College students find news website bias

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Tyler Hendon
MSU School of Journalism

Three college students were asked recently to examine two websites with political content revolving around the 2012 Presidential Election. The students, who were questioned on the Michigan State campus, don’t consider themselves loyal to any particular political party.

During an interview with a reporter, the students visited CNN.com as well as Foxnews.com. The three students were asked to say their initial thoughts when looking at the websites. They were also asked to compare the two sites and give an opinion on both.

Jalon Moorer, a packaging senior at Eastern Michigan University, felt both sites had biases.

“On the Fox News website the first thing I saw was a picture of Joe Biden and it said that he was telling a lie. It was kind of an interesting story when I clicked on it. I feel like the Fox site is more openly biased than others. I may be wrong, but I think it favors Republican views. I didn’t like the way it was structured either. A lot of the articles seemed pointless” he said.

At the same time, Moorer felt that Foxnews.com drew him in more.

“A lot of this is just like random stuff but I like the videos on Fox News because they are diverse. The CNN site is a little plainer and kind of bland to me. I guess its straight forward if anything, which is good for news but not really fun to browse” Moorer said.

Charles Colson, a computer engineering senior at Michigan State University, thinks that both sites have different goals.

“After looking at both of them I think you can see how they have a different message. The look of the sites is different. I noticed that on Foxnews.com there is an American flag in the corner. It stood out to me” Colson said.

Colson thinks that CNN.com favors Democratic views and that Foxnews.com isn’t fairly covering both sides.

“The CNN website seemed to favor Democrats more. There was more interesting stuff about Obama than on the other website. On Foxnews.com there’s a video of Obama from 2007. I didn’t watch the video but it looks like they’re trying to bring him down. I think that’s biased because that’s like super old stuff they’re trying to use,” said Colson.

”It just seems desperate in my opinion. I don’t like that type of stuff. The Fox News site seemed to have fewer things that are actually like real news. It’s like a lot of special interest stories. Those things are kind of funny though,” he said.

Human biology senior, Kelly Johnson, favored the CNN website but still felt both showed bias.

“Everything on the CNN site seems a little bit cleaner and more professional to me. It’s different when you get down to the bottom of Foxnews.com. The Features and Facts section seems kind of inappropriate to me,” Johnson said.

“I think it’s easy to form biases on these websites because they don’t show any representation of the other side. In a way, I think both show bias in coverage but if I had to pick one it would probably be CNN. It just seems more upbeat.”

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