Media bias is a serious global issue since it results in the spread of misleading information. All news from the media houses should be accurate and balanced, and they should give an almost equal coverage to people who have conflicting views. Importantly, the media should never broadcast any misleading or false news. However, the fluid environment in which businesses in the media industry operate makes it impossibly difficult for these companies to avoid media bias.
In practice, it is impossible to stop media bias since all media personalities have some level of prejudice towards various issues. Media houses employ people who do stressful jobs of gathering news in some of the most treacherous and unforgiving parts of the world. While some of these employees have definite agendas, other have specific experiences from which they view the world. Interestingly, some run against their bias by over-correcting. Finally, almost all activities in media firms are dependent on money; therefore, these companies can be easily compromised by those who pay them (Akers, 2016). In fact, in most of the late twentieth century, commercial interests made most media businesses avoid the spread of information on tobacco’s health risks (Ellman & Germano, 2009). As a result, these firms were more concerned about the commissions they received from cigarettes adverts than sensitizing the public on the dangers of smoking.
Diversifying the revenue sources for media houses can be a great way of reducing media bias. However, these methods cannot eliminate these prejudices. Some of the possible options include allocating funds to content providers using a range of voting mechanisms, subsidizing investigative reporting, creating national endowments for journalism, and financing media infrastructure (Ellman & Germano, 2009). The main challenges with these methods involve the possible shortage of subsidy funds from governments. Additionally, most governments may be unwilling to ensure balanced reporting since corporations usually fund their political campaigns.
Readers should look for alternatives to mass media for them to get credible and balanced information about the news in the mass media. Some of the options that individuals should read include magazines and information in websites. The reports from these sources can be useful to academicians and historians because it is usually accurate and can be verified. Accordingly, these sources can be used to check any information that individuals hear in mass media.
Typically, magazines are written weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or daily. As a result, individuals can be able to find historical information by checking past magazines. To verify the accuracy of the information in these publications, an individual can compare different copies of news written during that specific time. Websites show both current and historical information about various issues. In most sites, critical information is usually captured in one of their pages. As a result, individuals can always visit sites to find this news. Importantly, most news in websites is referenced using links, which enable individuals to find their primary sources.
Given the ability of magazines and websites to provide credible information, readers should consult them when they are unsure about what they have read or heard in mass media. For example, significant information about aviation can be verified in a country’s air transport regulation website or a magazine that specializes in aviation news. Currently, magazines and websites provide a broad coverage of all possible news and information; therefore, an individual should simply search sources that specialize in the information he/she wants to verify. Just like mass media, information in these magazines and websites can be biased and misleading; therefore, an individual should ensure that information in these sources is appropriately referenced and dated. Consequently, individuals should question the accuracy of information if it is not referenced, the articles appear to have grammatical errors, and if the source, on a website, has a weird looking link.
Akers, L. (2016, November 17). Reducing media bias in our newsfeeds is complicated. HuffPost. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stay-skeptical-folks-reducing-media-bias-in-our-newsfeeds_us_582d3ad3e4b0eaa5f14d406d.
Ellman, M., & Germano, F. (2009, September 18). Regulating for an independent media: The problems of political and commercial bias. VOX CEPR’s Policy Portal. Retrieved from http://voxeu.org/article/reducing-media-bias-through-regulation.