Investigate the extent to which bias in the British press conflicts with the objectivity we expect of good journalism

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Investigate the extent to which bias in the British press conflicts with the objectivity we expect of good journalism.

  Where there is journalism in the British press, there is often bias.  However, whether it “conflicts” with the expected objectivity of good journalism, or whether it merely just affects it to differing degrees for differing interest groups is the question.

  Several interest groups are important when considering this: The Press themselves, the readership and both the Government and Opposition.  

The Press

  The role of British newspapers is to inform readers of issues of public interest.  What makes the press vastly different to its broadcasting counterparts is that it is allowed to be biased.  In fact, the press has very few rules to follow, restricted only by its own self-regulation.  It is not censored; the press can basically say whatever it likes, within the law.  This can create limitations of what the press can publish, and raises the question of what is considered public interest.

  Newspapers today are characterised by an oligopoly; Newspapers are now commercialised.  Today, a major role of journalists is to not only inform, but to sell newspapers.  This has changed the nature of journalism, particularly in tabloids, into “info-tainment”.  News has become sensationalised and “sexed up”.  Therefore, although bias exists, it can be said it does not really conflict with the objectivity the readership expect of good journalism, simply because they realise what they read is accurate to an extent, and bias is merely there to sensationalise a story to make it more exciting.  This sensationalism is recognisable to an educated reader, when compared to coverage by broadcasters.  This can, however, limit the press’s appeal to the reader, as they may become disillusioned by this “commercialised news”.

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  Bias can, however, be said to be an integral part of good journalism.  Indeed, many aspects of journalism require bias.  Editorial and comment sections of the press are built on the opinions of the journalists who write them on particular issues eg, the Iraq War or Tony Blair.

  Bias in the press is a double edged sword.  For the press itself, it seems that bias conflicts little with objectivity, as firstly, everything published has to be accurate to within the best of knowledge, meaning journalists cannot let their views affect the truth, and ...

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