When Janine Jackson, Fair Program Director and Counterspin Producer and Host, came to speak at Ithaca College on Tuesday Oct. 25, my view of the media was not changed but rather reinforced.
Jackson has been working at the media watchdog group Fair since she was an unpaid intern. She never looked back. Now, she runs the radio show which is broadcasted on more than 130 stations in the United States and Canada. Jackson’s show focuses on corporate media news coverage with a focus on the language that they use in their reporting. She also highlights important ongoing issues that are rarely covered and often ignored by the mainstream outlets.
In her speech, Jackson argued that there is no longer an unbiased media and that journalists should no longer strive to accomplish that. Rather, journalists should strive to be accurate and transparent. She pointed out that most independent media outlets today do have an agenda and they should not be scared to call themselves advocacy journalists. It is however important that the reader/viewer is aware of the present biases.
Although upcoming independent media outlets are almost always the most accurate sources to consult, many people are not aware of the biases that they hold. This leads to a similar issue to the one that is plaguing the mainstream media. People are simply unaware or choose to ignore the fact that outlets such as ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox News are funded by large corporations and therefore only report stories that align with that company’s ideals. However, the difference lies in the fact that independent outlets state their biases, if you know to look for them. Democracy Now!, for example, has tabs on their homepage for Jill Stein, the Dakota Access Pipeline and Climate Change.
Jackson believes that the best way to make people aware of media outlet biases is by showing them data. For example, there was a study released by the Tyndall Report about ABC’S coverage of the 2016 election. It states that the outlet’s nightly news show World News Tonight devoted less than one minute of airtime to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders while Donald Trump was allotted 81 minutes of time throughout the entire year. By making more people aware of this issue, they will become more critical of the media that they are digesting and will therefore seek information from alternative sources.
Link to The Ithacan’s Q&A with Janine Jackson: https://theithacan.org/news/qa-media-critic-janine-jackson-to-visit-college-oct-25/