Media Literacy

How the Media Persuade: Verbally and Visually





A bias is a set of lenses through which we view the world. Everyone has biases or preferences.

Example: If you prefer to buy American cars, rather than European or Japanese cars, then it can be said that you have a bias towards American cars. At the basic level a bias is an inclination or a predisposition towards something.


Biases can grow into prejudices. A prejudice is a preconceived opinion for or against something; sometimes based on irrational reasons or assumptions.

Example: If your friend relates to you: "I'd never buy an Italian car, the Italians don't know how to make cars," he is displaying a prejudice. Prejudice comes from the word, 'prejudge' which means that a decision is made before facts are assembled, or a proper inquiry enacted.




Prejudices can grow into unbridled hatred for a group based on ethnicity. Racists believe their own group to be superior.

Example: If your friend extends his concept for Italian-made cars to using statements such as: "I'd never buy a Ferrari. I wouldn't want to think of all those spaghetti-stained fingers putting my car together .Besides, they are all connected to the Mafia and you don't know what you're getting." These would be racist statements.




Jingoism is not as readily discussed as racism, but it is equally as dangerous. A jingoist is a person who professes patriotism excessively. This person usually favors an aggressive foreign policy and readiness for war.

Example: If you buy American cars because you believe completely in the "Buy American" campaign and view Japanese and European automakers as subversive and attempting to undermine the American economy, then you might be a jingoist. If someone will only buy American cars or products because they want to support our national steel companies, and national interest so that we are ready to go to war, they are definably a jingoist.