Presented images

4. The Hidden Agenda

All forms of media, portray a hidden bias, often not easily visible to the reader. How?

Through the media format “…concealing as well as revealing, distorting as well as delineating… through its selective representations of events, issues and social groups, shap[ing] our perceptions and values… provid[ing] not only information about the world but also ways of seeing and understanding it” (Quinn, 1995, p. 7). As such it, in all its forms, is powerful in reinforcing stereotypes or breaking them down; maintaining status quo or advocating change.

Bias, understandably, may come back to the experiences and understandings of those reporting a situation, because "interpreting society and reflecting it back on itself...involves for journalists the often-unconscious recourse to dominant ideas of the desirable and the 'normal'. The reproduction of these dominant ideas through media representation is a chief component of ideological control" (Little, 2012, p. 50).  Who's 'desirable'? Who's 'normal'?

Education that involves multiple representations of reality and rigorous debate on 'What is truth?' and 'How do we know?' is essential in order to break down the bias in so much of what we read and see. This involves truly listening to diverse voices, seeing beyond the image to why that image was presented, and questioning one's own reality and identity in the desire to understand how past experiences colour the way in which we see, understand, present and interpret the stories around us.

Deconstruct Reconstruct