Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Is the Media to Blame?

Katelyn Lemen

Trust in the media

There is no doubt that Americans are second-guessing the media. Gallup has reported that Americans' trust and confidence in the mass media "to report the news fully, accurately and fairly" has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from 2015. Why is this happening?


The recent decline can be attributed to the Presidential election. There’s no denying that some mainstream media organizations lean one way or another. For example, Fox News is seen as “more conservative” and PBS is considered more “liberal”. Donald Trump has openly discussed his distrust in the media. He makes claims that the media doesn’t criticize Hilary Clinton as much as him. Whether that is true or not is still up for debate.

Nevertheless, politicians and their opinions are heavily discussed in the media and by the public. They have a great influence on public perceptions. If politicians say the media can’t be trusted, they are going to create a following that believes the same.


The media has been under scrutiny for treating races differently. Catherine Squires with the New York Times believes many young African-Americans distrust the media because they see the “double standard”.

She created a list of reasons why African-Americans distrust news media. One of the reasons was, “It is hard to trust an institution that ignores you unless you are perceived as causing a problem for "the rest of us.’"

It’s had to ignore that African Americans have been wrongly portrayed in the media. Whether it’s police brutality, stereotyping,  #BlackLivesMatter, or just straight bias there is always controversy surrounding African Americans.

The media should work on creating stories with words, images and news angles that give a fuller, more nuanced narrative of African-Americans, as well as black history, culture and life in America, as a whole. It should be reiterated that people of color are individuals, not types. By addressing this, the trust in media will rise.

Social Media

I personally think the main reason Americans have distrust in the media is due to social media. Nowadays, people are getting news and information from Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets. While some online articles are reliable, most are not. Many Facebook articles use click bait and advertisements to draw readers in. For example, the other day I stumbled upon an article with the heading “Hilary Clinton Secretly Orders an Assassin on Trump”. I clicked on the article to find an extremely unreliable website filled with advertisements and pop-ups. While this is an extreme example, this happens daily to active social media users. We are constantly being fed information and are unable to detect what is real and what is not.

While the big media corporations may be providing accurate, truthful information, there are thousands- even millions of other articles from anyone with access to the Internet that are completely inaccurate.


Rather than blaming the media for being “untrustworthy” we should take a look at our relationship with the media. If we aren’t educating ourselves on current events or seeking other sources for reliability, are they really to blame? Americans should look deeper into Facebook articles and get both sides to each “story” before blaming the media for false information.

I Don't Trust You

Brea Burks

Photo by: Editorial Cartoons

Throughout the semester, we have discussed multiple times that the trust in journalist, advertisers, and publicists is lower than usual. But, according the Columbia Journal Review, only 32% of Americans trust in the media. With the election going on and social media at an all-time high in the world, people are able to put information out about anything and anyone and not worry about if it’s true.

Honesty has left the building
In the article, “Young Black Men See the News Media’s DoubleStandard” by Catherine R. Squires, it speaks on why you wonder young black males always have to second guess every news outlet when they see a similar face in the media. As a black person, I understand that. If news outlets can only discuss why we were killed and how we as blacks could’ve prevented it, do you really have our best interest at heart?  The article also speaks on why should we listen when you only acknowledge our culture for a month out of the year? So you see, if you want to reach an audience, you have to be aware of the different ways you can reach out. Don’t just target the negative aspects of one race, but highlight the remarkable triumphs that culture was able to achieve. Doing this, will give young black men and women the silver lining they need to move forward.

I’m on your side
This leads me also to the topic of reporters and news stations becoming more biased than normal. More and more journalists are stating their opinion into a story without realizing. Now I’m not speaking on TV stations that cater to a certain audience, that’s fine, however, people are skewing the thoughts of readers to have an audience.
I do believe that becoming bias in journalism reached its peak once the presidential election took place. In the article, “Liberal NewsMedia Bias Has a Serious Effect” by Timothy P. Carney, it states how more news writers are becoming more liberal. It also talks about how writers will discuss what isn’t being spoken on when it comes to a debate between both candidates. Having the division of news writers only gives you an audience that you want to reach. So I wonder if writers only want to reach certain people and not get the attention of the whole country. Is it possible that they want their own people who look up to them when it comes to reading their work?


Today, it seems as if journalism has become a rebel and threw the media ethics book out the window. But, we need to change that. Journalism needs to go back to the “traditional” ways of reporting and stick to the facts and the evidence without putting your emotions into the passage. We have lost the true meaning of helping our community receive the proper information. We need to ask ourselves “Do I really need to write this? Is this too close to home?” When did factual content expire? Sometimes, old habits shouldn’t die off quickly.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Is the Media Trustworthy?

Keily Balduff

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/m/media_outlet.asp

Trust Becomes A Topic of Discussion

It is so important for people to trust the media. Yet, people do not trust the media. For a relationship that would benefit from mutual trust, there is none between media and the people. A discussion is brought to the table titled "Young Black People See the News Media's Double Standard" by Catherine R. Squires. Raising important issues as means for distrust, this discussion of why people do not trust the media begs the question, how did this happen?

Giving reasons as to why it is hard to trust the institution of the media, Squires shows just how hard it is for a black person to find any ounce of trust in the media. Focusing on racial disparities, each example shows just how skewed the media has been towards young black people. One powerful example was that "...It is hard to trust an institution that overlooks the strengths of your community and its culture, and instead reduces it to statistics." In particular, this example hit home. Not because I understand what it is like to be reduced to a statistic, but because I see it every day. 

The Double Standard

Double standard's are so often used in media. Below is a tweet from September that simply shows the double standard between the media's representation of two men.  

Patterns and cases that fall within these double standards crumble any amount of trust that could be forged among young black people and the media.

Trust Falls

Today more than ever, people are turning to the media during election times. In the article ''Trust' in the News Media Has Come to Mean Affirmation' by Brooke Gladstone, the downfalls of trust in the media are highlighted. It is common knowledge that certain news sources are more conservative or more liberal. Any more it is hard to find a news source that is not funding a specific campaign.

Even more than election times, the media's credibility and morality plays a very important role in trust. When the media has encountered serious missteps, the people who would consume it become increasingly skeptical. How can a news source be trusted when they are royally screwing up and news story?

A Path To Change

With so many people not finding the trust in the media as they would like to see, it is crucial to always remain true to the core values of media ethics. Remaining transparent is the most important step into building the trust between news consumers. For news media, maintaining trust with its consumers will benefit them in the long run. Journalism and news coverage should not be regarded with skepticism but rather the confidence that the information is true to form and is being reported at its best. Finally, removing double standards from news media is a key role in building confidence in the media by minorities. It should never be acceptable to place double standards in news coverage. At the end of the day the news media provides a very high percentage of people with the news. It is our job to accurately report it while maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship built on trust.

Red, White and Blue... and Media Bias Too

Victoria Souza

It’s hard to debate that there is not an obvious bias in the media these days that typically tends to swing towards the more liberal side. Conservatives cry out, feeling threatened and attacked for their political beliefs. Politicians hide behind this “witch hunt” conspiracy that no matter what they say the will be persecuted. Viewers, political opinions aside, distrust the media because they feel that no matter what they believe, the media will only represent one side of it. Conservatives yell at CNN and ABC, and Liberals shun Fox News as if its simply a scripted soap opera that belongs amongst shows like The Bold and the Beautiful.

The bipartisanship that exists in this country and the gap that exists between the aisle, certainly both overflow into our media outlet; leaving one to ask the question: “If congress can’t find a way to be moderate, how can the media?”

It’s rare to find a mainstream, “moderate” and unbiased news media outlet. However, I’d like to argue that these outlets DO exist. They may not be mainstream or popularly noted but they are out there. It’s the reader’s opinion that determines whether or not the source is biased. Be it a conservative or a liberal, if the media does not coincide with their personal beliefs then they will be quick to condemn it to the depths of biased media purgatory.
Provided by ArtWanted.com
I consider myself a liberal by most accounts, but I too wonder if my beliefs are strictly swayed based on media bias. Is what I’m watching affecting my opinions and beliefs more than I give credit? I once tried experimented with switching between media outlets for my news. Rather than watching NBC or even Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, I tried watching Fox News for a week. It most definitely did not change my steadfast opinions. That’s when I realized that I watch what will affirm my beliefs.  My father then turned me to Michael Smerconish on NPR. He is one of the few news hosts that I could argue is very moderate. He does not stain his broadcast with his own beliefs, and includes guests from both conservative and liberal perspectives and respects their opinions. When he does weigh in, he makes it clear that he has heard from both sides and has developed his opinions based on the facts, not the passion of the topic.

Besides the political bias in media, there is the evident racial bias that many have raised questions about recently. Does the media, be it liberal or conservative, treat blacks differently? In this instance it is clear at times that the mainstream media is run by mostly older age white men. Despite the majority believing that the media is ultra liberal, it certainly does tend to skew toward privileged white male, as most of our society and politics do. The way blacks have been portrayed in the media has historically been measurably different than whites. On top of blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, and Middle Eastern ethnicities have also been treated with a measurable amount of disregard. Some would argue that criminal news stories featuring a minority criminal tend to center the story around the often unnecessary fact of the person’s skin color or ethnicity. And on top of that, there’s the argument that unless the story portrays the race in a unfavorable light or an uncharacteristic one (criminal vs. hero approach) then the story will be swept under the rug. It’s true that there are many stories on minorities out there that mainstream media misses or knowingly chooses to ignore. This is also a major ethical dilemma of media bias. Should the media outlet choose to not air a story based around a minority because they feel it will not render enough viewership? Or simply change the language used to describe the race, to spin the story for viewership? Absolutely not. 

It’s our job as the next up and coming generation of journalists to try to bridge the gap between liberal and conservative media as well as treat every race with the same manner of coverage and respect as another. Diversity is what this country thrives on, and diversity in the media is key to creating positive attitudes towards one another in our society. 

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American's Trust in Media is Declining

Natalie Townsend

American's trust in the media has dropped by eight percent from last year to this year to a total of 32 percent. With such a controversial presidential election going on, the increasing amount of social media outlets, and the way minorities are portrayed, these numbers don't surprise me.

The Election

This picture illustrates the way Conservatives feel about Liberal media today.
One main reason we can assume that trust has declined is because of the presidential election. With many campaigns and opinions floating around the media it is not uncommon for trust to drop during this time.

Republicans trust in the media has dramatically dropped from 32 percent to 16 percent while Democrats dropped from 55 percent to 51. Some people argue that Donald Trump is misrepresented in the "mainstream media" while there are only positive things said about Hillary Clinton.

However, in a polling from the Pew Research Center it was found that liberals turn to several more broad sources and conservatives typically only trust a limited amount of sources so it is expected that liberals would have more trust in the media.

Controlling our Biases

Another reason we see a decline in trust in the media is because of the way minorities are portrayed. The smallest change in words can illustrate biases. For example there were two pictures of people searching for supplies during Hurricane Katrina, but the one of the black boy was described as "looting" while the white couple was just "searching for food." We see examples like this all the time and it is really unfortunate that people are more worried about someone's race rather than what the story is.

It is our duty as credible and reliable journalists to put our biases aside and report the truth.

Social Media

Anyone with access to internet can essentially report news too, but sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between what is real news and what is simply opinion. With the rise of so many different forums for people to post false stories on it's not a shock that trust in media would decline. But that just means true journalists have to work extra hard to report with transparency.

We can take these social media platforms and put them to good use. It is a way to interact with our audience and get their feedback. It's pretty cool that we get to experience this new wave of journalism, we just have to be weary about trusting everything you read or hear.

Looking Forward

Trust has been on the decline for quite some time now, but we should not let that deter us from doing what we are here to do and providing the public with accurate and truthful information. In order to regain the public's trust we need to expand the news room and get more perspectives to report on stories that have potential for biases and bring journalism back to something people can fully rely on.

How News Organizations Adapt to an Increasingly Opinionated Society

Ciara Sebecke

We live in a world where conservatives accuse the "liberal media" of being biased, but then cite Fox News as a credible and objective source. Those on the left claim that conservatives are imagining a left-leaning bias when almost every news source reaffirms their own beliefs.

Trust in journalism is lower than ever in a world where an obvious media bias is impossible to ignore. Anyone can create a website and call themselves a "journalist," whether they are sharing objective facts or not. The news is written by humans, and humans have opinions, whether they try to hide them or not. But, in an age where so many opinions are shared freely, is that really such a bad thing?

News and Politics Aren't What They Used to Be

In the 2010s, children are taught in schools to celebrate their differences and become independent thinkers. Critical thinking and opinion forming is encouraged, and students have more freedom than ever before to share their own ideas. Being "seen and not heard" is a thing of the past. More and more writers are coming from this generation, and now we are unsuccessfully telling them to stifle their opinions.

Today, social norms are disappearing and the idea of being "normal" has never been so unique. With the legalization of gay marriage, the first African-American president, and general acceptance of cultural and biological differences, America has never before been so open-minded.

The idea of what is polite and what is socially acceptable is constantly changing. No longer are the subjects of "politics, sex and religion" seen as taboo in private conversation. There are so many differing views, and an open discussion is more encouraged than ever.

If having a strong, educated opinion and openness to new ideas are so encouraged in society, why should we tell our news media to go against the trend?

Source: https://texaslynn.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/lmb-ybysa-benghazi-accountability/

Why a News Bias Is Inevitable 

Readers prefer, and subsequently share, content that shares their own biases and opinions. This means that articles with a slight or even strong bias are inevitably becoming more popular. News organizations are going to keep doing what results in the strongest readership and praise, so this trend is unlikely too slow.

People know that the national news giants are not always the first to cover breaking news stories. In the age of the internet, users turn to social media or hyper-local news sources to get the cold, hard, objective facts of an unfolding story. Readers turn to larger publications like the New York Times and Washington Post for something more that they will not find in a story that only contains only objective facts. The public knows that these sources will share an interesting opinion and additional insight on stories that they likely already know the basic facts of.

In today's world, "news" is no longer "just news." The traditional news model is unsustainable in an environment where facts appear online in seconds. No longer are these corporations the gatekeepers of all information. To remain in business, traditional news sources have to offer something extra, and in many cases, that is a discussion or opinion.

As long as writers are transparent and honest about their biases and open to discussion, a biased "news media" is not always evil or unethical. Media literacy is more important than ever with little barriers to entry for citizen journalists, many of whom have strong opinions. Please comment with your opinion below!

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Jacob W. Solether

Trust In The Media Is Lost 

No wonder there's distrust in the media when everyday people see patterns and incidents of complete biases. People shouldn't be ridiculed for distrusting what the media reports, especially when stories differ depending on the demographics of who is being covered. There's definitely a double standard in reporting. There are numerous accounts and reasons why people distrust media publications. One is how institutions mishandle the reporting of minorities and people of color. Entire communities have been reduced to statistics. A black man can be labeled a saint or a thug. In the article from The New York Times, it illustrates how after Hurricane Katrina, captions of people were different based on the color of their skin. In the aftermath following the storm, a black boy was labeled as a looter, whereas the white boy was described as searching for food.

Back In The Day 

People used to believe in what the media told them. Following the Watergate scandal, two-thirds of the country trusted the news. Today, only 32 percent of Americans believe in what the media says. This is astonishing since the role of the media is to serve as a watchdog, as well as to protect citizens from "the man." It is the job of the media to inform the public of important matters, and if the relationship between the two is futile, then the country is deep in trouble.

The Blue Check Mark

It's what every person on Twitter strives for. A person that has a blue check mark next to their name, is often perceived as a reliable and credible source of information. It's safe to assume they're very popular and have a large social media following as well, meaning they have great influence. The internet has opened many doors for journalists; another thing the internet has done is welcomed citizen journalists to the world of reporting and storytelling. Today, more than ever before, people can participate in citizen journalism and anyone with a smart phone and a social media account can become a citizen journalist. No longer do people have to get the news from large, distrusted institutions when they can get the story from a citizen journalist who is reporting live from the scene. Perhaps citizen journalism is what can save the relationship between the media and the public.