Are Journalists Politically Biased?
A common complaint heard about the media and journalists is the bias shown in their articles. You often hear terms such as ?the liberal media? or ?not fair and balanced.? I myself always had assumptions but was not completely aware until researching for this assignment. The tanning bed tax is a tax that was placed in President Obama?s Health Care Reform Act. It took effect July, 1 of this year. Using this tax as a baseline, I reviewed many sources and found that without a doubt the media and journalists are biased.
I reviewed six sources of internet media for research. I was able to find two sources that were liberally slanted, two sources that were conservatively slanted, and two that I perceive as fair, balanced and even. Unfortunately the amount of coverage each source gave to the tanning bed tax was very different.
The most biased article I located pertaining to the tanning bed tax, happened to be the one most prominently displayed. The news video titled ?Burned ?Tanning Bed Takes Effect? is very prominently displayed on the Today?s show website. In fact this video clip was featured above news from the Gulf, and coverage from the war. It received in-depth coverage as well as follow up coverage. This video clip (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/36740125/vp/#38034209) explains that the tanning bed tax is going to be used for health care for the people using the tanning beds after they get cancer. It downplays the economical significance such a tax could have on business owners and portrays opponents of the tax a nothing more than blowhards. There is no mention of President Obama, very little mention of the Health Care reform Act, and very little factual information given.
Another article that is liberally slanted comes from CBS News. The title of this article ?New tax on indoor tanning bed takes effect?. This seems innocent but the bylines under the article read; Tax to Raise Money for Health Care, Fight Rising Rate of Melanoma as New Research Points to Increasing Danger of Tanning Beds. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/30/eveningnews/main6635131.shtml) though this article sounds as if it to be about the tanning bed tax, there is little to no mention about it. The entire article is about skin cancer. There are no expert sources in the article, but rather people who have skin cancer and are anti-tanning beds. The article shows very little balance the only reply from the other view is one small sentence at the very end of the article. It says ?The industry argues tanning is safe in moderation.? Though this article was not as prominently displayed as others, it is worth noting it did not rank as high as the article ?Where will Lebron James Go??
I had to conduct a search to find an article about the tanning bed tax on the conservative website cnsnews.com. The article that came up was titled ?Tanning Industry Burned over New Tax.? The article uses elected officials as sources, but only focuses on the opposition of the tax. It made little mention of melanoma, and health care, but rather focused entirely on the effect the tax has on small business owners and how many people will lose their jobs (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/68892).
Another article that focused solely on the loss of jobs and the absurdity of the tax came from foxbusiness.com. The article was a little more prominently displayed compared to the cnsnews article, but still difficult to find. This article contained an interview from the President of the American Indoor Tanning Association. It is titled ?Tanning Tax will hurt small business? I don?t need to even summarize the article to explain which way the article is slanted. The article uses adjectives such as ?betrayal? ?picked on? One excellent point the article brings out is that it states the tax is not about protection and information about health risks. It states that health clubs with tanning beds are not taxed and only stand alone tanning salons are taxed (http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4266479/tanning-assoc-pres-tax-will-hurt-small-businesses).
Unfortunately the only article I came across that details both the effect on small businesses and the benefits of the tax was so small and so hidden on the webpage it made it next to impossible to find. It gave just the basic facts and did not provide any in depth coverage or primary source information (http://abcnews.go.com/politics/tax/story?id=101906417page=3)
It is unfortunate that many people do not realize or are apathetic that the media has