In social structure, media has distinct place to form image about significant political and social issues. Media coverage has major impact on public when it characterises the whole event and provide reliable information about numerous issues such as environment, technology and risk. Media is considered as a potent source of information and opinion for readers through newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the internet. Various studies have exposed that the public increases their knowledge base about science from the mass media. Therefore, it is important to scrutinise the injustice and misrepresentation of media coverage of serious issues.
Around the world, mass media has an influence on civilisation and an in depth look at its most popular forms today would most certainly reveal numerous blatant injustices in the way TV networks, print media, and internet websites spread information. It has been seen that millions of citizens watch their television to know what is happening in their surroundings. They form opinions on certain issues based on news broadcast in TV or other news media. The media's role in political matters is especially significant when they have the power to make or break a candidate. They can criticise a candidate or make him/her likeable.
News media networks affect the public's interest in politics by presenting the people what they want them to see. Even if there are many issues in a crusade, the media will focus on the one they consider to be the most important, and other issues are overlooked. It is well known that public make impression to what they watch in news media. But on public policy issues if the news on which they rely is deformed, it is obviously crucial that TV news broadcasts and other media must be unbiased. Nonetheless, there has always heated debate about media bias.
Many authors and intellectuals explained that media bias is methodical, persistent unbalance in mainstream news coverage for the purpose of influencing opinion on major issues. Media bias is the bias of reporters and news producers in the choice of events and stories that are described, and the way they are covered. Media bias happens when a media outlet reports a news story in a partial or unfair manner.
According to Kenney, media bias is "more news coverage and more favourable coverage" of one candidate or party over the other candidate or party. Media bias is categorized as four types in media coverage of numerous issues. These include partisanship, unwitting bias, ideology and propaganda. Partisanship is known through its form for instance editorial column, paid advertisement, forum, or letter. Unwitting bias specify inadvertent biased choice of issues news. Ideology bias is hidden in texts such as tendency to report particular news. Propaganda is visualized as objective news such as public relations sources. The main objective of media bias to distort the stories to attract attention of viewers and it is flashed constantly in prejudiced way.
The media can be prejudiced towards both liberals and traditionalists. Some traditionalists claimed that liberal journalists are more attributed to their own liberal principles in the news they report, while liberal journalists assert that they stay neutral and report news without any bias. Others proclaimed that conservative reporters take minor things, exaggerate it, or blow it to mythological proportions. The media often displays its bias. Their extensive exposure facilitates them to communicate their ideas to the public, irrespective of the public's reaction.
Types of Bias: There are different types of media bias.
In general, common of forms of bias arise when the media support or bout a particular political party, candidate, or philosophy; however, other types of bias exist such as advertising bias, corporate bias, mainstream bias, sensationalism, and concision bias. Advertising bias occurs when stories are selected or slanted to please advertisers; corporate bias refers to when stories are selected or slanted to satisfy corporate possessors of media; mainstream bias denotes to a propensity to report what everyone else is reporting, and to evade stories that will upset anyone.
Sensationalism is a category of editorial bias in mass media in which events and topics in news stories and pieces are over publicized to increase viewers. Sensationalism may include reporting about generally unimportant matters and events that do not influence overall civilisation, as well as prejudiced presentations of interesting topics in a sensationalist, trivial, or tabloid manner.
Story Selection and Placement is other type of media bias. This is a pattern of reporting news stories that overlap with a specific agenda. This type of bias happens when a media outlet repeatedly reports stories that support only one political opinion. Bias by selection of sources means include more sources that support one view over another. This bias occurs when a reporter uses such phrases as "experts believe," "observers say," or "most people believe." Specialists in news stories are like expert observers in trials. When a news story only presents one side, it is clearly the side the reporter supports. To find bias by use of experts or sources, it is suggested to stay alert to the associations and political viewpoint of those quoted as experts or authorities in news stories. If a story quotes non-experts, such as those depicted as average citizens, check to be sure that about an equal number come from both sides of the issue in interrogation. Bias by placement arises when a news outlet conspicuously places news stories that coincide with a specific agenda while hiding those that denote an opposing standpoint. Unlike bias by story selection, the news outlet reports on differing political perspectives. However, one viewpoint is emphasised, with opposing views receiving less time or print space.
Media bias through labelling: This type of bias usually occur in two forms. The first is the labelling of conservative politicians and groups with extreme labels while leaving liberal politicians and groups unlabelled or with more mild labels, or vice versa. The second type of bias by labelling arises when a reporter not only fails to recognise as a liberal or as a conservative, but define the person or group with positive labels.
Media bias by spin: Bias by spin befalls when the story has only one explanation of an event or policy, to the segregation of the other; spin involves tone. It's a reporter's personal comments about objective facts; makes one side's philosophical perspective look better than another. To check whether bias is spin, observe which explanation of an event or policy of a news story matches the liberal or conservative.
Media bias also occur by omission and Selection. Bias by omission means the media leaves out one side of a story, or one aspect of a story. Bias by omission is often related with political news stories. Omission bias is the tendency to evaluate harmful actions as worse, or less moral than equally harmful omissions because actions are more understandable than inactions. It is argumentative as to whether this characterises a systematic error in thinking, or is supported by a practical moral theory. Sometimes the media reports a story from a generous political perspective, overlooking to include facts that support a traditional point of view. Or perhaps the media reports a story from a conservative political viewpoint, without including facts that support a liberal point of view. This type of media bias is often used to define entire newspapers or networks.
In present scenario, numerous television shows are prejudiced and have immense impact on public belief. Many reports signified that there is proof for media bias. Biased media is deceptive, lacks framework, and deliberates opinions. In the news, there are biased reporting and spreading that can eventually have an influence on watchers. In media, there are many factors that are responsible for biased content. There is ethnical, racial, class, and religious prejudice within the media. Media is not always entirely honest and objective about their representation of important issues. Certain issues are made to look a certain way to benefit a certain group and influence public view.
Previous reports on media bias comes in many shapes and sizes. The first group is the impact that biased media content has on the average voter, namely their attitude and voting behaviour. The second category is the empirical studies measuring the political angle of news content in the media. Most of people who regularly watch one media outlet often hold the same fallacies about world happenings.
Many intellectuals stated that the distorted media news shown in channels depends on how the watchers processes the information presented by the media. If the audience is mindful of the media unfairness and filters it from the information, misrepresentations in reporting are unlikely to have large effects on voter philosophies. In this world, people are sensible and media bias does not influence voters. Sometimes media bias does persuade voters. This may occur because voters do not necessarily account for bias in the media.
When referring to Indian media, it is perceived that media is considerably biased. India is already the major newspaper market around the world. The media has taken some criticism in recent months for being shallow, imprecise and sometimes damagingly obtrusive.
It is observed that the contemporary media environment is more differentiated as compared to earlier time. Many experts assert that the issue of media bias is more multifaceted and engrained in interpersonal factors and philosophies. Many journalists manifests misrepresentation of news, commentary, non-fiction articles, textbooks, documentaries, speech codes and favour one side's ideas over another. Dictatorships and other authoritarian organisations which overpower freedom of the press are dishonourable for their media bias, particularly when all media are controlled directly by a one-party government. The effect of media bias depends on how the audience process the information presented by media.