What Is Ideological Bias in the Media?

Ideological bias in the media refers to decisions by editorial staff and journalists to shape the presentation of news stories to suit particular political opinions. While the ideal in journalism is to produce objective content, doing so has proven extremely difficult, according to the New York Times.

The New York Times asserts that recent examples of ideological bias in the media include the trend toward "bipartisanthink" and the media's desire to "lead the conversation." "Bipartisanthink" is a belief in the Washington press corps in which politicians who move to the ideological center and are willing to make deals are better leaders than those who stick to their ideological guns. The idea is that passing legislation is progress, even if very few of the legislators know what is in the laws they are passing or if those bills are too watered down by compromise to have meaningful effect.

When the media decides to "lead the conversation" and start a national dialogue about a particular issue, the risk is that the media also determines where the conversation should lead. Issues like gay marriage, gun control, immigration and other controversial matters appear frequently in the media, but the fact that the media determines who takes part in conversations and often writes the talking points or central questions means that there is an inherent bias in the whole enterprise, according to the New York Times.