On July 10, 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump tweeted, “The media is so dishonest. If I make a statement, they twist it and turn it to make it sound bad or foolish. They think the public is stupid!” On August 10, 2016 Trump’s campaign released a statement titled, “Trump Campaign Statement on Dishonest Media.” The statement itself had nothing to do with media dishonesty, but rather the statement clarified some remarks the candidate made during a speech about gun control. Both of these statements were made due to Trump’s feeling that his words had been twisted and misrepresented by a so called liberal media machine, run by Hillary Clinton. Throughout his campaign Trump has repeatedly stated that the media is out to get him and reports in favor of his opponent Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s dissent with the media does is by no means an outlier. Most Americans, Republican and Democrat, would agree with Trump’s statement, that the media is, in fact, biased. A recent Gallup poll taken in 2014 found that 40% of Americans were not confident in the media's ability to fully, accurately or fairly report news. This distrust is not a recent phenomenon either, since the late 90s a pattern of lowered trust in media has emerged. But is this really the truth? Are media outlets inherently biased towards one group or another and is there substantial proof to back this claim? After all, most people would agree that Donald Trump’s statements are not usually entirely accurate and his tendency to overlook details is well known. In addition, national polls tend to lose some merit when sample size, demographics and other factors come into play.
This paper seeks to answer the question of media bias through the analysis of quantitative data from a variety of academic studies dedicated to this question. I hope to add to the growing conversation concerning bias in the media’s reporting for foreign events. This paper will seek to prove that bias is harder to detect in international reporting rather than domestic events due to lack of firsthand information. Using two major news outlets, CNN and FOX television news as sources I will examine this potential for bias through the sponsorships of CNN and FOX, their use of particular source materials and the psychological methods such as framing each employs.
Ferguson, Henry, "Partisanship in the Media: A Comprehensive Look at the History and Potential for Bias in News Media" (2016). Pop Culture Intersections. 17.