Bias in the Media

Why are news outlets biased? You might think it’s some kind of sinister conspiracy, or the result of powerful people controlling what the masses think. I have a different opinion–it’s what the market wants.

People (conservatives, liberals, moderates, you, me, etc.) don’t like to hear stories that disagree with what they already believe. Whenever they do, they immediately get angry and suspect they are being lied to. Everyone knows this reaction as confirmation bias. If a news outlet violates a person’s confirmation bias enough times, they’ll stop going to a news source. Therefore, to be successful, a news outlet needs to cater to specific points of view.

If your sources of news don’t make you angry on a regular basis, you’re guilty of contributing to this effect. If you get all your news from John Stewart or Rush Limbaugh, you’re even worse. What can we do to combat bias in the media? Fight confirmation bias in ourselves.

If you’re a liberal, watch Fox news first. If you’re a conservative, watch a liberal show. Look for bias in what they say and what they omit. When you hear something that supports your beliefs, question it. If you’re a liberal who thinks conservatives are evil, or a conservative who thinks liberals are evil, hit yourself on the head until the bias goes away.

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