Shaping the narrative…
That was never supposed to be a journalist’s job– but, nowadays, it has become one of their main objectives when it comes to reporting.
One of the techniques that journalists like to use to ensure their viewers believe their narrative is to use words that make them sound like they know what they’re talking about.
Journalists like to use “scholarly” words in an attempt to sound reliable. These scholarly words, according to George Orwell’s 1984, “are used to dress up simple statements and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgments.” Orwell then follows this up by saying “there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in English.”
It’s a tactic to make viewers unsure of what these large and undefined words are; often, these words are rarely used in normal conversation. Journalists go to these lengths in order to promote a bias, whether intentionally or otherwise.
There is also an issue of inflammatory language.
This language is an attempt to evoke an emotional response, whether in anger or agreement, although this emotional response is not always the fault of the journalist. Some of the responses are due to the view of the consumer. One issue can have two different perspectives. There was a survey on how people, specifically those with strong opinions, view information, and it found that given two different sources, the more high-profile source will be viewed as more biased even if it was considered a “neutral” source.
Gunther, who lead the survey, says in the discussion portion of the survey that “partisan concerns about influence on others initiate or exacerbate the defensive processing that leads to perceptions of hostile bias.” He continues by saying that, at the other end, when people view “content that is more consistent with and pleasing to their own position—to be significantly less persuasive” (Gunther 2012).
This means that, when people find content that agrees with their view, they don’t see it as persuasive because it’s already considered a ‘truth’ or ‘fact’…
Because of this, partisans tend to primarily search for content that agrees with their own views. Now, due to social media, it is much easier to access this information. To go even farther, the survey noticed that those with strong views were vocally critical of disagreeing information. Content has become much more subjective and, at times, it seems it is not only because of the journalist but because of the viewer too. If biased content is what supplies views, it makes sense for journalists to continue writing biased content, and angry partisans keep fueling the fire on both sides of the aisle.
Writing objectively used to be the norm in journalism.
Now, though, this is not the case. Readers themselves have become significantly more biased, resulting in journalists writing content to meet the demands of the now-biased viewers. Viewers want content that they relate to…content that supports what they already believe. Because of this, a journalist does not typically write with an objective view.
As explained in previous sections, journalists may twist the idea of what truth means and convince themselves that they’ve written an unbiased article. However, in current times, though it IS possible, objective or neutral articles are not common. Although now, since the audience is so opinionated, the viewers will even view this neutral article as biased. “People who have stronger opinions of the viewed topic tend to view neutral articles as biased” (Partisan Evaluation).
This just shows that viewers do not know how to evaluate information properly anymore. At one time, journalists taught people how to evaluate information by presenting the facts of both sides equally and using that information to come to a conclusion. Now, journalists write to fit their views. They report what they view the truth to be. They present one side in a favorable light while they favor another in a negative one. It only takes a moment to look at headlines of popular news sources to see the bias on either side.
Writers often identify their own “truths” and then present them as facts. They know how to use language to evoke an emotional response.
Journalists used to be able to write fairly objective. However, due to the increasingly biased view of the readers, it’s proving to be harder to find objective content. Journalists create content that gets views more that reporting on the actual issues. There are only a few ways to write a truly neutral view. Unfortunately, because viewers are extremely biased nowadays, the content they see—even neutral work—is still often considered as biased.
Welcome to the news in the 21st Century.