To what extent does bias exist in the U. K. media?

The tremendous growth in the mass media, during the post war years, has meant that people are able to get many different view points on the news and with all these opinions thrown at the audience, to create their own opinion. Or does it? In the 1800’s when the first newspapers arrived on the scene, only the rich could afford them but even on a small scale bias did exist. As the small-scale media had little impact on the way people thought, public opinion was formed by talking to work colleagues, religious influence, peers, friends and family.

However, nowadays, the ubiquity of the media has become perhaps the greatest influence.More people are able to buy a newspaper and can afford television sets therefore bias is greater affecting more people. From the “Broadcaster” magazine statistics show that the average person watches 25-30 hours a week of television and that almost 60% of people in Britain read a daily newspaper. This is a vast amount of buyers.

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The U. K. has the largest percentage of newspaper customers in the world. There are three different ways of looking at the media.

1. Does it give both sides of events in the news. 2. It could be seen as a pure, unbiased disseminator of news 3.

Is the media just there to keep the consensus of society? Bias, which is so often seen in the media, can be put under two headings, intentional and unintentional. Also, bias can occur when the order of stories are presented. Usually the most important most tragic stories are shown first, the “headline” stories. Sometimes on television news the stories, which have the best visual image, best archive, are shown first.

This can be portrayed as being bias. This is usually caused by the “gatekeepers” in the media, which filter the stories into good news and bad, things which will interest the audience and things which will not.Theoretically there are three models or views on why bias creeps into the media. – The Traditional Marxist view/ or manipulative model says that the owners of the media are of a very small number.

The owners control the media and they directly influence the content of the media. They introduce bias intentionally as they want to brainwash the mass public, the proletariats, to keep them under control in order to keep capitalism going. The media is therefore used as a tool to keep the proletariats distracted from the real exploitation inflicted on them by the bourgeoisie. The neo Marxist/ Hegemonic view states that the managers of a media company have control of the day to day running of the media.

The owners may be powerful but do not have direct control. According to the neo-Marxists, the media provide the audience with an ideology that reflects that of the managers, white, middle class, male. Alternative views may be represented but they are often ridiculed. Neo-Marxists reckon that it does not matter which newspaper you buy or which television programmes you watch because they all produce the same ideology.

The media provide the public with an agenda, topics to discuss to stop them talking about how badly treated they are at work. This prevents them from talking about revolution and instead they talk about soap operas and soap stars. – The third main view is the pluralist perspective. The Pluralists, like the neo-Marxists believe that the owners may be powerful but do not have direct control over media output.

However pluralists believe that the real power is in the hands of the general public because if they do not like or do not want what the media is presenting to them, then they will not watch or but it.If this happens then the medium will go out of business. The issue of commercial media backs up this theory. Studies by the Glasgow University Media Group, who focus on media bias in industry and politics, show how the media influence the audience and represent their articles or programmes in a bias way.

Their conclusions of their studies show different methods that the media use to create bias may it be intentional or unintentional. Their basic argument is that the fundamental reason for bias in the media is the particular worldview that journalists have. This represents the interests and attitudes of the dominant class in society.The journalists therefore take opinions of “important” people.

For example, if there was a strike in an industry, the middle class owner would only be interviewed not the exploited worker. This would therefore give a bias opinion. Words in the news would be used against the striker such as “trouble”, “pointless strike” and the worker always “demand”, it is never the owners “exploit”. The G.

U. M. G. ‘s view on this topic is strongly based on the hegemonic model of bias.

They believe that the media manipulate the audience and give them ready-made ideas so that people think that running against the norm i. . striking, so that the working class will keep to their place to keep capitalism strong. A man who is publicly opposed to the G.

U. M. G. ‘s studies is Martin Harrison.

Harrison’s basic argument is that there are certain pressures on the media and that competition in the media leads to bias, rather than the media owners deliberately controlling the bias. He says, “Television is more productively considered not as essentially one-dimensional but as conveying a range of contradictory contentions and explanations i. e. he site of ideological conflict, rather than fostering a ‘climate of conformity'”.

This means that Television shows a wide range of different views to an argument producing an open debate for the audience, rather than conforming to the normal types of bias viewpoints the audience wants to hear. Harrison therefore believes that the media try to cater for all types of people and the news gives us a consistent unbiased analysis so that the audience can come to a conclusion themselves. Some newspapers have said, historically, to be hand in hand with certain parties.For example ‘The Daily Herald’ used to be a newspaper associated with the Labour party; Daily news and Daily Chronicle, with the Liberals and the Conservative Daily Exprss.

More recently a Lordship was given to Lord Black the proprietor of the conservative ‘Daily Telegraph’ from the Labour government in order to stay ‘on-side’ with him. This shows that the Historical groups do not matter any more as the Labour government would do anything to get a newspaper on their side. Giving this Lordship would have sweetened The Telegraph’s views on the Labour Government.The media is a very powerful tool to whip up support for a certain Party and persuade people from voting for another.

In the previous General election slogans such as the conservative, “New Labour, New Danger” were used. Moving away from the political aspect of the media, newspapers can Exaggerate stories or falsify events inorder to sell more papers. For example a headlined story by ‘The Sun’ newspaper. The true story is about a five-year-old boy who is mentally disabled as he had suffered brain damage as a baby.

This meant that he could not tell right from wrong and could not communicate properly. The Sun’ horrifically amplified this story in order to make a more dramatic story “WORST BRAT IN BRITAIN”. This was in order to sell more newspapers as people love hear sensational stories.They said that the boy was very badly misbehaved and gave his more hell and that he should be stopped.

The Sun missed out the important details of why he was like that. ‘The Sun’ even took photos of the boy to use them to his disadvantage. On photo was taken of him with his fists up in the air while he was so innocently singing a nursery rhyme. ‘The Sun’ used this with the caption “would you want this boy? making him look like a ferocious little boy.

The story made life dreadful for the mother of this boy. She received threatening letters and phone calls telling her what they would do with this boy if he was their own. All of this just so ‘The Sun’ could sell a few more papers. The Sweden versus England football game when so-called British hooliganism occurred is another example of when the media got it completely wrong.

This gave the chance for newspapers and news programmes to make a thumping story about atrocious British behaviour abroad. The news gained the headline of “PROUD TO BE BRITISH? .Television news focused on the supposed hooliganism because many had good archive footage from previous acts of the British football supporters behaving badly. The story from the tabloids understood that there had been around one hundred Englishmen arrested and that rioting hooligans vandalised streets in Sweden.

They wrote that all the abuse was caused by the England supporters. In reality this was not the case. A relatively small amount of arrests were made in fact they weren’t even real arrests, they were what the Swedish call ‘cooling off periods’.This entails the person to calm down in a police cell for a few hours then they’re released.

According to Swedish papers most of the hooliganism was caused and provoked by the Swedish football fans. When the press found out that the British trouble makers had been let out after only a few hours they earned themselves the tabloid slogan of “oft Swedes” The bias in this story was unintentional. This was because the British journalists had little time to write and send the story into the editor’s room. Due to the extra pressure put upon them they had to rely on police reports, which were unreliable.

As you can be seen from the examples in this essay, bias in the media is vast. Not only can it give the audience a completely different opinion, but it can swing elections and change peoples lives for ever. The Media is ever more powerful it is even more powerful than any person or political party. Governments around the world rely upon the media to gain themselves support.

However, it can be argued that the media is just there to keep the consensus of society and preserve the ‘status quo’ which is why newspapers like “The Worker’s Union” and “The Socialist” have been wiped out or marginalized.

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To what extent does bias exist in the U. K. media?. (2018, Jun 09). Retrieved from