ssignment #1 – Media Bias
This assignment asks you to pick an issue currently being discussed in the media and follow it for a number of days. You can choose any topic, just make sure it is a topic that is being widely covered in the media. As you look at how the event or topic is covered by multiple news sources, you should analyze and compare the language used in the reporting. Major events and topics are covered by numerous sources, most of which will offer fairly similar information. However, the way they phrase that information, the “spin” they put on it, can differ quite drastically.
Today, more and more people get their news from only one source, usually one in which the bias is similar to their own. This increases the temptation to see the news from one’s usual source as unvarnished truth. One tends to stop asking skeptical questions or thinking critically, and that kind of complacency makes an audience easy to manipulate. Your task, in writing this paper, is to shake off that complacency, to go in as an active and skeptical reader in order to identify and analyze the manipulative language used in each news source.
- Choose a current event or topic that is being widely covered in the media
- Find articles from a minimum of four different news sources. These should be news sources that represent a variety of perspectives. For example, you would get an interesting mix if you chose the BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, FOX, and MSNBC. If you have a source you would like to use, and you are not sure if it qualifies, ask.
- Summarize the event or topic in one paragraph
- Explain how each news source differs in the coverage of the issue. Analyze the “spin” or bias of each source. Compare the sources and what each emphasizes, or excludes.
- Cite your articles and sources in APA format
- Try to set aside your own preconceptions, because those may steer you astray. Look at what is actually being said, not what you expect to be said. You may be surprised by the difference between the perceived bias vs. the actual bias of some of these sources.
- There are more positions, and more kinds of bias, than just right and left, conservative and liberal. Be careful to keep this in mind as you research and analyze. Don’t oversimplify.
- You are NOT choosing a side and arguing for that side in your paper. You are analyzing the language used by the news sources, and making an argument about the differing degrees and patterns of bias in those sources.
Format: Word document attachment, 12-point font, double spaced. Don’t forget to have your name on the submitted document. There is not a minimum length, but your thoughts and analysis should be well developed.
Due: Sunday, February 10, 2019
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