One of the main issues involving people and their use of the media is only relying on one source of news. When you think about people only relying on one news source to forge their opinions in life, it is hard to go past Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. The news broadcasting channel has been involved in numerous scandals involving bending the truth and lying to promote the Republican party yet still holds the slogan ‘Fair and Balanced’.
The way in which Fox News presents its stories leads to many viewers forging opinions that closes them off to countering opinions from other news sources. The Shannon-Weaver Mathematical Model of Communication states that a message comes from a source who encodes the message before sending it through a channel where it can be affected by noise before being decoded by the receiver. In the case of Fox, the noise source is psychological in the preconceived opinions and bias of the network about the dystopian society in which they view the world in regards to issues like Islam and gun control.
One of the main defenses that most Fox News consumers claim which Crompton (2004) notes is that Fox was created as a “counterbalance to the perceived liberal bias of CNN”. Although this may be debatable, it is clear that Fox News has an effect on the way people forge their opinions about politics. This can be clearly seen by the Pew Research Center (2017) claiming that 40% of Trump voters’ main media source was Fox News with only 3% for Clinton. The link between Fox and the Republicans can also be seen through party donations with Lichtblau (2010) claiming that Murdoch’s News Corp. donated $1 million to the party.
So how did Fox News make a 37% difference in the 2016 US election? While watching Fox, it is hard to miss how visible the one-sided arguments are, as can be seen in the ‘On the Record’ segment on refugees. In this clip, it is very clear that the reporter and the clips shown are using language to play at the emotions of the viewer by calling the US a “compassionate nation”, referring to 9/11 and then blaming the Obama administration. On the ‘Talking Points’ segment on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ after the election, the blame is on Clinton with much praise being given to Trump with sentences shown on the screen backing this up, leading to viewers having a single mindset on the issue. This shows how one of the main issues involving people and their use of the media is only relying on one source of news.
- Crompton, J 2004, ‘The Integrated News Spectacle: A Political Economy of Cultural Performance. Peter Lang, New York p. 204
- Pew Research Center 2017, Trump, Clinton Voters Divided in Their Main Source for Election News, Washington D.C. http://www.journalism.org/2017/01/18/trump-clinton-voters-divided-in-their-main-source-for-election-news/
- Lichtblau, E Stelter, B 2010 ‘News Corp. Gives Republicans $1 Million’, New York Times, August 17, viewed March 25, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/us/politics/18donate.html?_r=1