Pizza and Politics Discusses Media Bias

Posted: November 08, 2019 | Author: Tiago Rodrigues da Costa | Read Time: 2 minutes

students participating in Pizza and PoliticsDuring this week’s Pizza and Politics hosted by Southern Utah University’s Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, students discussed media bias. Presented by executive member Savannah Robinson and fellow Karoline Taylor, the discussion covered freedom of press and expression, social media ads, state-owned versus private media, and media at SUU, among other media-related topics. 

Questions like “Why it’s Facebook free?”, “Should biased press be regulated?” and “It’s the people’s responsibility to avoid media bias?”, were presented. 

When it comes to media, there are questions asked by current generations that are totally different than the previous generations. Many things have changed the way media is presented. The internet revolution was positive for access but opened space for misinformation. The competition among media allows media to be emotional, and that emotion triggers a point-of-view or a media bias.

The conversation started with a discussion around three different types of bias: centrist bias, which eliminates political views on both sides, liberal bias, and conservative bias.

Although students in the room stated freedom of the press is crucial in the United States, most of them recognized media bias may be a problem. In fact, a study by Gallup in 2017 shows 73% of the American public thinks the spread of false information on the web is a major problem.

When the conversation centered in the advertisement seen in social media and the problems around it, the question Should social media be regulated? was asked. One of the students in the audience said the problem of social media is that users are not the costumers, but the product. And that’s a reason why social media corporations make money and influence policy.

In terms of state-owned media versus private media corporations, student moderators explained how in some countries, news-channels are owned by the government, and in some cases, the government even controls the editorial content. The response from the students was clear, the United States, which was founded under a clear idea of freedom of speech and press, is not the place where people would support the government owning media channels. 

The discussion was brought back to the SUU campus, and students discussed media on campus. Several students in the audience had worked with the SUU Journal.  And students expressed their dislike that the Communication Department controls much of the Journal, both financially and editorially. 

The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service hosts Pizza & Politics every Wednesday at noon to discuss current political and social topics. Students at the Leavitt Center research, present, and moderate the discussions. These discussions are aimed to expose the student community to a variety of important issues and encourage them to share their own perspectives while learning the other sides as well. Free pizza is provided for all attending Pizza & Politics. 

Tags: Leavitt Center

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