Fact or Fiction? What the News Isn’t Telling You

Public school has taught me to believe that being politically and economically aware is key in being a good citizen of America, but they also go on in saying that having an opinion is okay but to “keep it to yourself” because apparently starting political debates in government class isn’t “appropriate.” Growing up in a town that was known as “Mechan-hicks-ville, you might be able to assume that conservative opinion was highly in favor and if anyone even questioned gun laws you would be quickly attacked as being “uninformed” or “uneducated about the basic constitutional rights.” (These quotes that I am adding are a mixture of teachers and students that I have heard throughout the years) Now that I’m legally allowed to represent myself and my beliefs through voting, I feel like it is my duty to keep myself up to date with important news.

I realized very shortly after watching different news media that finding the truth that I desperately wanted would be much more difficult to find due to bias. My group decided to read articles from Fox News each day for a week. After I had done this for a week I can absolutely claim, with grounds to back it up, that Fox News cannot accurately report the news due to the fact that every piece of news is geared towards a conservative based audience. After reviewing the headlines of each article that my group recorded you can see an obvious trend of topics that portray the Democratic Party and its leaders to be manipulative and incompetent. For example, on Saturday the headline was “European refugee crisis ‘direct consequence’ of failed Obama policy” Rather than focusing on how horrific the Syrian crisis is, Fox chose to pick out that fact that it is ultimately Obama’s fault, not the fact that many Syrian’s are dying because they are trying escape the horrific attacks in their own country. This article was a direct quote from former Vice President Cheney. After Cheney criticizes Obama, Fox ends the article with past achievements of the Vice President in order to compare Obama’s “failures” to Cheney’s achievements for what he did for this country.

For the Truth behind Syrian Crisis: http://america.aljazeera.com/topics/topic/issue/refugees.htmlnews

Now, of course I believe that everyone should voice their opinions, but how am I, or anyone else supposed to get accurate information of what’s going on around the country and the world if I have to first decide if this popular source of news is even accurate in what it reports? Not only do I then have decide if it accurate, I also have to find out if I am hearing the whole story or just the parts they want me to hear. If I wanted to hear your opinion on Obamacare or the Iran deal I would read your blog, but I am looking for the facts so that I can then make my own personal opinion. Fox News: Please stop trying to influence me before I have even gotten all the facts to develop my own opinion.

Picture Credit; https://fullymyelinated.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/roger-ailes-and-fox-news/

Many American news stations have hidden agendas to try and make its viewers see a particular issue or person in a certain way, whether it be positive or negative. For example, in Fox News popular subjects that were referred to negatively multiple times were Hillary Clinton and Obama, “Clinton acknowledges paying the State Department staffer to maintain private email server.” The headline of this article is misleading because once I read the entire thing I learned that Clinton paying someone to maintain the server was indeed public knowledge. Many news broadcasts, not just Fox News, also try to subtly try and change your opinion of an issue or person. This can be done by using headlines that falsely report or disregard important key facts of information in order to change your opinion.

Overall, as a class my original thoughts about the inaccurate bias of news outlets were only strengthened after I was able to compare the articles from Fox News to other less obviously biased news stations such as Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is owned by the Family of Qatar, which is not based in America. News media is less likely to be biased if they are run by outside countries, because they have no reason to influence anyone to a particular political party. Depending on what news you watch it will impact how you view the world. As I stated earlier Fox chose to focus on blaming Obama for the Syrian refugee crisis, but if you compare Fox News headline to Al Jazeera it gives more facts about what is actually happening within the country, not how it relates to the lives of America and its leaders. The headline for Wednesday was “Bodies of 11 Syrian refugees wash ashore in Turkey“, rather than blaming anyone Al Jazeera is specifically trying inform its viewers. Reading articles that aim to inform about worldly issues along with American issues give you a better developed picture of society.

After analyzing all my findings I am mostly surprised that American news is more distorted than a news station that isn’t even owned by a US company. Overall this doesn’t just only effect politics, it also reflects the social and economic issues that certain media might be trying to avoid bringing into the public eye. It is easier to point out in politics what is biased and what is not, because oftentimes people have obvious vendettas against individuals of power. I’ve also learned that age isn’t an excuse to not take interest in the world around us. Our generation has been given more tools than the previous ones, so there is absolutely no reason that we shouldn’t know what’s going on in the world today. This project only makes me question what else the media not telling me is, and it has only caused me to investigate for the truth even more. I urge others to also look beyond what the media is putting directly in front of our eyes, because the real truth might take a bit more searching for.

For more information on how to realize bias in the news: http://fair.org/take-action-now/media-activism-kit/how-to-detect-bias-in-news-media/

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