Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bias Newspapers

The Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register are the two of the most storied newspaper franchises in California. The Los Angeles Times, or L.A. Times, is one of the oldest newspapers in California and is the second largest metropolitan newspaper circulating America today. On the other hand, the Orange County Register, or O.C. Register, is the third largest newspaper distributed in California behind the L.A. Times and San Francisco Chronicle. These two Pulitzer Prize winning newspapers account for a vast majority of the news we receive today. Meanwhile, there is a distinct political bias in these two competing newspapers and one issue in particular where bias opinions are explicit is an article pertaining illegal immigration. Through there respected newspapers, there is a clear liberal bias in the Los Angeles Times towards illegal immigration and a conservative bias in the Orange County Register. These biases are made clear through the newspaper’s language, coverage, and favoritism. These two political parties have opposing beliefs on numerous issues. Generally, liberals are convinced that it is the government’s duty to alleviate and solve the necessary problems in order to achieve equality. Conversely, conservatives mainly believe in limited government, individual liberty and responsibility. Thanks to the Arizona immigration law, there is suffice evidence showing these two opposing sides.

One technique the Los Angeles Times uses that shows their liberal bias is through their text and language. From a liberal point of view, immigration is necessary and supporting the rights for undocumented workers receiving the education and health benefits as that of the citizens is imperative. Although they do not say it outright in the L.A. Times, we can get the sense that they support immigration as opposed to the O.C. Register. In an L.A. Times article regarding Arizona’s immigration law reads, “Critics contended it would lead to racial profiling.” In this statement, they are generalizing their beliefs and jumping to conclusions. On the other hand, in the same article regarding Arizona’s immigration law, the O.C. Register simply states, “the law gives law enforcement the authority to check immigration status of anyone detained by police.” This differs from the L.A. Times by almost softening the subject and avoiding the fact that racial profiling will escalate due to this law and this plays right in to the news bias. Since the Register is bias towards conservatives, they believe that those who break the law by entering America illegally should not have the same rights as the ones who obey the law and enter legally. Using their text and language is effective in its own way by giving the readers their point of view on the issue of immigration.

Another technique these two competing newspapers use to demonstrate their political bias is through their coverage. In the same Arizona immigration law article, the L.A. Times covers interviews within the article with protestors all in favor of banning the law. This is a typical and effective technique because it gives an outside reference masked with bias. Throughout the article, coverage of interviews conducted repeatedly is presented with references to the constitution and civil rights. In contrast to this is in the O.C. Register; where there are interviews conducted with anti-illegal immigration activists. In the O.C. Register’s version of the article on Arizona’s immigration law, an anti-illegal immigration activist reportedly claims, “The court’s decision was distressing but not surprising.” The activist later goes on to say, “the court is known for leaning liberal.” This quote by an anti-illegal immigrant activist is effective because it also gets a conservative perspective from an outside resident in attempt to relate to the reader.

The last technique the L.A. Times and O.C. Register use to promote there political perspective is through favoritism. These newspapers illustrate their favoritism through images. The image shown in L.A. Times for the Arizona immigration law article is that of a police officer forcefully guiding along a handcuffed Hispanic woman. The image is pretty self-explanatory and fits the L.A. Times in the sense that because liberals oppose the Arizona law on immigration they show the negative affect of the law via picture. Whereas in the O.C. Register article, the picture they have is of a man waving their state flag with a description that reads, “I am an American and I am proud of this country.” This picture demonstrates the Registers support for the Arizona immigration law by having their picture depict pride and patriotism. This also proves my point that these newspapers play favorites. To me, this is the strongest evidence that there is a political bias in our local newspapers simply because it is an image and most people now prefer pictures for immediate news and it is relatively blatant through these images of the political perspective.

The Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register are the two top newspapers in California, yet they present a heavy dose of bias in their newspapers. It is apparent that they demonstrate these bias opinions through language, coverage and favoritism throughout their articles. In particular, when both newspapers cover the same Arizona immigration law, all three techniques are on display. Since the Los Angeles Times is predominantly a liberal ran newspaper, they oppose immigration law and support the rights for undocumented aliens. Conversely, the Orange County Register is predominantly conservative and they support the Arizona immigration law and oppose amnesty for those who enter the United States illegally. The liberal principle of the L.A. Times is obviously shown in a picture depicting a police officer passionately taking away a Hispanic protestor. The Register unveils its conservative principles best also through an image in their Arizona immigration article. Although I do not think newspapers should be bias to any political party, but in the end it is everywhere in the news and each station, paper and site have their own bias opinion.