Defend Yourself Against Accusations Of Media Bias with Advice from Anonymous News Website “The Doe”
Both politicians and the staff that work for them try to utilize media coverage and manipulate it in their favor. For example, a politician might accuse the media of being biased against them after an unfavorable story is published. This is why any outlet that covers political stories should make sure they’re following the standards of journalistic ethics when publishing stories. This makes it easier to deny media bias claims.
The Doe is a place for honest, anonymous articles to be published and verified. They see accusations of media bias day in day out made against news sources and understand what truly is bias and what isn’t. They’ve also had to defend their own website from time to time and have provided some advice below for the accused.
Being Accused Of Bias Is Inevitable
When covering a political campaign, you’ll come across a range of stories. Some stories you’ll cover will be favorable, while others will be negative. When covering a candidate, it’s likely that the candidate will make mistakes from time to time. The candidate could state something that’s incorrect, make some sort of verbal gaffe, or even fall on their face. It’s important to remember that reporting factual information isn’t a sign of bias, even if campaign workers claim otherwise.
Make Sure Your Stories Are Accurate
Even if a reporter isn’t biased, they might not take due diligence with their stories. This can give the impression of bias. It’s important to ensure that every political story you publish is as accurate as possible. Your story will be under intense scrutiny from campaign workers if it is negative. If you make mistakes, those mistakes will be caught.
As a reporter, it’s easy to tell whether or not a campaign will be happy with the story you’re publishing. If you believe that the story you’re about the publish will receive backlash, you should spend extra time going over the story to ensure everything stated is correct. You should take extra precautions to keep yourself and the outlet you’re publishing for protected.
Do you have doubts about any of the information in the article? If, for example, your major source is from an opponent’s campaign, you’ll want to take the time to verify these facts on your own. When reporting on this story, you should be clear about who is making accusations.
Being careless with attribution can create problems for you. You’ll want to avoid issues with attribution, even when you’re publishing a story online or making posts on social media.
Consider Whether Or Not A Story Is Fair
Even if the political story you’re publishing is accurate, it might not be fair to certain candidates. This is another reason you might be accused of media bias.
For example, if you call out a candidate for using loopholes to pay less in income taxes, you should also look at the tax returns of their opposing candidates. If you don’t have access to that information, you should acknowledge that in your report.
You have to do more than get the facts right if you want to be fair. You’ll also want to look closely at the phrasing you’re using. Techniques that are acceptable for some types of reporting may not work when you’re covering politicians.
To continue the income tax example, if you state that the amount of taxes a candidate made was “minuscule” or “minimal,” your own bias is having an impact on your writing. Instead, of making your own judgment calls, talk to experts. If someone that specializes in taxes states that the candidate should have owned ten times the amount they paid, you should quote them. If you claim that the tax information was “uncovered” by you, you’re giving readers the impression that the candidate was trying to conceal this information. However, if the information was released by a candidate, you weren’t responsible for “uncovering” anything.
How To Defend Yourself From Charges Of Media Bias
If you’d like to figure out how to fight back against media bias accusations, you may want to try making these same kinds of claims. Read other stories to look for terms that present a specific point of view.
If you’re accused of media bias because you published an unflattering story about a candidate, you should mention your more positive coverage. You don’t need to apologize for the story you’ve published, and you shouldn’t promise positive coverage in the future either. However, you should make it clear that your coverage has been balanced.
It can be difficult to convince voters that your reporting isn’t biased, especially if they’re big fans of the candidate you wrote about. You should ask them to tell you why they feel the story is biased unfair. Be gentle when defending yourself. It doesn’t make sense to get into an argument with a reader, especially if there’s no way for you to win.
The world of politics can be tumultuous. If a candidate is struggling, people may complain about the media coverage a candidate has received. If you’re more critical of your own reporting, it will be easier for you to defend yourself against accusations of media bias.