Is media inevitably biased?
by Melody Ng
Media is a neutral platform for exchange of information and ideas. Impartial news reporting is expected by the public. However, in the real world, we can hardly define what is complete ”neutral” as different people have different stances and opinions. Therefore, when we need to determine whether a press is ”unbiased”, there is no absolute answer or standard, we can only see if it can present a more complete picture of an issue and avoid using sensational wordings. In my opinion, it can be possible for certain media to be relatively unbiased, but it is hardly feasible to ensure the whole media industry to be neutral because of the following reasons.
One of the reasons is that journalism has never achieved a comparable degree of autonomy. They almost never own their own means of production. Journalists have rarely asserted and almost never achieved the right to control media organizations outright. There are too many external resistance affecting a media’s stance.
In a modern society, we can easily access to news without paying or pay only a small percentage of it. Therefore, the main cost for media’s operation is paid for by advertisers. As media has been commercialized, they no longer addressed people as citizens, but as consumers. Media press has to think over the public’s taste and the advertisers’ stance before releasing a news.
2) Political parties
News media is always closely related with politics. In some places where political parties are strongly diametrical, parts of the news media also begin to cater to the opinions of different political parties.
Apart from the external forces, the personal opinion of a journalist can also affect the stance of news. Like all human beings, journalists too use stereotypes to make sense of reality. News often perpetuates stereotypes.
After all, as what have been mentioned, although it can be possible for certain media to be relatively unbiased ,it is utterly difficult for us to build a truly objective media outlet. As different people have different stance, it is hard for us to define the standard of neutral or to regulate media’s credibility. It is also difficult for us to judge whether censorship has happened. Therefore, we can not monitor the objectivity by certain policies.
However, as the media industry is highly competitive and market-oriented, the taste of readers is an important factor affecting the quality of media. In long term, the public should be educated with critical thinking skills to make a difference in the whole social culture atmosphere.