Prejudice in the Press?: Investigating Bias in Coverage of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Religion
George Yancey and Alicia L. Brunson
Charges of “fake news” tend to be politically motivated whether made by Republicans or Democrats. Yet the potential for media bias is real and deserves an honest assessment.
Using an audit technique—providing journalists with similar scenarios but altering key details—the authors evaluate whether reporters and editors write different narratives depending on the characteristics of the principle issues in the story. The results indicate that race, gender, sexuality and religion have little effect on whether a story will be covered, but do color the story that is written.
Data suggest that news personnel may be operating in ways that promote progressive political leanings. The results of this study are important for journalists seeking to move closer to objective standards of reporting.