Whenever I open Western Media I see negative news about Western countries like US, Britain etc. For example, I see videos insulting/making fun of the very president of USA, of gun violence, racism, etc. In the UK, there are videos of stabbing incidents, some religious violence (something about Hindu vs muslim or something similar). While all of these incidents may have actually happened, it is bit fascinating they are pinned up to the extent that they are.

I think that if any normal person opens the western media reporting about western countries, they will think they are somehow being depreciating but yet on most measurable indices of human development and growth, they seem to be top of the list.

Normally people say Western Media is biased negatively against countries outside the west. I intuitively feel there is some truth to this, but does there exist quantitative evidence to believe that Western Media is biased against West itself?

By western media, I mean the top news channel based in the west which together contain more than 90% of the total domestic and international news viewers.

Edit: I am sorry but how is this a bad faith post? What hidden agenda could I have?

  • 3
    Western media is a very broad group that covers the entire spectrum of political beliefs. Depending on which source you are looking at they may say completely opposite things. You can't make a single statement about such a broad group.
    – Joe W
    Sep 19 at 23:38
  • Well when you see videos like this, it's hard to think they are all independent of each other. I guess what I mean is the top news channel like CNN, BBC, MSN Etc. The stuff which most poeple actually watch Sep 19 at 23:40
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    You should provide more information in your question so it isn't a generic media is bad question. And that is a video of small local channels that are all owned by the same people not the big media companies that you are talking about here
    – Joe W
    Sep 19 at 23:43
  • You seem to be confused as there is no "top" channel like that and the video you linked is talking about small local channels that get no coverage outside of their area for the most part.
    – Joe W
    Sep 19 at 23:46
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    insulting/ making fun of the very president of USA Given a free press, with at least some partisanship, media coverage by opposition-affiliated outlets is going to be negative in at least some cases. Nothing unhealthy there. Which is not to say today's extreme polarization is a good thing. But neither is unquestioning deference to the government. Plus some POTUSes fully deserved having their stupidity outed. Sep 19 at 23:51

4 Answers 4


Media organizations in the US are for-profit corporations. While some of them are often alleged to have symbiotic relationships with political parties (Fox News with Republicans and MSNBC with Democrats, for instance), they can break with them without those political parties having any legal recourse.

As independent for-profit organizations, their loyalty is to what keeps their viewers watching. And often times that means showing problems which need fixing. Because the elected officials like to keep their jobs, they tend to respond to those reports by fixing those problems over time.

What you are seeing as an institutional failure to inform is actually something else. It's institutional attempt to inform about existing problems which are considered fixable.

What is "fixable"? Well, you don't see news reports that average life spans still fall short of 200 years. That's because that's not considered a fixable problem at the moment.

But if, for example, there is a traffic intersection which has a once-a-week traffic accident, there is probably some poor traffic arrangement there that needs fixing (for example, a yield sign that should be a stop sign). So reporting on it, makes it so that many voters are cognizant of the problem (and the politicians are forced to respond to it).

And, of course, when some problems get fixed, what you call "Human development" advances.


Whenever I open Western Media I see negative news about Western countries like US, Britain etc.

Well, in countries with more press freedom it's almost a given most government policies or the current state of affairs will be criticized by someone writing in the press. The exceptions, i.e. when there is near universal consensus on something (and just heaping praise), are pretty rare in the West.

In countries with more government control over the press (legal or just de facto), there won't be that much criticism of their own country/government or possibly even more broadly even of their (regional) allies etc.

For example, I see videos insulting/ making fun of the very president of USA, of gun violence, racism etc , or in UK, of stabbing incidents, some religious violence (something about Hindu vs muslim etc).

To be honest, I'm not sure what this refers to exactly. There's a lot of variety in Western media from humorous/irreventious to much more serious in tone and sometimes devoid of commentary. Certainly though, making fun of their own head of state isn't criminalized in Western countries as often as it is in some other parts of the world.

The example you've provided, which Joe W addresses in his answer, is hardly a criticism of "the West" nor is it exactly an illustration of your claim (immediately quoted above). Rather that example shows a [group of] traditional media outlets [all with the same owner] criticizing social media, in general terms, but the thrust seems to be about trustworthiness and "fake news". What you see there is somewhat like an editorial of the [Sinclair] media group. And yeah it is a bit cheesy and self-serving. But while they provide no data to back up their claims, there are some surveys which suggest that fake news more easily spreads on social media, or at least that news stories first posted on social media are more often fake.

The Sinclair group actually has a somewhat long tradition of such "must-run" segments. One additional point of confusion in the organization of US (local) TV is that local stations can be owned by Sinclair (or whomever else) but carry a [dual] affiliation with another network/brand (like ABC or NBC)... even though the main/national station of the latter is not owned by Sinclair nor does it carry Sinclair's programming/segments that you can see on the local [affiliated] stations.

does there exist quantitative evidence to believe that Western Media is biased against itself?

Somewhat of an aside, about [some Western] media criticizing "itself", or more commonly their competition (of some sort) from the same part of the world: the received wisdom one could hear a decade or two ago was that British journalists much more often did this, i.e. criticize/attack each other, while US journalists didn't do this as often. On the other hand, with the massive rise in political opinion/talk shows on US cable television, the anchors of the latter have become common targets of criticism in the US media. And this phenomenon goes hand in hand with the increased political polarization the US sees.


Not sure what issue you are actually trying to address here, but as for the video you linked in the comments it appears there is some misunderstanding there. What you are seeing in that comment is a group of local news station that all have the same ownership and in this case it is The Sinclair Group. That group regularly forces all the channels it owns to do pre written content that it provides them that is the same but just tweaked for each market.

What you have happening with that video is a single company trying to hide behind the local news stations to try and discredit other sources of news.


KELLY: Anchors at nearly 200 stations read those words because their station's owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group, told them to. To understand why the company made their journalists read the statement, we're joined by NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik. Hey, David.


KELLY: So why did Sinclair order its anchors to do this? What's the message here?

FOLKENFLIK: I mean, the message isn't a dog whistle. It's more like a cannonball going off. They're at once attacking their competitors in service of ostensibly praising their own professionalism. And they're also saying, look; we're a safe home for those of you who, like strong devotees of President Trump, believe that much of the media is involving fake news, involved in personal bias, is involved in trying to distort what you're presented as supposedly objective, fair. Sinclair is contributing directly to that claim in hundreds of markets across the country.


A free and informed press is a critical press and will examine corporate, legal and govermental policies that directly impact their key audiences - which are in the West.

Hence what you see, is merely an epiphenomenon of a healthy press: one that holds it's corporations and governments accountable.

But this, in a way, is merely mouthing liberal platitudes. Chomsky & Hermann's Manufacturing Consent show in forensic detail just how narrow the window of debate can be in the USA when discussing issues of national import. And this is due to the many gate-keepers that one has to cross to obtain a media presence. I would say likewise in the UK.

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