Subtle Changes In Language Create Media Bias

1809 words - 7 pages

In the past few years, the news media has become more competitive, more extensive, and more globalized than ever before. Reporting occurs in near real time from almost any location to the consumer’s television or computer screen. With so many news agencies now vying for precious minutes of a consumer’s time, it is common for a story to undergo slight alterations that make it more emotional or sensational. Several consequent transformations of the same story can lead to extreme misreporting on the actual content, and oftentimes it is difficult to ascertain what the original story was without looking at multiple versions from different sources. The purpose of this paper is to trace the development of a news story across a 24-hour period, specifically the announcement that the EU would attempt to bail Greece out of its massive debt to prevent a total financial meltdown in Europe. The story spreads throughout the world in a matter of minutes, but the real differences lie in what each outlet decides to emphasize or let fade into the background.
The criteria to evaluate each news story are common to most all articles and other news media. They include an assessment of what points possess eyewitness or other reliable testimony and which are lacking such substantiation, an evaluation of the reliability of the sources of the supporting testimonies, and some measure of the quality of the evidence presented. Other helpful criteria include whether or not the reporter makes their fact-finding process transparent, the extensiveness of their coverage of the subject, the fairness of the story in representing both sides of the issue, and whether or not the reporter places the story in context. These criteria can be used to evaluate the quality and validity of a given news report or article and point out the major differences between reports.
The first piece of news is from NPR’s Morning Edition. The writer intended it to be a short snippet of the need-to-know points of the bailout. The main points presented are that the announcement of a bailout had a much greater effect on the Greek economy than the unveiling of a reform package earlier in the week and that Germany is planning to offer unspecified aid to the country. The reporter also mentions that many oppose the bailout because they feel it will set a precedent for “eurozone” nations who encounter a similar problem in the future. There are no sources cited for the information in the piece, but the quotation is from someone who appears to be respectable. This piece makes the problem seem much simpler than the other articles do. While no citations are present, NPR is such a respected institution on its own that none seem necessary. The reporter’s work is transparent, and all of the key questions are answered, to some degree of clarity. Context is well established, and the report represents both the pros and cons of the bailout. Overall, this is a reliable piece of news.
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