Sunday, November 15, 2015

"I need some muscle": Why aren't reporters welcome anymore?

Ethan Felderstein

"I need some muscle!" 

These words weren't uttered by police officers, security guards, or even protestors.

They came from Dr. Melissa Click, a mass media professor at the University of Missouri.

When freelance photograph Tim Tai attempted to photograph and report at a protest at the University of Missouri, he was threatened by students and administrators,

Tai was forcibly pushed from the protestors as one person claimed "It's our right to walk forward, isn't it?", mocking the first amendment right that gave reporters to be there, as well as the protestors.

This incident in Missouri begs a question much larger than why a media professor would forcibly deny media coverage.

What has happened in the past forty years that has created such a massive decline in the trusting of media?

According to a Gallup poll, less than half of Americans trust mass media, with 36% of those who fall into the 18 to 49 age range trusting the media. 

In an article in The New York Times, media expert Brooke Gladstone states that Americans actually don't want accuracy and impartiality in news coverage, rather they want to hear what they already believe.

Gladstone also brings up the fact that the internet has allowed news consumers to construct 'digital silos'—which means they no longer have to consume a wide range of media, instead allowing them to view media that confirms their own beliefs.

I particularly agree with Gladstone's comments about the internet. With the internet, and social media in particular, users have a very homogenous choice in their news consumption—and by their own choice.

When they do encounter the rogue source that isn't their desired outlet, they demonize the media, losing their trust.

As Gladstone states, the internet hasn't "leveled the playing field" as some have proposed.

"Now the marginalized can speedily gather," she writes, "Demand recognition and challenge the prevailing narratives."

I'm not trying to argue that the internet has fully destroyed America's faith in the media, but when they are not getting both sides of the story, it makes it harder to eliminate the bias they are perceiving.

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