Political Bias In The Media

Political Bias In The MediaEric Louw (2005) asserts that, “Politics, governance, and identities [have been] altered due to the employment of new media technologies.” (p. 118) By that he means that media- including television- plays a major role in changing how audiences view politics and think of political practices. Yet in bringing about that change, media professionals tend to be heavily driven by bias in presenting information to their audiences. This paper aims to discuss the role of bias in media and television programs along three broad themes: Televised personalities, spin doctoring, and lobbying.
First, since people tend to show a preference for personalities they often identify with, television professionals have shifted their focus from presenting politicians as statesmen to politicians as stars. Abrahamson et al. (1990: 17) explain this by the fact that “Television enters into peoples private homes and establishes a ‘seeming intimacy’ between viewers and communicators. It also inherently focuses viewer attention onto the personal qualities of politicians.”(1990: 83). What results from that is a bias towards leaders who have the ability to look good on television and to match body language with speech. Now, from following election campaigns all over the world, one can speak of politicians as actors, not politicians as committed citizens. By using the example of US presidential elections, one can also name Ronald Reagan and John. F. Kenndy who were chosen more by virtue of their looks and stature than by the ideas they stood for. Furthermore, in order for the televised personality bias to work, an army of professionals contributes to the process of image building and audience capturing. “Hence the growing need for backroom professionals specializing in electronic communication, i.e. minders/handlers, spin doctors and a supports staff of speechwriters, make-up artists and visual designers.” (Abrahamson et al. 1990: 13). Therefor, news…

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