimate and credible versus what is false. According to the Harvard Summer School news site, there are four ways this can be accomplished. First, “Vet the Publisher’s Credibility”: look for the author’s name.  Does the site have an unusual domain name like a dot com.co site? If so, it’s a blatant fake representation of a real news source, states sources. Other tips include: 2) “Pay attention to Quality and Timeliness”; 3) “Check sources and Citations”; and 4) “Ask the pro”s: some of the fact-checking sites that the Harvard online source recommends are: Snopes.com, FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com, to name a few.

Much of the problem with the younger generation is that they are much more likely than adults to get their news from social media. The thing that makes social media conducive to fake news is that there’s much less of a reputational concern for users on Facebook or Twitter. They can write something crazy and then just open up another account, and write something else crazy. A media outlet in the U.S., like a local newspaper, cannot do that without potentially damaging their reputation. Reputation is what makes people pay for their articles. Matt Raseta, also a senior at Hubbard High School, remarks: “The only site which I get my information from is USA Today. They are extremely credible in my opinion.” 

In this world where we see that so much is fake or artificial, should we be surprised when the news in the same?  As long as students are aware that not everything they read is true, then the problem of media bias is greatly limited.  So hopefully, after reading this article, you will think twice before believing that post you assumed to be truthful.

For even more information, consider this CBSN news video on fake news, especially from social media sources that one finds on the internet.

Sources:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/think/amp/ncna895471

https://www.studentnewsdaily.com/types-of-media-bias/

https://www.summer.harvard.edu/inside-summer/4-tips-spotting-fake-news-story