Shareef & Monica
 It is, expressing or dealing with facts or
conditions as perceived without distortion by
personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.
 Journalistic objectivity has two components.
 The first is 'depersonalization' which means that
journalists should not overtly express their own
views, evaluations, or beliefs.
The second is 'balance' which involves
presenting the views of representatives of
both sides of a controversy without
favouring one side.
There are some conventions in order to
attain the objectivity:
authoritative sources, such as politicians
must be quoted
'fact' must be separated from 'opinion‘
and 'hard news' from 'editorial comment'
and the presentation of information must
be structured pyramidically
The ideal of objectivity gives journalists
legitimacy as independent and credible
sources of information.
It also ensures a certain degree of
autonomy to journalists and freedom from
regulation to media corporations.
However, news reporting involves
judgements about what is a good story,
who will be interviewed for it,
what questions will be asked,
which parts of those interviews will be
printed or broadcast,
what facts are relevant and how the story
is written.
According to David Brook, a famous
American journalist there are five steps to
achieve objectivity
1. The first stage is what somebody called
negative capacity — the ability to suspend
2. The second stage is modesty.
3. The third stage of objectivity is the ability
to process data
4. The fourth stage of objectivity is the ability
to betray friends.
5. The fifth stage of objectivity is the ability to
ignore stereotypes.
What does objectivity mean to a
To be an objective reporter is to report an
event or series of events in a way that
does not reflect the reporter’s attitudes
about the events and people involved.
How much objectivity is possible?
Of three people watching the same event, one
might see a demonstration, one might see a
protest, and one might see a riot- and each will
report the incident differently.
Because psychologists have taught us that we
enter every situation with a “set”- that is, a
number of beliefs, expectations, and attitudes
that determine what we notice and how we
interpret what we observe.
Does lack of objectivity lead to
loss of confidence among the
Complaint about the lack of objectivity in
media are frequent, both in print and visual
media. It results in the loss of confidence on
the part of the news-consuming public in
what is reported to them.
The Objectivity is myth in Journalism?
 On closer examination, objectivity is easier to
define than it is to attain in practice
 Because the world is a subjective construct
unique to each person . For example
several witnesses see a traffic accident no one
could survive. Nonetheless, nobody is hurt.
All the witnesses see, objectively, the same
event. Yet, what they "see" differs
according to how they filter the
information: a devoutly religious person
will see the hand of God in sparing the
victims; a politician may see a necessity
for government action to make that
intersection safer; an attorney may see a
potential lawsuit; a sexist may blame a
driver of the opposite sex.
For the people to describe the world they
have created on the basis of what they
have perceived.
Even words are notoriously slippery
things: no word means the same thing to
everybody or even anybody.
for example
 The lead in a news story might be, "There was a
demonstration in downtown Mumbai today."
What does "demonstration" mean: a protest
march, a sales show, an example during a
lecture? Where exactly is "downtown Mumbai"?
When is "today"?
Objectivity is very hard to attain in the
present scenario where every media are
inclined towards certain policies.
What is Media Bias?
Media bias is a term used to describe a real or perceived
bias of journalists and news producers within the mass
media, in the selection of which events will be reported
and how they are covered.
The direction and degree of media bias in various
countries is widely disputed.
History of Bias in Media
Political bias has been a feature of the mass media since
its birth with the invention of the printing press. The
expense of early printing equipment restricted media
production to a limited number of people. Historians have
found that publishers often served the interests of
powerful social groups.
In the nineteenth century, journalists began to recognize
the concept of unbiased reporting as an integral part of
journalistic ethics.
Role of Language in Media Bias
 Mass media, despite its ability to project worldwide, is
limited in its cross-ethnic compatibility by one simple
attribute -- language. Language, in the absence of
translation, comprises a barrier to a worldwide
community of debate and opinion.
 The choice of language of mass media may represent a
bias towards the group most likely to speak that language,
and can limit the public participation by those who do not
speak the language.
Types of Bias
 Bias by omission : Bias by leaving one side out of an
issue, or a series of articles over a period of time; ignoring
facts that tend to disapprove their claims and beliefs.
 Bias by selection of sources - Including more sources
that support one view over another. This bias can also be
seen when a reporter uses such phrases as "experts
believe", "observers say," or "most people believe".
The stories which include experts, make sure that an equal
number of experts from both sides of the issue are
quoted. If a story quotes non-experts, check that an equal
number come from both sides of the issue in question.
 Bias by story selection - Highlighting news stories that
coincide with the agenda of one political party while
ignoring stories that coincide with the agenda of the other.
 Bias by placement - Story placement is a measure of
how important the editor considers the story and where
does he place it.
To locate examples of bias by placement, observe where a
newspaper places political stories.
 Bias by spin - Bias by spin occurs when the story has
only one interpretation of an event or policy, to the
exclusion of the other; spin involves tone - it's a reporter's
subjective comments about objective facts; makes one
side's ideological perspective look better than another.
Examples of Media Bias
 Ethnic or racial bias which including racism,
 Corporate bias, the reporting of issues to favor the
interests of the owners of the news media and the
corporate. (Eg. IPL coverage,Rupert Murdoch case)
 Class bias, Including bias favoring one social class and
ignoring the other. (Eg. Aarushi murder case, Scarlett
murder case)
 Political bias, including bias in favor of or against a
particular political party, candidate, or policy. (Eg.
Sakshi supports Congress & Eenadu supports TDP,
Jaya TV etc.)
 Religious bias, including bias in which one
religious or non religious viewpoint is given
preference over others. (Matha Prasanna case)
 Sensationalism, which is bias in favor of the
exceptional over the ordinary. This includes the
practice whereby exceptional news may be
overemphasized, distorted or fabricated to boost
commercial ratings. (Eg: Rakhi Sawant and Mika
 Ideological bias : based on personal philosophy which may
include liberalism, conservativism, progressivism,
communism, etc.
 Peer culture bias : Bias based on popular opinions of one's
peer group which may include environmentalism, antiglobalization, etc.
 Bias based on sex, age, background, education, language,
among others.
 Bias toward ease or expediency: This can be a tendency to
present information which is already widely reported in other
news media. This type of bias is largely attributed to the
relatively low cost of presenting these stories compared to
investigative journalism.(Eg. Michelle Obama pregnancy, US
elections news)
How to Detect Bias in News Media?
Who are the sources?
Be aware of the political perspective of the sources used in a
story. Media over-rely on “official”(government, corporate
etc.) sources.
Count the number of corporate and government sources
versus the number of minority voices. Demand mass media
to expand their spectrum.
Is there a lack of diversity?
What is the race and gender diversity at the news outlet
compared to the communities it serves? In order to fairly
represent different communities, news outlets should have
members of those communities in decision-making
 Demand that the media you consume reflect the diversity of
the public they serve.
3. From whose point of view is the news reported?
Political coverage often focuses on how issues affect
politicians or corporate executives rather than those
directly affected by the issue.
 Demand that those affected by the issue have a voice in
4. Are there double standards?
Do media hold some people to one standard while using a
different standard for other groups?
 Expose the double standard by coming up with a parallel
example or citing similar stories that were covered
5. Are stories on important issues featured prominently?
Look at where stories appear. Newspaper articles on the
most widely read pages and lead stories on television and
radio will have the greatest influence on public opinion.
 When you see a story on government officials engaged in
activities that violate the law on the back pages, call the
newspaper and object. Let the paper know how important
you feel an issue is and demand that important stories get
prominent coverage.
For the Consumers…
 The real purpose is to identify some of the systemic
causes for what appears to be a bias in the news media.
Most journalists sincerely believe they are doing the right
thing -- and they probably are. But some of the macroscale factors at work around them make it impossible for
their work to seem neutral or fair or balanced, no matter
how hard they might try. The better we understand those
larger factors, the better we're able to change our
expectations as consumers and address those larger
factors in a way that could make reporting better for
Points to Ponder…
 Government and advertisers are the greatest sources of
revenue for the media. So is the media justified to be biased
towards them?
 The demand for sensational news is more, so should media
cater to their consumers demands and be biased towards
sensational issues over the important ones?
 Are the journalists justified to be biased towards the side they
feel is more truthful?
 What could be done to check bias in the media?
 Mass media not only report the news—they also literally
make the news. Do you agree with this statement ?
 Does lack of objectivity lead to loss of confidence among
the public?
 How much objectivity is possible?