Overview of lecture • Media performs checks and balances on the government. • Media conglomerates dominate and manipulate news to increase profits • Mass media has the power to shape our world views and social norms.
Types of Media Bias • Political bias: Propaganda to promote state ideology • Sensationalism: infotainment • Gate keeping bias: killing off a story or keeping it under wraps. • Placement of stories in the newspapers Learning point: Media’s manipulation of news compromises objectivity
Consequences of Media Bias President Assad: Setting programs in place to rebuild what armed terrorists have destroyed(Syrian Arab News Agency SANA) Syria accuses rebels of planning gas attack near Damascus.(Reuters) The Worst Refugee crisis in recent history: A staggering 8.5 millions refugees displaced, prompting UN to intervene. (BBC News) . Learning point: state media’s censorship leads to • Distrust of state media • inability to make informed decisions • political inaction
News Bias: Crimea Annexation Russian troops seize Crimea airbase as Moscow consolidates control Mass celebrations in Crimea: refute Western charges of annexation
Passive voice and Active voice Bias in Reuter headlines about Israelis and Palestinians "Israeli Troops Shoot Dead Palestinian in West Bank (Israel named as perpetrator; Palestinian named as victim) versus "New West Bank Shooting Mars Truce" (Palestinian not named as perpetrator; Israeli not named as victim; shooting described in passive voice. OBJECTIVELY)
Learning point: State media can manipulate news headlines to propagate national ideology and sway public opinion Compare the different headlines on the same issue
Media Bias: CHINA • State owns all mass media. No dissent against the CCP allowed. • Unverified online rumours compromise social cohesion. Internet censorship of microblogs • After Arab Spring, more blocks were put in place • Words like ‘freedom’ blocked on Google. • Facebook, Youtube and Twitter permanently banned • Google’s battle with China • Chinese are internet savvy users. Circumvent the firewall to report graft. • Citizen vigilantism: The Watch Brothers
Media Ethics • Media as a watchdog • hold political institutions accountable • Political polarisation • Whistle blowing. • Wikileaks revealed distorted information about Afghan and Iraq wars Learning point: when the government withholds the truth from the public, we rely on the media for accurate and objective reporting.
Dynamic News Production via Social Media • Citizen Journalism as a platform for different perspectives and dissemination of ideas • Constant updating: faster than traditional media. New perspectives surface every time there is a news update • Facebook and Twitter as platform for people fighting for the same social cause to share frustrations
Dynamic News Production via Social Media • Platform to network, organise and mobilise protests • Shutting down of social media sites fuels more public anger. • Female protestors challenge gender stereotypes
Democratisation of New Media • Citizen journalism empowers the people; challenges the state media’s exclusive rights to publish information. • Social media as double-edged sword: platform for democracy but also as tool of surveillance of citizens.
Social media as platform for social reform • Database of like-minded individuals petition for common cause • One Million Signature Campaign: Awareness campaigns for women’s rights • Facebook page titled ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ • Is social media a force of good or evil? • BUT people might post bigoted comments on social media irresponsibly, fracturing social cohesion instead
Media control in Singapore • Fourth estate in Singapore: supportive and subordinate not adversarial role unlike liberal democratic states. • Traditional media to counter slanted perspectives in the blogosphere. • Media Development Authority May 2014 ruling on internet regulation to ensure writer’s accountability on what is posted online • The government stance is freedom of speech must be curtailed if it compromises social harmony • Out of Bound Markers on race and religion • Elitist comments by RJC student • Public outrage of elitist comments by Anton Casey Learning point: Are Singaporeans discerning enough to handle freedom of speech?
Media control in Singapore • As the population becomes more educated and discerning, we question the state’s high-handed assumption that we are too ignorant to think for ourselves. • BUT increasingly, the government has worked to address social concerns surfaced in the online community. (housing, transport, foreign workers.) Learning point: The key is to find a balance between allowing an open communication channel with an educated and discerning populace while ensuring that policies are formulated rationally and not swayed by vagaries of public opinion.
Enduring Understanding 2 • Mass media conglomerates increase profits by manipulating news to increase consumption. • What are the costs to objectivity in having a profit driven media industry?
Making News that Sell • Spectacularisation: sensationalising news • Confrontainment: focusing on scandal rather than investigation • Sound bites: fragment politician’s discourse in catchy phrases • Depoliticisation: marginalising substantial issue discussion
Corporate Bias • Corporate bias, including advertising, coverage of political campaigns in such a way as to favour or vilify corporate interests, and the reporting of issues to favor the interests of the owners of the news media or its advertisers. Mass media is ultimately profit driven. • The journalist’s main objective is no longer to disseminate ideas and create social consensus, but to produce entertainment and information that can be sold to individual consumers. Objective, factual news reporting might be compromised in order to deliver entertaining news (which is often not objective)
Corporate Bias • Corporations, governments and media conglomerates control the media • mould public opinion to their favour • Protect their interest: close relationship with the government • Block out divergent viewpoints • News reporting that pander to the audience • Audience prefer entertainment over education • Brief news over long commentary
Media Conglomerates • Acting on commercial interests, media companies merge or acquire other companies • However, this means that media views increasingly come from fewer sources • Media conglomerates decide on the angle and perspective the news will take results in biased reporting • headlines versus insignificant news
Media Conglomerates • According to a recent Fortune 500 list, the top five media conglomerates in terms of revenue are: • Walt Disney Company • News Corporation • Time Warner • CBS Corporation • Viacom • Together, these 5 giants control 95% of all the media that Americans receive their daily news from. • These media giants dominate the top Internet news sites.
Media Conglomerates Political Clout • The entertainment industry – television, motion picture companies, music – has put $283.5 million into federal elections lobbying in the past three years. • Obama connecting with voters through Facebook • Learning Point: With their political clout, media giants have the ability negotiate favourable terms in the government.
Impact Of Media Globalization Rupert Murdoch • Political manipulation • Asked his newspapers to be favourable towards Tony Blair and the Labour Party during the 1997 elections • Morality of media questioned. News of the World involved in phone hacking scandal in 2011 • Sex & sensation formula , lowering the standards of journalism Silvio Berlusconi: Italian PM
Unethical surveillance through pervasive media networks • Computer databases that compile information about individuals are very valuable to governments and corporations. What is this information used for? • Constant surveillance by the government • Corporations want information about consumer preferences for effective marketing of products. Learning point: Government must use the information only for lawful purposes and a certain degree of our privacy needs to be surrendered in order to enjoy greater security, especially since post 911.
Enduring Understanding 3 • Mass media shapes values and norms. • Does mass media empower or disempower us? • Does it make us conform to certain fashion norms, common lifestyles, common values? • We trust the media as an authority of news, information, education and entertainment.
Construction of Reality • Media messages: pre-constructedand have attitudes, interpretations and conclusions already built in. • Media images: not a reflection of reality, but rather, a constructed interpretation of reality. • Media content is filtered through society’s value systems and limits of tolerance are negotiated by content regulatory bodies and other interest groups.
Seoul to curb ads for plastic surgery • Fuelling an unhealthy obsession with body image • Overly sensational before and after shots will be banned • Advertisements will also be prohibited in areas close to schools
Science links Selfies to Narcissism, Addiction and Low Self-Esteem • A secured person will post spontaneous pictures while a person with low self esteem will edit his photo • The more likes garnered boosts one’s self-esteem • Danny Bowman committed suicide because he was not satisfied with the quality of his selfies
Negative effects of Mass Media: Cyber Bullying [Sextortion] 17 year old Daniel Perry committed suicide after online threats to post his naked pictures online. Victims strip on Skype and later the syndicate threaten to post their photos on Facebook pages of their friends and families if they do not transfer money Anonymity of the internet gives victims the false sense of security.
Conclusion • Alternative media platforms challenge traditional media bias • Today, media conglomerates with great political clout shape media content, control the number of news sources, compromising objectivity. • Images circulated on mass media constructs social norms and standards