Sunday, March 1, 2015

Potential Biases in Keystone Coverage

Over the week, I watched this segment of "Meet the Voters with Chuck Todd" on those affected by the Keystone XL pipeline.

After reading the Graber, I thought of number of possible affective biases contained within the piece. Although I appreciated the variety of viewpoints presented, I thought the information was episodic and maybe even sensationalized, as they interviewed only those with definite opinions on the issue. \

Once woman from Nebraska whose family farm is in the pipeline's proposed path is against the measure. "There isn't enough money on earth to pay us to believe in this project," she says.

On the other hand, a man who accepted the payment from TransCanada, the energy company contracted to work on the pipeline, does not understand opposition. He recounts, "They sent us a check and that took care of it...I can't see why they're complaining about it."

In addition, the local Sioux tribe remains skeptical. According to one memeber, "The land is like our grandmother." They simply cannot sell of or risk their land.

I worry with this coverage, though it is balanced, people will only identify with the opinions with which they already agree. None of the interviewees were truly conflicted, and that is part of the media's affective bias for episodic and sensational coverage. The way the piece is structured may lead prevent viewers from putting together a thematic narrative, allowing for action. Moreover, the spinets may perpetuate divergent views, leading to polarized opinions on the issue.

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