Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Ways That News Agencies Inaccurately Portray Protests:

1. The news always focuses on the smallest hint of violence.

"If it bleeds, it leads" is still an accurate depiction of what drives news corporations today. When the people of Ukraine started protesting, international news agencies weren't very involved. The protests were purely peaceful and appeared to be more of a concert at times than a protest. The country's pop stars were performing for protestors while EU flags fluttered in the air. It wasn't until the police started using clubs on the demonstrators that major news agencies got involved in Ukraine. 

2. The news doesn't usually show how daily life is affected.

During every protest, but daily life must carry on. During the Arab Spring in Bahrain, some protestors would go shopping at the mall right before heading over to the Pearl Roundabout. Restaurants stay open and sometimes businesses actually profit more from the demonstrations. When the Ukrainian people showed their desire for EU membership, many small shops were selling EU flags and clothing. On rare occasions, daily life is halted altogether. When Ukrainians started protesting against Yanukovych, many people from all over the country went to Kiev and started living in tents. People stopped working at their job for weeks and depended on soup tents for nutrients. 

3. In a large event, sometimes protests are not even heard of. 

The Arab Spring was one of the largest movements in the past decade. With so many protests in numerous countries, the news couldn't always keep up with all of the protests. In Bahrain, there was a mass gathering of several thousand people. It wasn't shown in international news because they were focused on Libya at the time. Of course, Bahrain was later shown in international news once violence began. In other Middle Eastern countries, there were protests that major news agencies didn't even mention and perhaps didn't even know about. 

4. Sometimes the amount of protesting is exaggerated.

When we see a protest happening in one place, remember to think about what's happening in the rest of the country. In Ukraine, the majority of protesting was hosted at the city center of Kiev, Maidan. For many weeks, Ukraine only had demonstrations in a few cities while the rest of the country was quiet. This doesn't mean that the rest of the country didn't care. On the contrary, tens of thousands of people drove to Kiev to join the protesting. Perhaps the entire country cares, but rarely is the entire country awake all night to protest.

5. News agencies ALWAYS have a bias.

This is best seen in RT news. RT is funded by the Russian government so its bias is often easily seen. Several years ago, they reported the the U.S. was on the brink of revolution. The news reporter was in New York City interviewing people who told how the U.S. was about to crumble. The people they interviewed were few and they didn't appear to be the most credible. RT focused on these individuals only because they provided a story that RT was looking for. In regards to Ukraine, RT is one of the few news agencies that supports the actions of Russian aggression. Two of the employees of RT America actually spoke out against RT's stance on Ukraine. All news agencies have a country they call home, and the bias of that nation flows into the news whether for good or bad. 

Use this info to understand how to view the news from the agencies, which have faults. Do you see some of these faults occurring more than others? Comment below!

1 comment:

  1. Take those news agencies to task, Nigel! I heard none of the major news agencies reporting from Iraq ever went into the field. Many reporters stayed in a local hotel, far from the fighting. Those are reports you can trust, right?