Monday, October 31, 2016

Is Fairness Really Fair?

Nicole Dascenzo

As evident in our readings for class, fairness from the perspective of the reader and fairness to journalists are, oftentimes, two very different things.

Election cycles and other various times where public opinion is more loudly broadcast through forms of social media bring up the issue of journalistic fairness more so than in relatively calmer times. While readers may think they are calling for more fairness in what is being reported, this is sometimes not really the case.

In his article for Politico, Jack Shafer says that "...a news story is not a town hall in which every citizen gets to express his view. Rather, it is a distillation of what the reporter and editor decide is true." As fact checking becomes more popular with the media, especially during presidential debates, the argument of what is and is not true should be brought up when deciding fairness in stories.

As Shafer later states, every A-list source in a story should not have to be counteracted by a D-list source just for the sake of fairness or balance. An example of this that sticks out in my mind is climate change - a topic that is so widely agreed upon by scientists internationally. Stories about climate change should not require both a supporter and denier of the concept as the scientific evidence behind climate change massively outweighs any evidence against the concept.

Stories such as the example described previously create a sense of false balance. Some news stories simply do not need two opposing view points to get the message across to viewers. Rather, having the other side could distort the message being reported on or even diminish its value.

Going back to Shafer's quote on fact checking, an additional message is given in David Uberti's article for the Columbia Journalism Review, where he describes that because it is relatively common for politicians to bend the truth, it is increasingly difficult for reporters to gauge a politician's intent with their statements.

Uberti goes on further to describe instances such as Donald Trump in the 2016 election season, where journalists who would typically not question the truthfulness of a statement are put into a position where they must.

Especially in the case of Trump's repeated questioning of President Barack Obama's place of birth, with numerous pieces of evidence that Obama was in fact born in the United States, Trump continued to bring the issue up. In times such as these, journalists are put in a position where they must call out a subjects lies or risk being deemed an untruthful media source.

It is hard to argue that the topic of fairness does not have an important place in the discussion of the reporting styles of media outlets.

But oftentimes, the public perception of fairness and the true journalistic description of fairness are vastly different, with the former being primarily about a 50/50 split between two opinions and the latter giving proper coverage to the proper people.

Dealing with Election Politics: The Ethics of Journalistic Opinions

Blake Dava
Image result for trump lying comic

When I turned 18 back in spring of 2014, I remember the excitement of realizing that I’d be able to vote. I felt pride in knowing that when it was next time to call forth a new president, I’d play a part in his or her election.

Now, I’m just bracing for hell to come to us once its gates burst.

As a citizen, I suffer from the slander and falsehoods that have been coming from the presidential race. During the primaries, I listened along with the debates and fact-checked where I could to try and pick out my ideal candidate.

I did not pick Trump. Or Hillary.

But now I have to make a choice and as a citizen, I’ve made my peace with that. I’ve worked hard to continue to stay informed and will continue to do so. But I believe I’ve made my choice, and since, I have I’ve removed myself (at least partially) from the chaotic mess that is this election.

But as a journalist, I’ve kept my eye on the coverage both candidates are getting, and it’s been pretty disgusting. But I’m incredibly proud of the piece The New York Times put out blatantly calling Trump a liar, because he is. They could have taken a safer route and written a “he said, she said” piece, as The Atlantic pointed out, but instead NYT openly challenged Trump to his own game.

As the Atlantic so wonderfully described, the election has always been a dance between the nominees and journalists, each holding a mutual respect for the other.

Candidates stretch the truth, but try not to be too blatant about it. Candidates appeal to bigotry, but subtly. In turn, journalists respond with a delicacy of their own. They quote partisans rather than saying things in their own words. They use euphemisms like “polarizing” and “incendiary,” instead of “racist” and “demagogic.”

But with Trump’s ever growing claims of illegal presidencies, war support and other factual inaccuracies, the role of the journalists has become even more treacherous. If a journalist simply regurgitated whatever Trump said, they could always claim he just “said it” and not back it up. But publishing information that isn’t true without saying it's false crosses into a moral gray area. So what should we do?

Well NYT wants to fight. And I agree.

Jack Shafer from Politico Magazine says “to denounce balance is a heretical act for a journalist,” but it’s equally necessary to adhere to the journalism code of ethics and prevent deception in news gathering. 

According to the NTDNA, “Staging, dramatization and other alterations – even when labeled as such- can confuse or fool viewers, listeners and readers.” Rehashing false claims made by either candidate with still wrongly influence readership, even if done in the most objective way possible. And know, almost for the first time, journalists are prepared to tear down the precedent behaviors to prevent this.

It’s a dangerous road to go down, and journalists will have to be intensely aware of what they report and what they condone, but at least so far there’s been proof that it can be done correctly.

Know the Difference: Facts and Opinions

Raquel Devariel

When you decide to become a journalist, you have also decided to keep your opinions to the side. Acknowledging this part of the career we have chosen will help and assure not only a great path, but also a group of readers that will be loyal to our articles. These readers will know to seek you when they want accurate and precise information about problems that seem impossible to be unbiased about.

Leaving our opinions out helps us report with accuracy and avoid altercations or further difficulties. Since we belong to a huge group of competitors that will hunt until they find a mistake or a fact that went wrong, it is essential to follow a fact-checker's code of principles. One can be seen here.

Most importantly, to do our job the way was are supposed to, we should understand the difference between facts and opinions.


A fact is something said to have happened or supposed to true, as defined by The News Manual on Chapter 56: Facts and Opinions.

As journalists, sometimes we rely on others' facts, but it is our duty to thoroughly examine and determine whether those facts are accurate and reasonable to the story being published.

Proven facts, which are a type of information that has been proven true and accepted as true by everyone, can also be considered common knowledge and don’t need a source of attribution.

Another form of facts that journalists face are those that we call probable, meaning that they are seen as true, but they are lacking source either because of lack of information or attributor.

Last but not least, journalists deal with facts that are described as probable lies. These are statements that are mostly false but could also be true.

The difference.
Taken from:
An example The News Manual gives is "The Prime Minister has secretly married a sixteen-year-old fashion model."

It seems unlikely, but it can also be true.


These can be defined as conclusions that are driven and influenced by the knowledge of facts that a reporter has obtained.

Opinions, however, can cause the most problems for journalists. There is a very thin line on how we get these across. If we decided to follow the path of giving out our opinions, it is essential to make our readers understand that those are our thoughts and not proven facts.

Giving the readers the opportunity to verify our opinions by providing the correct facts fuels our credibility. Those are the tools they need to understand our way of thinking.

Along with opinions, we can also provide expert opinions that consist on conclusion made by those who thoroughly know the topic.

Knowing the difference:

For journalists, it is important to highlight the difference between both, helping others understand the role in the decisions we make and why we choose or don’t choose to report certain stories that might interfere with accuracy of the information. This aspect comes along with transparency, a highly esteemed and valued virtue in the journalism world.

Journalists Should Always Tell The Truth

Robbie DiPaola

Fact-checking and politics.

Politics is an area I have personally never given too much of time to, for the simple reason being that I don't like how much lying, manipulation, and corruption goes on in that industry.  Especially with the election just a little more than a week away, news organizations have taken everything the two candidates have said and made a strong effort to fact-check what both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said separately and to each other during the debates.

To me, it seems like there is always a distrust of most, if not all, politicians to begin with, and that seemingly has only intensified with this year's presidential election.  Between the lies and vulgar comments Trump has made and seemingly countless contradictions Clinton has made on her policies, the American public is not sure what to believe anymore.

When Trump tried to make it look like he had never said current President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, the New York Times ran an article that proved that Trump was not only lying, he had said it several times during Obama's time in office.  This, in my opinion, was the best thing to do because it gave the public what it deserves- the truth.

Up until the last few months of this election, I had really no clue that fact-checking was used to such an extent. It was pretty neat to learn about how fast and how deep these fact-checkers go in providing the truth to us Americans when people, such as politicians, don't want to tell the entire truth. And while fact-checking seems like the best way to go about dealing with politician's lies, it isn't always perfect.  Even with the code of principles that are set up and in place to make sure nothing goes wrong, things sometimes still go wrong and false information makes its way through the internet.

Reporting the truth.

One of the first things that appears on the SPJ code of ethics is the phrase "seek the truth and report it," and this should be practiced 100 percent of the time, by all members of the media. Whether it is reporting vulgar and obscene comments that Trump made years ago, or reporting on the emails that Hillary covered up, it should all be reported on fairly and truthfully.  By covering up information in this election, it is only doing a disservice to the American people by not providing them with the proper context.

And while it should be the case that all news outlets report the truth and not skew their information one way or another, it is pretty well-known that certain news outlets and journalists sometimes tend to favor one side. This breakdown of all the major news outlets and their viewership tells a pretty in-depth tale about who watches which program and who reads which website and newspaper.

News outlets do view these demographics, and they like to see who views their content, so if they see one side is favoring their content, they might, even if ever so slightly, change their approach to appease that specific audience.


No matter what kind of heat or backlash an outlet or a journalist may get from reporting the truth, it is best that they always report the truth because it is better to report something that is true and take the heat from that, then hide or misreport information and have that come back to bite you later on in your career.

Political Takeover

Madison DeChellis

While November is approaching, so is the presidential election. It is that time of the year where every news station, magazine, newspaper and TV station is talking about politics. This has been a big year for journalists and these news organizations. Every news outlet needs to make sure to cover politics in one way or another. The way journalists are covering politics is what sparks the political arguments and conversations you hear about on a daily basis. But, where do journalists draw the line on what to cover? 
"Odyssey- The Right Way To Discuss Politics"
Truth In Politics

After reading a criticism blog post titled, "Big lie, little lie, and the media's role in telling the difference", I realized the way certain politicians can bend the truth. When talking about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and their political views, it is complicated as a journalist to get inside the subject's head to gauge intent. Ethics comes into play while discussing the election. The blog post stated, "politicians stay within acceptable bounds of verification, while journalists largely refrain from passing judgment on borderline truthfulness." It is important for journalists to stay consistent, neutral and positive while talking about these political parties. 

The Trump Talk

Recently, Donald Trump has been the talk of the town. You can't go without a day without hearing his name. This article talks a lot about Trump's campaign and how it appears to be an opening for news organizations to add value to their audiences. Whether you read an article on The Huffington Post or are watching a YouTube video, there is always a video or article about Trump and his political views. Despite all the rumors and talk of "liars," mainstream journalists continue to stay cautious about what they say. It is important to stay away from labels like, "sexism and racism." Politicians often "tell it how it is." 

Media Coverage

If you are on YouTube or any social media outlet, you will most likely see a political post or ad. Just today, I was on YouTube and the ads before watching the videos were political ads bashing one another. The way each news outlet covers politics differs from one another. In the article, "The Case Against Journalistic Balance," it talks about balance between false equivalence and balance in the media. As editors of a news organization, you should stay balanced between what the media is saying and what is ethically correct. The article states that editors with a strong ethical commitment to balance have said there is no need to public the "other side's" comments. For example, ads bashing other political ads. 

"Their point is that a news story is not a town hall meeting in which every citizen gets to express their views rather than what the reporter and editor decide is true." The Political Insider posted an article titled, "Hillary Clinton Calls Donald Trump a RACIST... And Trump FIRES Back in an EPIC WAY!" Just the title of this article gets readers to click on the article. "Balance may be necessary to the practice of journalism, but it will never be sufficient."


Journalism: Strive For The Truth, No Matter How Messy It Is

Cameron Fields

A major tenet of journalism is to "seek truth and report it." The principle is at the top of the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics (SPJ), and it's a principle that journalists must adhere to.

So why now, in this 2016 presidential election, are journalists seemingly timid about finding the truth?

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump has eviscerated the media for unfair coverage. Trump has only himself to blame, however, with his bigoted and sexist remarks severely wounding his campaign. 

Despite Trump's attacks on the media, the media has taken a defensive stance, indulging in equal evisceration of Trump. The New York Times ran the headline "Trump Gives Up a Lie but Refuses to Repent" after Trump self-proclaimed that he resolved the "issue" of whether President Obama was born in the United States. 

Trump's claims were so false that he was clearly lying. With Trump's blatant lies, The Times had to publicly condemn him for them. The Times engaged in quality journalism, reporting the truth, even though they denounced a political figure for lying. 

And, truth be told, more publications need to follow The Times' lead. Journalism is about showing the public what is going on in their communities. The media, whether it be the newspaper, television, radio, online, resembles a street corner: people are supposed to get important information about their towns from these outlets. 

Image result for journalism truth

Take the Watergate scandal, for example. Watergate was a watershed moment in journalism, with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein giving birth to investigative reporting. After Watergate, 72 percent of Americans had a great deal of trust in the media during June 1976, according to a Gallup poll

The level of trust Americans had in the media during 2016, though? Only 32 percent of Americans reported a great deal of trust in the media this year. 

Journalists need to gain that trust back from the public, which is who journalists ultimately aim to serve. Serving the public is and always will be journalism's first priority. 

One way journalists can re-establish trust with the public is to be as transparent as possible. For example, if Trump or Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says something controversial, then journalists need to provide context to the public. 

Further, journalists can't let candidates say whatever they want. That would be an exercise in not fulfilling the No. 1 journalistic duty: to tell the truth as clearly as possible. 


Clinton covering up her emails about what happened at Benghazi among other events should be publicized just as much as Trump's wacky comments. The important thing to note, however, is that journalists must always provide context. The public must realize why something is important, and how the topic will affect them. 

Journalism has always been about being the engine for democracy. When the public reads articles about their communities, they are empowered to make decisions and help their towns however they can. 

Journalists have an obligation to provide truthful information to people.

Let's not try and deceive the public with half-true information. Give the public all the information they need, no matter how messy it is. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Does Fact-Checking Give News Organizations an Outlet for Political Favoritism?

Sydney Dawes

"Image via Bill B from Flickr: "
This election has brought on a new wave of social media politicism. News feeds are overwhelmed with people's opinions on Donald Trump's behavior and Hillary Clinton's policies. Although everyone is willing to throw in their two cents on our current political state, there has also been a push for checks for accuracy, especially when the two candidates are formally debating.

This new age of fact-checking is an indicator that there is a general wave of mistrust among Americans toward politicians (this isn't news, though). However, some criticize different media forms for seeming drastically unbalanced in their coverage of the election. Is fact-checking just another way to show favor to one side of the political spectrum?

A Little Background on Fact-Checking

Fact-checking candidates isn't without structure. The International Fact-Checking Network constructed a code with commitments to the following principles:

  • "Non-partisanship and fairness"
  • "Transparency of sources"
  • "Transparency of Funding and Organization"
  • Transparency of Methodology"
  • "Open and Honest Corrections"
However, as with all guidelines, ethics codes, and even laws, not everyone will follow them. People (yes, including journalists) aren't perfect sometimes, a "fact-check" turns out to be another piece of false or misinterpreted information that works its way through social media.

Not all fact-checks are erroneous, though. NPR transcribed each debate between Clinton and Trump and checked each statement made by either candidate for accuracy and truth, and they're incredibly thorough with their findings. Of course, they also are sure to make note that their fact-checks have the potential of being updated for new information or corrections.

Citizen journalism also picks up on Twitter and Facebook during debates while viewers frantically google claims made by the candidates to see who is fibbing or who is misinformed. Of course, after this, memes are born and circulated for the rest of the week or longer.

Fact-checking rolls into other forms. For instance, as described in the article, "The Death of He Said, She Said Journalism," The Atlantic reporter Peter Beinart describes a new boldness major newspapers are taking: calling out politicians for what they are as opposed to taking on a politically-correct passivity. For instance, instead of calling someone "polarizing," Beinart explained, news organizations are now more comfortable with calling someone "racist."

Is Fact-Checking Unbalanced?

Many argue that a majority of present fact-checks are in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as opposed to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

I'd like to reply with this: in a debate, one person will always be less correct than another. Someone's argument will be less sound, less valid, less eloquent, less persuasive than another. Someone will be less prepared, less organized, less put together.

I think it's important to remember that "the media" (however you may define that overused, blanket-term) consists of people. People, as stated earlier, are imperfect. We all have our prejudices; we all have are struggles; we all have our demons. It's illogical to believe that any institution can be free of bias because every institution is made up of (you guessed it) people.

Maybe instead of blaming a "biased media" for political conflict and a divided nation, we should address the ideas that make us different. After all, if we're going to claim to be the land of diversity, we better start caring for the diversity of thought.

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 don'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 journalists, 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 opinions 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:

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 " 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, they 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 it's 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.
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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 experimenting 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

Americans' 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 newsroom and get more perspectives to report on stories that have potential for biases and bring journalism back to something people can fully rely on.