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The John Griffin Narrative: Understanding Media Bias

December 17, 2021

What is Media Bias?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for at least the past ten years, you’re aware of media bias. In fact, according to a 2018 Business Insider survey, “Americans believe that 62% of the news they consume on TV, in newspapers, and on the radio — and 80% of the news they see on social media — is biased.”

For the most part media bias relates to the bias or perceived bias of journalists and news organizations in mass media. It normally implies a widespread bias that impacts the quality of journalism, instead of bias in the perspective of one journalist or article.

The Impact of Media Bias

Media bias can affect the selection of events and stories that get published, the perspective from which they’re written, and the language chosen to tell them. For example, a US publication may be known for being biased towards the right-wing. Their content would likely promote Republican ideals and candidates with stories favoring them. In contrast, left-wing media outlets would lean towards favoring Democrats. 

In some countries, media bias can go so far as to completely reflect the ideals of the governing body, for example, in North Korea. In cases such as this, media bias essentially becomes propaganda.

Whether perceived or real, media bias has a large impact on what content we read, the value we place on it, and our ability to engage with it. Biased narratives and the amplification of them can topple governments, cause stocks to collapse, tarnish an organization's reputation, skew election results, and create an environment of mistrust.

Understanding Media Bias

Let’s look at a recent example of how media bias is affecting the trending John Griffin narrative. Using analysis from Kudzu Narrative Intelligence™️ in our U.S. Media Matrix module which includes a broad range of American media sources, grouped by political bias and reliability of reporting according to several news-source rating sites.

The John Griffin Narrative

Last week a CNN producer, John Griffin, was arrested by the FBI. Allegedly Griffin lured a mother and her underage daughter to his Vermont home for sexual abuse in July 2020. If proven guilty, Griffin could face 10 years in prison at a minimum, and life in prison as a maximum sentence.

How the Left is Talking About the Narrative

They aren’t. As you can see, only four media sources have shared seven unique narratives in the past thirty days. The left-leaning sources, of which CNN is one, seem to be ignoring the narrative.

The language is very “to-the-point” as if left-biased media is trying to cover the narrative and quickly move away from it.

How the Right is Talking About the Narrative

The Right-wing media has amplified the narrative at more than 3x the rate of the left-wing media. The John Griffin narrative has been amplified by seventeen media sources including Fox News, National Review, and Washington Examiner across thirty-nine unique narratives over the last thirty days.
The right-biased media rhetoric is more focused on possible corruption at CNN as well as John Griffin’s close ties to CNN host, Chris Cuomo who has also been accused of sexual harassment and was recently fired by CNN for his involvement in his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment case.

The Narrative as Covered by Media Sources with the Least Bias

The least biased and most reliable news sources in the Kudzu U.S. Media Matrix module include WGN News, AZ Family, and The Hill. The narrative has been amplified by twelve media sources across fifteen unique narratives in the last 30 days.

The headlines, while a little salacious, front very solidly reported stories with little or no discernible bias, and the Cuomo connection is not mentioned. For instance, The Hill reports:
The producer, 44-year-old John Griffin of Connecticut, was charged with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity by a grand jury. Griffin allegedly used Google Hangouts and Kik for several months in 2020 to talk to purported parents of minor daughters, seeking their permission to train their children to be sexually submissive, according to the indictment. The government is seeking to take Griffin's Tesla, a Mercedes, his Ludlow ski house, and other property involved in the crimes.

Why Understanding Media Bias Matters

While it’s hard to completely avoid media bias, the best way to overcome it is by fully understanding what it is and your relationship to it.

Whether it’s beginning by acknowledging that your go-to news outlet has biases and making a conscious effort to identify and understand them as you read your news or by vowing to engage in discussions solely on bias-free platforms, by mitigating these biases you can take steps towards overcoming them.

One of the best ways to mitigate media bias is to consume your news through the Kudzu Narrative Intelligence U.S. Media Matrix module. Our Narrative Intelligence briefs present all the information you want with AI-driven summaries and easy-to-understand graphics.

No matter what your business is, you ignore narratives at your peril. Good data from narrative intelligence gives people and organizations the tactical edge to make informed real-time decisions that matter.

Learn more about the Kudzu Narrative Intelligence™️ platform here.

EdgeTheory technology combines human and artificial intelligence so organizations can understand and participate in the narratives that shape their world.
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