We live in this great bipartisan system where those over the age of 18 have but one big decision to make, what political affiliation to choose. We are at a divide in terms of compromise, and we are constantly trying to prove that our way of thought is superior over others.
When faced with criticism, we often look for signs of weaknesses in our opponents, and we attack them.
Since President Donald Trump has taken office, we have heard about the “fake news” media, a phrase now ingrained in right wing thought. As a journalism student, I feel it is necessary to comment on the term, as many people refuse to see it from the perspective of our field of work.
Let us take a moment to set the record straight. The news is not fake, though, at times, it can biased. One of the biggest issue facing broadcast journalism today is left wing bias.
Of course there are right wing advocacy channels, like Fox News, but generally, the media leans left. MSNBC, which is like a liberal version of Fox News and the Cable News Network (CNN), tries to remain unbiased, but still expresses condescension towards Republicans.
Last summer, when Trump ended a tweet with “covfefe,” the word received more Internet searches than Nickelback has in last ten years.
Bored and uninterested with my life at the time of the event, I spent several hours watching a CNN “chief analyst” decipher “covfefe.” First and foremost, “covfefe” is not a word. Regardless of what Trump may have said, it is obvious the man made a typo.
But let us forget for a moment Trump’s other tweets about policy, the war in the streets between cops and civilians and the terrorist attacks happening in ally countries, just because the President of the United States made a typo while tweeting. I understand that when someone makes a mockery out of your work, it can be hard to handle the criticisms professionally. But spending an extended amount of time on something as trivial as a messed up tweet shows bias and fails to portray journalists in a manner of integrity.
Journalism, much like any form of language arts, deals with rhetoric and the way information is portrayed. When writing, we want our voices to be heard, not some mundane creation of words. A journalist’s focal point is finding the best way to attract a reader within the headline. Because controversy is the best way to gain attention, you will often see headlines that are eye raising.
Take the topic of abortion, for example. If a newspaper’s headline reads “President Trump orders to close down infant euthanization facilities across the country,” conservatives would be more likely willing to listen because it panders to their beliefs. While liberals might find the headline and corresponding story to be a gross hyperbole because they are negating a woman’s choice.
On the other hand, if a newspaper’s headline reads “President Trump orders to close down women’s health clinics,” right wing conservatives might be upset because the headline then sugar coats the topic of abortion.
These headlines are extreme examples, but this type of pandering dilutes honest journalism. Sensationalism and passive aggressiveness play major factors in discrediting writers. Reporting is a boring style of writing and those who have the ability to create honest interest through their journalistic stories have an incredible gift. I hope that our generation can find a way to bring equality of perspective to journalism, or at the very least avoid bias.
With that being said, it is important to understand that it is the role of the press to criticize the government. It is what makes the first amendment such a powerful law. If the government ever became too powerful, freedom of press ensures the people power so they are not blind to the actions of their government.
The press plays the role of the fourth branch of American government. It is the voice of the common person and it is important that it remains pure and unbiased.
We all need to look at ourselves before we throw stones. This constant desire to be right has led us to resort to petty tweets rather than civil discourse. As a student of journalism, I have no doubt that media is flawed by those who implement their own bias. But I will protect the rights of the press because when facts are presented equally and without bias, it represents the voice of a whole people and has the power to deliver knowledge to society.
We must leave behind sensationalism in broadcast news and focus on delivering pure news stories to the public in the future.