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Establishment Media Bias: An Analogy

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5/19/2015 5:15:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If you want to study illegal drugs, anti-drug institutions will be the most likely source of funding. These institutions will be pleased and provide further funding if you give them the conclusion they want. Your study will also be favourably covered by the mass media and given much attention. The government will also be pleased that you have provided support for their policies, and may reward you too. If you deliver the opposite, then you will be denied access to the great majority of funding. The media will likely attack you; you will be derided as 'irresponsible'. The government will do the same, and will damage your career. Finally, you are not a radical. The established idea is that 'drugs are bad'. You expect that your study will further confirm this.

It is clear, then, that if you want to study illegal drugs, it is very likely you will enter the research with the idea that you will find that they are harmful. There is all the financial incentive, and you don't want to rock the boat and damage your career anyway.

The media works the same way, but 'anti-drug' becomes 'pro-establishment'. This analogy might be a little outdated, but I'm sure the point remains clear.