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The BoF Podcast | Blindspots and Biases: The Role of the Media in a Fractured World

MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin on the role and responsibility of the media amid misinformation and disinformation.
The BoF Podcast | Blindspots and Biases: The Role of the Media in a Fractured World

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Background:

We are in an age of non-stop information. Thanks to the 24/7 news cycle, which lives on social media, on television and constantly-updated web pages, it has never been easier to have a grasp of what is happening in the world.

However, as access to information has spread, so has the proliferation of misinformation, warns MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin, which can have dangerous consequences. While many news consumers attempt to take a balanced approach, Mohyeldin challenges everyone to question the media they read, watch or listen to.

“Look at the accounts and sources of news that you read and follow at home,” she said. “How many of them challenge you to think outside of your comfort zone? How many of them force you to think harder about your own values and beliefs and why you hold those positions so dearly?”

This week on The BoF Podcast, Mohyeldin shares the power of journalism to share stories and why information and humanity are at the heart of this process.

Key Insights:

  • Mohyeldin believes that journalism plays a powerful role in how society operates. “Some of our greatest societal achievements happen when we are all informed, when we are aware, when we are free to talk about our challenges,” says Mohyeldin. “Journalism plays a vital role in holding officials accountable.”
  • However, journalists are also people, which means that there will undoubtedly be unconscious biases that seep into coverage, says Mohyeldin. “[Journalism] will always have problems. It will always have human error baked into the equation.”
  • How the media present information about crises around the world can play a large part in how communities’ perceive the need for aid or become desensitised to a region’s plight. “How the media chooses to humanise and personalise the stories of those suffering plays a very important role in how we as a people, as governments, as societies, respond to these crises when they do emerge,” says Mohyeldin.
  • While technology and social media has increased the amount of information available and the speed at which people can consumer it, Mohyeldin warns of the responsibility we have as consumers to distinguish what’s true and what’s not. “I want to implore you to give yourself time before you hit, retweet or share,” says Mohyeldin.

Additional Resources:

  • BoF VOICES 2022: Finding Optimism in an Unsteady World: From the Ukraine War to the climate crisis to the legacy of the pandemic, speakers including CNN’s Clarissa Ward, Mercy Corps’ Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Goldman Sachs’ Tim Ingrassia and Google X’s former chief business officer Mo Gawdat discussed the uncertainty gripping the world — and why there’s cause for hope.
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