Media Bias

Media+Bias

Carys Maynard, Reporter

When a kid reaches adolescence, they become acutely aware of how much things revolve around politics. This is even more obvious with today’s political climate. So how does one stay informed? A survey found that students at OHS get their news from a variety of sources.

A large amount of students confessed to getting their news from their parents and from others around them.This brings up the question: Why?

Ms. Udo, the school’s librarian and one of the leaders of a project to teach teens about source credibility believes that while people care to a certain extent if the information is true, they will also go for “The path of least resistance – meaning they are not likely to put forth much effort to determine whether or not it is accurate, especially young people.” It is interesting to hear what people will use to determine whether a source is trustworthy, even if it is actually biased or is misinformed.  Udo believes that sources that are popular or well-known tend to be more easily trusted. “If they hear about something from multiple friends, teachers, family members – then it must be good information.” Some are just content with a gut feeling, something that tells them a source is credible. Udo warns against this too, saying “Over the years I’ve learned that my “gut” can’t always be trusted…Misinformation isn’t always obvious, you really need to be willing to put in the work to determine credibility.”In an unexpected twist, social media came out with a surprising number of people looking to apps like Instagram, Snapchat and even Facebook for online articles and headlines.

Bias, which is something that has been brought up more than anything else, was raised and Callum, a freshman,  thinks that bias has affected the credibility that we usually associate with news. “…People are biased everywhere…” he says.  When asked if interpretations of facts have changed, he replied that “Facts…have more credit [but] less things are facts.”. Lyric, a Junior, also agrees. “Our president has said you can’t trust it[the media]…People on the right might be more inclined to believe it.”

A surprising number of students admitted to getting their news from word-of-mouth or more commonly, their parents. This is unprecedented considering the fact that these same students will be the ones who will soon become adults, who’s lives might depend on their staying informed. It might pose an interesting question about why so many students didn’t show any interest in world events. The news cycle has shifted its focus on to negative stories. This makes sense considering that negativity has been shown to get more clicks, or more viewings. It plays into human emotion. You are more likely to share something if you are angry, not sad. Outrage culture has formed out of this obsession with negativity, and that certainly has not helped with the political discourse going on right now.  It’s sort of ironic, we are told to focus on positives as a society, yet we are constantly surrounded by a negative newsfeed. No wonder kids sometimes just want to check out for a bit.