Media Bias: What Is It and Why Does It Matter? Reviews

Media Bias: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?: ISBN 978-1-6782-0362-7 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0363-4
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2022

A brief, basic, balanced overview.
Marcovitz opens by highlighting pretrial media comments about teen Kyle Rittenhouse, arrested for shooting three people at a protest in Wisconsin in 2020, using them to illustrate bias or the appearance of bias. Chapter 1 introduces Benjamin Franklin's journalistic advocacy of the American Revolution to help readers differentiate news versus opinion, on both left and right. Acknowledging that some news providers present fabricated stories, the author discusses in the fourth, and final, chapter the ways that news outlets' misguided commitment to reporting on “both sides” can in fact legitimize disinformation, for example in unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. Chapters 2 and 3 look at the impact of bias on the public and new forms of media: Covid-19–vaccine conspiracy theories demonstrate the effects of unfounded claims on consumers’ decision-making, and uncredentialed contributors' blogs and podcasts can reach a wide audience without engaging in proper research and due diligence. Sidebars explore topics such as a research study on bias in reporting on protests by Black activists; the use of sensationalism, as in news outlets' focus on Meghan Markle’s personal life; how journalism schools provide valuable training; and why people are prone to believing unfounded claims. Tackling a broad and complex subject in a concise manner, this is a readable, accessible guide.
A clear, useful starting point raising important issues. (source notes, further research, tips for recognizing bias, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)