Sunday, October 18, 2015

Media Bias: You Can't Fight Fire With Fire

David Haddad

I’m not going to lie to you: this is going to hurt to write. I am not happy about the words that I am going to have to say. The truth is, I have to finally admit something that I have vehemently denied for years.

I am a liberal. I am a registered Democrat in the state of Pennsylvania. I am also a student in one of the most prestigious journalism schools in the country. And I’m ready to finally admit that the media has a liberal bias.

There, I said it. I have ignored the evidence and statistics for too long. I guess I didn’t want to admit that the occupational field I dreamt of working in is corruptible and that my own political party is the primary corrupter. That’s a moral letdown for me on two fronts. The inconvenient truth is that the members of our media are more likely to identify as liberal than conservative. Four times more likely. 

There is nothing wrong with someone identifying a certain way. Political opinions are like cell phones: everyone over the age 8 has one, but you don’t really need one until you are about eighteen. These inclinations only become problematic once they overshadow something important, such as, say, your pledge to forever be a beacon of truth.

I still believe that the media is generally groundless in its reporting. I still agree with my younger self, standing unwaveringly behind the media for its lack of bias. However, there is the occasional over-reporting of a marriage clerk denying same sex coupled marriage lessons or convenient ignorance of an abortion doctor killing his patient that gives the media a bad appearance.

This sort of pick-and-choose journalism is incredibly illogical, not only in a moral sense, but economically as well. Making money in the media is pretty reliant on garnering clicks and viewership (and therefore, ad revenue). By choosing not to report on a story as controversial and polarizing as an unethical abortion doctor, these media outlets are willingly turning down a lot of viewership, and therefore revenue. And what for? To protect the interests of the pro-choice movement? Allowing political bias to govern what receives coverage, simply put, doesn’t make any sense.

There needs to be a way to balance out any perceived media bias and guarantee nonpartisan reporting and storytelling. The answer, however, is not to simply counteract seemingly-liberal outlets with an opposing ultra-conservative outlet.

I am not alone in believing that the Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party. In fact, some of their own guests have felt it necessary to point that out:

However, it saddens me that the only way conservatives felt that their journalistic voice could be heard is by launching their own channel in 1996. The media shouldn’t have two or three stations for liberal news and one or two stations for conservative news. The media should have a few stations for telling what actually happened.

When the media takes sides, it becomes less trustworthy in the eyes of the silent majority of the United States, which sits firmly in the middle of the political spectrum. If the public doesn’t feel they can trust those tasked with reporting the truth, then whom can they rely on for important information?

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