Crimea and the media – it’s all about the headlines

Photo Courtesy: Sergei Karpkhin/Reuters

Mainstream media companies are finding it difficult to remain neutral when it comes to reporting on the crisis in Ukraine.
Some articles are blatantly one-sided while others offer unbalanced points of view, but the real bias often shows up in the headlines.

Should media companies be more careful with the headlines they attach to stories?

One could argue the publications are just preaching to the choir and it really doesn’t matter what the headline claims because the target audience is already well entrenched on one side of the debate or the other.

Consumers of print copy tend to read beyond the headline and absorb the entire story, which often gives information that shows a broader picture of the issue. They might not be swayed so easily by sensational or misleading headlines.

In the case of online content, bias in the headlines might be more problematic because digital media consumers tend to get their news by skimming the headlines.

When a headline is blatantly one-sided the media organization is neglecting its duty to provide an unbiased report on the situation.

Here are two lists of online headlines that show how widespread the bias has been regarding the coverage of the crisis in Ukraine.

Russian Bias

Western Bias

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