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Detecting Media Bias

Updated on December 14, 2016


On January 15, 2013 New York State governor Andrew Cuomo pushed through the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE ACT). This law will require gun owners to renew their handgun licenses every five years, limit the number of rounds allowed in a magazine to seven, the registration of ammunition sellers and buyers. This law also expands the assault weapons band to include some semi-automatic rifles that are popular and formerly legal. On March 21, 2013 the NRA, sportsmen’s groups, firearms businesses and individual gun owners requested an injunction to stop this new gun law. These groups feel that the NY SAFE ACT is a violation of our constitutional rights. The suit says “Criminals have and use magazines without any limitation in capacity. The act’s provisions on magazines put law-abiding citizens at a grave disadvantage to criminals, who will not comply with the seven-round limit”. ("Nra affiliate files," 2013) The governor feels that this law will make the citizens of New York State safer.


I would say that this article gives a clear and accurate picture of the situation, but it does not go in to much depth or breadth of the story. The article gives a good overview of the situation but does not go into a lot of detail on the story other than to go over a few of the main points. The only points of view that we see in this article are from the governor and the plaintiffs in the injunction. Even though we do not hear much from outside sources in this article, we do hear from both sides on this argument and how each side feels. I feel as thought this article did not do a very good job on explaining a lot of the facts of the situation. Even though this topic has a large amount of potential for bias, I do not feel as though this article is bias in any way. I do not see any bias in this article because it is not lopsided in either direction and does not show support for one side over the other. Overall this article is mostly a quick overview of the situation on Governor Cuomo’s New York State gun laws and the injunction filed against it by the various people and groups that oppose it.

No Assumptions

It is important to make distinctions when undertaking a critical evaluation because there is no room for assumptions. Making distinctions forces one to dig deeper and give an issue the time and attention it deserves before passing any type of judgment. If we do not give the issue the time and attention it deserves before passing judgment you are showing a certain amount of bias yourself. Making a distinction also promotes reflective thought allowing one to examine all of the evidence presented. When using critical evaluation it is important to remain objective and consider things such as the tone of the article or who the writer’s primary audience is. Understanding audience can change the entire meaning of a piece of writing. Some news outlets play to the left and some play to the right when it comes to politics, so knowing the target audience can change the meaning of the article.

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If I heard this article on the radio or on the television I would evaluate it a little differently because other factors might play a role in the meaning of the article. Which station and which reporter would have an effect on how I evaluated this story along with tone and body language. If I heard this story on a station like fox news I might think that the story is a little bias towards the people and groups against the law and if I heard the story from a reporter on msnbc I might think the story is a little bias towards the governor and the new gun law.

Stay Objective

When it comes to determining whether or not there is media bias in the articles and stories we read and see in the news, we have to remain objective and we have to make distinctions. Keeping in mind who is reporting the story and who the target audience is can help you to determine whether or not there is any bias in the story. We have to be extra careful when it comes to topics concerning politics because that is where we will find the most bias. Everyone has their own opinion, but when it involves reporting the news we have to be critical thinkers to determine how we feel about all topics and not just agree with the person or station doing the reporting because if you change the channel you might get a completely different opinion. We all have to be our own person and to accomplish this you have to remain objective and be a critical thinker.


Nra affiliate files federal suit in attempt to overturn ny gun restrictions. (2013, March 21). Washington Post. Retrieved from affiliate-files-federal-suit-in-attempt-to-overturn-new-tougher-ny-gun- restrictions/2013/03/21/e721e3ee-9262-11e2-9173-7f87cda73b49_story.html

Nra affiliate files federal suit in attempt to overturn ny gun restrictions. (2013, March 21). Washington Post. Retrieved from affiliate-files-federal-suit-in-attempt-to-overturn-new-tougher-ny-gun- restrictions/2013/03/21/e721e3ee-9262-11e2-9173-7f87cda73b49_story.html


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