Mainstream media coverage of economic issues does not do a good job of providing the perspective of workers, and generally overrepresents the perspective of business. This means the media often fails to uphold its standards of fairness and balance, and that members of the public do not receive all of the information they need to be good citizens. Such biased coverage potentially affects the public’s views and behaviors in significant ways, including helping determine how people think and vote.
Coverage of economic issues, such as credit card debt, that are viewed through the perspective of the consumer, tend to balance the views of business with the views of ordinary citizens. On these issues, the media demonstrates that it can find out how complex economic issues will impact ordinary people and present the news from their perspective.
As a result, media is capable of providing much more balanced coverage of economic issues than it currently provides. If the media covered the economy the way it covered credit cards, then the perspective and views of workers and their unions would be given the same weight as those of business, and the public would have a much better idea how policies of major importance impact ordinary people.
Balanced coverage of the economy will require action from both the news media and concerned citizens. Members of the media should educate themselves about how they typically cover the economy and think through ways of doing a better job of providing the worker perspective in their coverage. Editors and journalists should institutionalize the need to at least consider the worker perspective in the same way they consider both sides of a story. Concerned citizens should remind the media that coverage isn’t balanced and pressure them to change.
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