Bias in Printmedia

May 9, 2018 Health

Print media provides its readers with information, but what the reader very often does not recognize is the bias within the articles. Bias is not so easily recognized. Writers have the gift to blend the bias in with their work. It is so well done, that in order to see the bias, one must thoroughly analyze the article. A person must also know what the types of bias are and how they are used. There are many different types of bias that are used in health related articles such as statistics and crowd counts, word choice and tone, and through omission.

Print media demonstrates these types of bias in many articles. One method of bias being used is print media is through statistics and crowd counts. A writer can manipulate the reader into thinking that the results are very high or very low in some cases. In The Toronto Star on October 23, 1 999, the article ” Pregnancy biggest threat to women, V. N. Says” Uses statistics to give an estimation, ” an estimated 585,000 women do every year”. This article explains how pregnancy affects many women. By using this statistic, it gives the reader an approximation, but not an exact number.

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This is used to make the reader think that the statistic is very high. Another article in The Toronto Star, “Tamil health crisis probed”, on October 29, 1999,demonstrates bias by saying, ” At least 70,000 people”. The article is talking about the Tamil community and how 70,000 people have been affected, but it does not give the amount of people in that community. This type of bias is often used in print media to make an article more important than it is. Bias through word choice and tone is often used in print media sources.

By choosing specific words, the writer can easily influence the reader’s opinion about the article. Certain words give the reader a different meaning. In an article, “Health care to receive $3. 8 billion injection”, in The Toronto Star, on October 22, 1999, the Governor, Hilary Weston, is reading a passage from a “throne speech ” given by the government to introduce a Patient’s Bill of Rights. By using the word, throne, the writer suggests that the speech given is very important. During this speech, there is a “caucus chuckle” from a Liberal at the meeting.

The writer uses caucus to indicate that it is more than a normal chuckle during an important speech. This bias is used to manipulate the reader into thinking that the Liberal is careless about the governments speech. This type of bias is shown in many print media sources to create an image of something that might not be there. One of the strongest types of bias is through omission. It is easy for a writer to leave out facts, whether they are important or not. By leaving out certain facts in an article, it only gives the reader one side of the situation.

A writer can either give the good side or the bad. Very rarely will a reader get both sides of the product or incident. The Globe and Mail, on October 7, 1999, demonstrates this bias in the article ” To your health”, by printing about how alcohol can “help repair liver damage”, but what it does not print are the negative effects alcohol can have on people. The readers read the good in drinking, but they do not see the other side effects of doing so. The Toronto Star, on November 1, 1 999, in the article, “Chronic sleep debt may raise risk of diabetes”, also sees bias through omission.

This article talks about how less sleep can harm a person’s health, especially the younger generation. When the actual study is done, the only people tested were young males, eliminating the females and the elders; “the study involved 11 healthy young men”. Although the study is done, the only results given are for young men. The body of a man and a woman are different; therefore, both need separate results, as well as elders. By only printing the results of the men, the article has eliminated the women and the elders.

Eliminating certain information can leave the reader unaware with the information given. Omission is a strong type of bias that is used in many articles. Although bias is hard to point out, it is often there. Some are drawn to an article because of the types of the types of bias that have been used, such as statistics and crowd counts, word choice and tone and omission. Statistics and crowd counts give an estimated amount of people or things, but barely ever give an exact number. Word choice and tone can influence the reader’s opinion about the article.

Omission only gives one thing Or the other, leaving the reader unaware Of the other side Of the situation. By using bias in print media sources, a writer can manipulate the reader into believing something that might not be true. The writer has many ways to blend in the bias with their article and it is often done so. The reason for bias is to attract the reader into reading certain articles that might be passed by. Articles should be read and analyzed thoroughly in order to get the full meaning of what is being said.


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