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This essay will engage two concepts from our last set of lectures: ideology and bias (in this particular case, media bias).
Recall that the term “ideology” refers to “a set of cultural beliefs that justify social arrangements”—basically, how people think the world works and why. In class, we discussed the ideology of meritocracy: the belief that our society provides every individual with equal opportunity, so people earn their place in America based on the value they provide to society. Other ideologies might be religious in nature, like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, to name a few; or political, such as Republican, Democrat, Socialist, etc. (A quick Google search will provide many more examples of ideologies.)
In our most recent lecture on politics, we noted that news coverage in the mass media—TV, magazines, newspapers, websites, etc.—has become increasingly biased, with different sources often reporting on the same stories in very different ways to help them reach particular target audiences. For this essay, you will compare and contrast two versions of the same news story, then explain the different ideologies expressed by each.
Your essay must contain four elements:
Two news articles reporting on the same story. You don’t have to provide an APA or MLA citation, but give me enough info that I can find the same sources: either a link to a website or the name and date of the publication; or a copy of the actual article—cut and paste is fine, scanned or photographic images…just so long as I can tell the article really exists, and I can tell who wrote it, where it was published, and when it came out. ***These should be news stories, NOT editorials. Editorials will be clearly labeled as editorials, and aim primarily to express the author’s opinion about an issue, not to inform the reader of the facts of an issue.***
Brief summaries of each of your two sources. Talk a little about the basic issue or event covered, then get into the similarities and differences between the pieces. Do they take a different tone, use different language, focus on different details, quote different people or sources, suggest different future outcomes…basically how do they “spin the story” in different ways?
Explain the ideology you think each author believes, which leads them to write about the same issue or event in different ways. Note a few details from the articles to support your claim. There’s no right or wrong here, just tell me what you think they think, and why.
Finally, close your essay with a reflection on how you feel about news bias. Were you shocked by the similarities or differences you found? Do you think it’s possible to write without bias, and should we? Or is it okay to express different beliefs when reporting the facts of events?
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