There has been some talk in recent years that certain network TV news stations are delivering biased material to their viewers. Is this true? FOX News, for instance, who has called themselves “fair and balanced,” has made it clear through their coverage that they are in favor of the republican political party. CNN and MSNBC, on the other hand, have a strong left (democratic) leaning in their coverage. Is this a good thing or a band thing?
Getting Good Ratings
Arguably, it is a top priority of these TV networks to get the maximum possible number of viewers. If they achieve higher ratings and have a larger viewing audience, they earn greater revenue, and so on. This makes it understandable that they would want to choose a niche and cater directly to it.
By targeting people with a certain mindset politically, each station can garner repeat viewers and even many loyal viewers who tune in daily. People like to hear what they want to hear; if they hear too much opposing opinion, some will flee and change the station.
Is the Bias Partially our Fault?
As TV watching citizens, are we partly to blame when TV stations become biased? This is a theory that could be true. If we had such a huge problem with stations being subjective in their viewpoints and coverage, we could easily boycott such channels. But we don’t. Why is that?
It seems that we as a society have accepted biased television as a necessary evil or at least one not worth fighting against. There was a time in the early 21st century when there was a good amount of controversy surrounding networks that seemed to show partiality towards certain political affiliations. That opposition eventually waned – and surprisingly the decline in public resistance correlated not with a softening of bias but rather an increase!
Will This Ever Change?
The networks do exert a small amount of effort towards sharing contrasting perspectives on a variety of issues. For now, it seems that it must be enough since millions of people still do tune in and watch daily.
If you are interested in changing partiality in news coverage, you have a few options. You could contact the network(s) in question and tell them what you think. Some of the networks have even read such emails live on air and responded. This does show, at the very least, that they are not considering any bias as some coveted industry secret.
Another option would be to start a boycott among your email friends or social network. This could start a movement that is in opposition to television news bias. You would be surprised how powerful one person can be in starting a revolution – especially if their position on an issue is echoed by millions of other likeminded individuals.
One alternative to trying to beat the system is to simply accept the way things are but continue to learn to truly think for yourself. You may be underestimating the public’s ability to discern truth from fiction or to distinguish bias from neutrality.