How does media bias or ownership affect the stories we read or see in our daily lives?
What does bias mean? Prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair. Media bias is a perceived bias which may be altered due to opinion, one-sided information or stories based on one side of the story leaving out a vital part. Media is the strongest source of information and entertainment, what we read goes into our consciousness, we absorb information like a sponge. Whether we’re conscious of if its the truth. There is a fine line between written false altered information and pure news. This essay I’ll be discussing the issue of bias when it comes to society officials who run our country and the corruption of exposing sexual assault incidences and in some cases being the offenders. for example, I’ll be looking into Harvey Weinstein's decades of abuse of almost a hundred women.
“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.”
― Judith Lewis Herman -1
The #me too campaign that went viral in 2017 started in order to expose sexual assault in this case using social media, an international platform for everyone engage in.
Corruption through power, once someone is given power they can often abuse it and take advantage of vulnerable people, for example Harvey Weinstein, the scandal of his inappropriate behaviour unfolds, after years of abusing women. Just after one woman tells their tale the rest are given confidence to come forward and speak up, hence #metoo campaign, One woman started by saying, if you’ve been affected by sexual assault, tweet #metoo, and tell your story, so people can start to understand the magnitude of this problem.
Harvey Weinstein an American film producer, considered one of the best in the world.
Many victims have come forward and told their story about how Weinstein has over time displayed many inappropriate sexual acts, he peer pressures woman promising them to help advance their careers in return for sexual favours. For many years he got away with this abusive behaviour towards women as past reports and stories were being kept in the dark by powerful people. Weinstien used his victim’s personal lives and vulnerabilities to blackmail them.
Once journalists got the assurance and the evidence to authorise his story, it was published by the New York Times. Weinstein denied it and his lawyer threatened to sue the newspaper but on the 8th of October Weinstein got sacked by the board of his film company. It was a domino affect after that, and a timeline of Weistein’s assaults surfaced with victims coming forward including Kate Beckinsale, Lysette Anthony, Uma Thurman, Lea Seydoux, Rosanna Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne. These women were all victims of a corrupt hierarchy and were taken advantage of by powerful society members. An example was of the most powerful man in the united states, Donald Trump. He defended Weinstein ’s story saying “peoples lives are being shattered by mere allegations, some are true some are false, some are new some are old, there is no recovery for someones accused life and career, is there no such thing as due process.”-tweet.-2 Which in my opinion was his attempt at disregarding the allegations made and supporting Weinstein’s abusive behaviour. This could pose serious limitations on our freedom, the future of civil discourse and the way society handle these issues. The New York Times stated: “Trump has a history of coming to the defence of accused men.”
Media bias is highly common, most of the information we read has been altered due to who’s threatened by what it reveals, An article on The Hill says “I can tell you that every day, in newsrooms around the country, stories are killed because powerful people know how to get them killed.” -3
Weinstein managed to keep his story concealed for years and is now 65. Reports have been found against Weinstein dating back to the 80’s when he first began producing. In one report British actress, Lysette Anthony, said that Weinstein had raped her in the late 1980’s and the number of women who have come forward, following in the footsteps of other victims is shocking. As a collective they gave each other the courage to speak up and it became powerful revolutionary act. The famous women who were strong enough to come forward about Weinstein gave people all over the world the confidence to share their stories. Studies show 1 in 3 women have been sexually assaulted in their life but only 5% of women come forward and report their abuses, allowing the problem to grow. Women have been made to feel responsibility and guilt toward their assaults because of the bias within our society. In the past the authorities haven’t always been supportive toward sexual assault victims and would blame them, asking questions like: what were you wearing? And what was your attitude? And stating things such as you provoked him. And so on. This approach towards victims creates a slut shaming culture and causes other victims of assault to resent coming forward and making reports.
“What if journalists acknowledged that bias does exist, that it is built into the choices they make when deciding what to leave in and what to leave out?”
There is bias within exposing these stories as honest journalists are sadly often controlled by their superiors who have the authority to shape and censor the stories they release. The superiors of journalists are often persuaded, enticed, pushed and threatened by PR companies, Crisis management specialists, global law firms, super PACs, political figures and wealthy or famous people and their own corporate bosses. An entire industry has been built around companies and operatives that strive to get stories placed, discredited, or wiped. This is a case of authority figures misusing their power to get what they want, they attack, abuse and confuse to hide any news that threatens them, which is just another example of corruption within the media.-4
In conclusion I would like to say, #metoo.
Sexual assault could happen to the person next to you and it probably has. No one can deny there is black and white in this world and it has always the most corrupt between the lines . This is not just an issue for movie stars in Hollywood and can occur anyway, anywhere. There are people in our lives who are meant to keep us safe such as police, teachers, coaches, religious figures and even security guards but the ones who we look to for protection can often be the most dangerous. I may be writing from a bias perspective but it’s because I understand and how it feels to be a victim of power abuse and to be taken advantage of by the people in our lives who were put out to protect and care for us.
Media bias and ownership affects all the information we absorb in our daily lives, therefore altering our perspectives and the way we perceive issues.
Bibliography and Harvard referencing
author: The institute, article title: which sexual harassment and assault stories should you cover, heres some guidelines. Website title: Poynter
https://www.theknifemedia.com/world-news/trump-metoo-media-putting-due-process-trial/ -tweet quote, second last paragraph -4 Website title: The knife media
http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/354754-weinstein-allegations-are-not-the-first-stories-spiked-by-media - third quote
article title: Weinstein allegations are not the first stories ‘spiked’ by the media. Website title: The Hill -3