August 14, 2018

Story Selection as a Form of Bias

It's easy enough to spot media bias when a story quotes spokesmen for only one side of an issue. But some biases "arise earlier, in the process of deciding which stories are newsworthy enough to deserve coverage in the first place."

This according to Hal Pashler of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Department of Psychology and Gail L. Heriot of the University of San Diego School of Law in a new study titled "Perceptions of Newsworthiness are Contaminated by a Political Usefulness Bias." The results of their study suggest that gatekeeping biases "might be strong and insidious."
The results clearly show that judgements of newsworthiness—specified as importance to a hypothetical newspaper readership—are contaminated by an ideological bias: news stories that offer good "ammunition" for the views of the rater are assigned a higher news value than those providing ammunition for the opposing view.

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