Media Bias in Florida’s Governorship Race
The media is a tool that usually passes information to people. The information should not forward the agenda and preferences of the individuals at a media outlet, but it should present the real and unbiased situation. The distribution and presentation manner of a vital issue by the media in an ongoing political issue often sways the hearts of people on which side to take. Media outlets understand that selectively omitting or giving a different emphasis on the real issue constitutes to media bias. The paper tries to analyze statements issued by media outlets and trying to expose media bias that is meant to affect people’s choice in a political issue or candidacy as the case of Florida’s Governorship.
In presenting two candidates, the McClatchy DC Bureau, the Miami Herald runs an article in their newspaper. The candidates are contesting for Governorship of Florida following the state primaries. The candidates’ description as follows; “39-year old conservative, U.S Republican Ron Desantis, Harvard-educated Iraq War Veteran who rode presidential tweets and FOX News interviews to a resounding win over Adam Putnam, an Agricultural Commissioner.”
The other candidates’ description by the same media outlet is as follows: “39-year old liberal who with the help of political organizations surged in the last weeks of his campaign to upset a better-funded field” (Smiley et al. N.p). The paper does not present a fair description of the two candidates by bringing out credentials for one candidate and leaving out for the other. It also seems that Desantis’ competitor was riding on luck as the last weeks were favorable to his campaign.
On the right, Desantis represents that the Republican Party and his endorsement is by 45 representatives. He is a White male that is running for to be Florida’s governor the same as Andrew Gillum. On the left side, there is Andrew Gillum, currently the mayor of the State’s Capital Tallahassee, Florida. He represents the Democrats while running for the seat of the governor. The state of Florida has never had a Democrats as the governor in 24 years. Besides, Gillum is trying to be Florida’s first black governor.
There is a difference in how both esteemed individuals’ description. The Black candidate’s description is not flattering at all. From such a description, one can indicate that they do not know the black candidate or what he has achieved. It is an issue of trust to a white person when they read the description of the individual on the left (Andrew Gillum). It is a case of how bias journalism can aid in swaying opinion towards a favored individual.
The journalist that wrote the article ignores or disregards the accomplishments of one individual they do not favor while they highlight the accomplishments of the individual that they favor. Media bias, in this case, presents the White candidate to be all things good as he is decorated and well-educated. However, the black candidate, he has nothing accomplished, not even mentioning that his current position as a mayor. If one reads his description, he comes out as plain, simple, and no experience.
The article presents a brief but full assertion of Ron DeSantis’s accomplishments. It presents that he went to a prestigious college; and a well written educational background. He has also served the America nation. Such a blatant expression aims at saying that he is worthy and good. Any individual, White or Black reading his description will picture a good and noteworthy individual of their vote.
Andrew Gillum’s description leaves out his college education or any other form of prestigious work or experience he possesses. Koh and Wilson (N.p) in another article by the Miami Herald present a short description of Andrew Gillium. Andrew Gillum’s credentials include graduation from a historical Black University, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. He is also the former Tallahassee City Commissioner. He has a record of the youngest ever city commissioner of Tallahassee at just 23 year’s old. He has served Florida as a public servant for fifteen years. However, according to the author of the biased article, his professional or personal undertakings were not worthy in trying to present him for candidacy.
The author tries to present Andrew Gillum as an inferior candidate to an individual that does not know him on the first read. The author presents these two descriptions at the very top of the newspaper trying to ascertain their ascension to the top of their party tickets. Undecided voters that read such a heading gets tainted in favor of Desantis. Gillum’s campaign could experience devastating repercussions as a result of failure to not his hard work ethic and trustworthiness in his presentation. The bias description will probably also sway wealthy and educated Hispanic and White individuals to view Desantis more positively since he went to Harvard and is a war veteran.
The description presented in the paper is not only for local readers but for national individuals that have an interest in politics. They get a plain and simple description of the Mayor of Florida’s state capital. According to Marley (N.p), she finds the description by the author as offensive but indicates that probably that most people would not consider such an idea. She insinuates that the description is meant to suggest that the Mayor was lucky as to be the Democratic nominee for a high position such as Governor. Leaving out Gillum’s credentials and trying to present them with the competitors’ credentials seems to make him look like he is lucky to be in that state.
Marley (N.p) says that the article seems to favor White politics or meant for White readers. I support such a claim as the Miami Herald Editorial Board later releases an article that seems to endorse Andrew Gillium. In the article that was released on 21st October 2018 at 2:38 pm, the authors say that Gillium will be a governor for all the people of Florida. They praise his policies by saying that he aims at people (middle class and working class) do not bear misguided spending by the state. They praise his policies on fighting Florida’s resident’s denial of health insurance by the current administration, and the fight on environmental and education issues. It seems that this other article endorsing his candidature is meant for another audience; safe to say the Black community.
Marley (N.p) suggests that the lack of touting Gillum’s accomplishments allude to Black bias in the media. She says that journalists that support the White people infect the minds of the readers. Through providing an inferior description of people of color, it makes white people construe that the people of color are not qualified, are inferior and cannot be trusted to do business in the nation. It is always Black versus someone else as depicted by the article by Elizabeth Koh, Emily Mahoney, and Davide Smiley. Their heading describes Gillum as black mayor backed by Sanders while Ron Desantis is a just a Trump-backed congressman.
Media bias makes the political race turn ugly and become black people versus white people. Such descriptions of candidates do not help the cause of trying to unite all the people. The media should provide information from a neutral point of view and let the readers decide. The media’s responsibilities include informing the people and making sure that the corporations and the government or people in it are accountable. Despite the media being able to dictate the presentation, it should ensure that certain headlines and stories shape the perceptions and decisions of individuals.
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