Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Bahadur on Newsworthiness as an Internet-Era Mitigant of Implicit Bias @washburnlaw

Rory D. Bahadur, Washburn University School of Law, is publishing Newsworthiness as an Internet-Era Mitigant of Implicit Bias in volume 88 of the University of Missouri Kansas City Law Review (2019). Here is the abstract.

Current application of the newsworthiness privilege is based on traditional media’s reliance on the implicit biases of Christian morality. Objective analysis of the impact of these implicit biases demonstrates that they perpetuate the socioeconomic dominance of white males and suppress non-majoritarian views and values. Unless a radical restructuring of the newsworthiness privilege occurs, such implicit biases will remain entrenched. This Article recommends a radical but scientifically supported reformation of the newsworthiness privilege that essentially abolishes the tort of public disclosure of private fact. It wholeheartedly rejects recent scholarship that erroneously suggests a contraction of the newsworthiness privilege as normatively correct. Applying the scientific principles of cognitive neurobiology to implicit bias, this Article exposes how implicit biases have permitted Christian morality to oppress minorities and females. It unapologetically demonstrates that the perpetuation of this oppression is caused by traditional media’s continued reliance on Christian morality as the basis of newsworthiness determinations and publication decisions. It furthermore exposes the scholarship suggesting continued reliance on traditional media to determine newsworthiness as itself elitist and implicitly biased. The Article’s recommended reformation of the newsworthiness privilege employs the changing paradigms of mass publication in the internet era to provide a mechanism that mitigates against implicit bias. The importance of this work is underscored by current political and socioeconomic realities that not only necessitate, but demand, a reexamination of the normative assumptions involved in the determination of whether information is newsworthy.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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