Option #4: Media and Bias
The media we consume affects us, but we also affect it. Most people think that they perceive truth objectively, as it is. However, we all see things from a point of view and people tend to seek media that supports their points of view. This can serve to further entrench us in a more narrow way of looking at things while at the same time making us feel more certain that our point of view is objective and neutral. We also learned in Chapter 8 that people have biases (such as the confirmation bias) that make it hard for them to embrace ideas that contradict with their own points of view. This week’s discussion seeks to explore how we can free ourselves from these tendencies.
Prepare: Read Section 8.3 in the course text on “Media and Mediated Information,” as well as Section 8.1, paying special attention to the section about confirmation bias. Then watch the video about the relationship between media and ideology.
Reflect: Think about the ways in which people consume media that supports their own points of view. Consider what we might do to learn to think more objectively and see things from multiple points of view.
Write: Express your thoughts on the following questions: To what degree and in what ways are people manipulated by the media that they consume? Make sure to give specific examples. What types of consequences can follow from people having more choices of what media they can consume? Do we control our media or does it control us? What can people do to break free from media hypnosis and have broader, more objective points of view? In what ways might we strive to overcome confirmation bias? Address anything else that you find relevant and interesting in the chapter and video.