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As we officially enter the summer months, the buzz about presidential candidates will continue to grow as the 2020 Presidential Election draws closer and as the first Democratic Primary debate approaches on June 26. Media coverage will play an increasingly important role in the election, and it is vital that we are able to follow this coverage in a way that allows us to recognize bias where it exists and get the information necessary to make an informed decision on which candidate to ultimately support.
Unfortunately, as discussed by AIT Co-Founder and CEO Lauren Leader in a recent article, the women running are receiving consistently less coverage overall and, when female candidates are covered, articles are disproportionately negative as compared to their male counterparts.
This #TakeActionTuesday, learn to better recognize media bias and become a more informed consumer of election news.
- Read Articles Written By Women. According to a recent report by the Women’s Media Center, one simple reason for the persistence of gender bias in news reporting is a significant gender gap that still exists in media. Today the majority of both print and online news articles are authored by men, making it particularly important to consciously seek to read articles written by both men and women.
- Recognize Gendered Expectations. It is important to recognize the ways that male and female candidates are held to different standards of behavior based on traditional gender roles. When women engage in the same decisive speech or take the same tough stances on issues as their male competitors, they are more likely to be criticised and their “likeability” is more likely to suffer. When reading media coverage of female candidates, especially when that coverage is negative, ask yourself if a male candidate behaving similarly has been or would be met with similar scrutiny.
- Do Independent Research. One simple way to avoid the effects of biased reporting is to do your own research. Learn about who has announced their candidacy for positions up and down the ballot and continue to follow those that you are interested in. Visit candidates’ official campaign websites, check out their platforms, and find out where they stand on the issues that matter most to you.
Let us know how you consciously consume election news and identify gender bias at firstname.lastname@example.org!