For my exploration in bias, I will be investigating the article, “Pacific Life Yanks Ads After Tucker Carlson’s Dig That Immigrants Make U.S. ‘Dirtier’.” In this article, the author discusses the repercussions of some comments made in Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. Carlson reportedly said, “We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer, and dirtier and more divided.” This shows both sides of a contentious issue around immigrants today. On one side, Carlson argues that immigrants should not be permitted in this country while on the other, a company removes their sponsorship from his show because his comments do not align with their company’s views.
Although this article tries to seem unbiased by displaying both sides, the author formatted it in such a way that it displays a conflict frame. This happens in two main ways, substantive debate and heated conflict (Atkinson 2017, 36). Substantive debate is showcased in the article as the author places Tucker Carlson’s comments in between the reactions of people to those comments. Heated conflict is shown by the harsh language used by Tucker Carlson in his attempt to garner reaction from the public. He claims that the liberal population is “weaponizing social media” in order to strip him of his sponsors. Heated conflict, in this case, is not the author’s fault in the article, as she is simply quoting Carlson. Carlson’s words do, however, emphasize the substantive debate put into use by the author, further increasing the conflict felt within the article.
In addition to that, Carlson mentions a concept used in Jones’s book, Losing the News, though not necessarily in the same context. He brings up “media watchdogs.” In Jones’s book, the media serves as a democratic watchdog. This entails making sure the government is held accountable (Jones 2009, 49). Carlson, however, interprets the term as people are trying to police the media, though in a negative light, “it is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed ‘media watchdogs,’ weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech.” As we discussed in class, the media serves as a watchdog, but it is also the individual’s responsibility to critically analyze the media we are given (Kovach and Rosenstiel 2011). There is bias in the statements made by Tucker Carlson and covered by this article, and it is our job to ensure that the media we receive is taken actively instead of passively.
Atkinson, Mary Layton. 2017. Combative Politics: The Media and Public Perceptions of Lawmaking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Jones, Alex S. 2009. Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kovach, Bill and Rosenstiel, Tom. 2011. Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.