Intro/exit music can reveal media bias

A young man sitting on the floor listening with large headphones on
“kevin enjoys his big headphones” by Chelsea Nesvig, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s no secret that political campaigns think strategically about their music choices to send messages, attract the right crowd, get the crowd ready for their event, etc.  For example, the Daily Mail suggests that Donald Trump added “Born in the U.S.A.” to his pre-rally playlist as a response to Ted Cruz being born in Canada. Other candidates create Spotify lists, choose songs of resiliency, etc. for their campaigns.

What many don’t think about, however, is that media outlets can frame a story about a particular political issue or candidate by the music they choose play before or after the piece. And, since they typically utilize the music without the lyrics, it’s not always so obvious. I’ve heard media pieces lately about about particular political candidates where the exiting music is “Strange Times” by the Black Keys and “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida. Just being able to recognize the songs and know their titles,it was really obvious to me which candidate the media outlet favored.

The dangerous part of this is, it’s very subtle. It’s very possible you are being influenced by these music choices without knowing it.

So the next time you’re consuming audio media about politics or anything else, make a mental note to notice the music utilized before and after the piece. You’ll learn a lot about the particular media’s bias and recognize when they are trying to influence your opinions via music.

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