Accuracy in Media

Teen Vogue has decided to start a lesson plan for the new school year. This is as bad as it sounds, since the lessons are articles from past issues of Teen Vogue.

The lessons Teen Vogue is putting forward are indeed highly biased. This is also a set of stories they indicate are meant to be used both inside and outside education. 

For example, the magazine insists that slavery is still legal. Which isn’t what most of us would say, not. What they do is say that prison labor is slavery – which it isn’t. It’s low-paid, but it’s not chattel slavery.

There’s the fairly obvious, given the source, insistence that abortion is health care. This being a more than contentious assertion.

There’s significant scaremongering about what climate change will do to cities by 2100.

The rest of the pieces are cut from the same cloth, which is what the problem is. There are times and places for differences of opinion, of course there are. But not when educating teenagers – that’s when we need to get as close as humanly possible to being unbiased. 

Teen Vogue markets itself as “educating the influencers of tomorrow” and gains some 5 million visits a month from doing so. It’s one about the half century among the largest U.S. media outlets. 

Here’s the thing. A magazine of opinion for adults has greater leeway with bias than does one for teenage girls. At least we would hope it does. Similarly, something designed to be used in the education system should be less biased than a simple commercial publication. But here we’ve a biased publication pushing that bias – and some of the pieces are especially so – into that education system. All in the name of educating the influencers of the future. 

That’s dangerous.

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