Alumnus shares insight on media bias

On Wednesday Feb. 19, Brian Fogarty ‘99 of the University of Missouri – St. Louis visited his alma mater to give a talk, titled “The Perceptions of Media Bias and Their Implications,” that covered the general consequences of bias within new outlets and various forms of media. In his discussion, Fogarty began by describing bias, focusing on various forms including source and selective bias. He then discussed the work of scholars, who have taken media news outlets like The New York Times, FOX News, NBC and The Washington Post, and presented them on a timeline, from liberal to conservative. In the middle, he said, stood Homer Simpson, “the average American voter … which I think is fair.”

Fogarty also noted how public opinion acts as a key in determining bias.

“Even if the media is completely unbiased, or completely biased, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “What matters is what people perceive as bias.” He said that, regardless of the different extremes in liberal and conservative themes on news outlets, the final bias ultimately lies in how the public sees it.

Fogarty furthered his discussion by revealing that politics are greatly affected by bias and partisan-selective exposure that leads to high political participation, the deemed importance of certain issues and ultimate vote choice.

Fogarty graduated with a double major in political science and history and a minor in medieval studies. While at Geneseo, his writing was published in the Geneseo journal The Political Realm. He received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 2001 and 2005, respectively. He now has several published works on his research within the political science field.

In addition to his lecture, Fogarty attended a lunch at the Big Tree Inn with Jeff Koch, political science department chair and professor, and seven political science students.

“It was interesting to hear a previous student from Geneseo speak on his opinions on mass media and bias in the media,” communication and political science double major junior Morgan Messineo said. “It’s great to see what a Geneseo education can come to.”