Media Covert Bias

This lesson is motivated by the recent controversies surrounding Rupert Murdoch and News of the World. I believe this complements your Current Affairs panel discussions and is highly connected to the optional Term 3 English theme of "Media".


Journalists typically adhere, or claim to adhere to a code of ethics. This code of ethics lays out the "rules" that a journalist is supposed to abide by. Below are some rules that journalists may subscribe to:

1. Accuracy - Journalists are supposed to strive for accuracy, but something accurate may not be true. Are you able to cite examples?

2. Objectivity - When journalists stay supposedly neutral and objective, they may seem to appear balanced and unbiased. However, can unconscious and cultural bias be eliminated completely? This is the focus of today's lesson.

3. Fairness - Journalists strive to be fair, but does this fairness extend to all? In reporting about the war on terrorism, how are Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden represented? Do we hear a fair representation of them?

4. Avoidance of Sensationalism - Journalists are supposed to avoid sensationalising news stories, but nobody enjoys reading about yet another common car crash. People love stories that deviate from the norm, and sensationalism does just that. Besides, Big Media is concerned with profit-making.

Powerpoint Slides on covert bias in media (only refer to these after you've analysed the article in the attached handout below)

Hunks and Handmaidens - Analysing covert bias