is always the obnoxious red shirt, you know what I mean, the shirt that
stubbornly bleeds its hue on your other clothes, making your whites a discolored,
sickly pink. The red shirt in the news industry is the hook, the flashy,
sensational story, image, or sound that you cannot help take your eyes,
ears, or mind away from. Like the red shirt, it draws you in but eventually
discolors the rest of what you understand or experience.
· Check your facts. Always look for sources, works cited, or footnotes. If information is quoted by an "expert" - look up the expert to see what their expertise consists of (if any).
· Double check your facts. Look for the same "facts" in multiple sources. But be careful to universalize a "fact" just because it has replicated itself in a variety of sources. Especially with news stories, check facts against both domestic AND international publications. The only way to counteract bias is with knowledge, ignorance only lets it grow.
the biggest tool to access knowledge to counteract bias accounts is through
the Internet. In its current unregulated state, we can access all types
of independent media organizations. They bring a variety of alternative
viewpoints on mainstream issues and highlight the ramifications of issues
that fail to even make the mainstream news.
· Know the difference between news and entertainment. (This statement appears easier said than done- example Cosmo: sometimes stories presented as "true" but must be viewed in light of entertainment, not fact.) We should be able to intelligently judge the messages received for both news and entertainment. We should be able to deliver messages in addition to receiving them. We should know how to register objection if denied coverage of our viewpoints and prevented access to professing them.
· Embrace your subjectivity. While objectivity is an admired goal, no one can fully escape the cultural lens they see (and thus interpret) events though. Realize this and acknowledge your own subjectivity both when reading other's work as well as when it's your turn to state "the facts."
· Realizing the difference between consumers vs. citizens and isolated individuals vs. engaged communities is another step to take as well. Unlike what advertisers hope to convince us of, changes cannot be made by the individual. It takes the individual finding other individuals and forming a community; what communication is all about.