Monday, November 6, 2017


Alex MacLeod

The world seems more polarized than ever.  In many cases, it seems that no middleground even exists.  Some say that nonpartisan journalism is dead, and that because no one can actually personally be nonpartisan, that it should be dead.

This seems to be true, especially when the president himself is publicly against some (most) news organizations and supports others.  Many organizations still stand by objectivity as one of their core values, but it is becoming less and less common to see news organizations that are completely nonpartisan.

Mitchell Stephens of Politico says that disinterested reporting is overrated in his article Goodbye Nonpartisan Journalism. And Good Riddance. 

Stephens writes, "Journalism in the United States was born partisan and remained, for much of its history, loud boisterous and combative."

Stephens argues that when all reputable sources aim to be somewhere in the middle, viewpoints are narrowed.  When aiming to be impartial, news outlets shy away from words like "lie," and instead try to pose things from a neutral position.

This can be problematic, if not journalists, who pride themselves on telling the truth, who will help us decipher what is real and what is false?  

Fact-checkers have become more and more popular, does this mean journalism has become more and more dishonest?

Much of the problem is that the lines between reputable and non reputable sources have blurred.  In today's world, an outlet doesn't need money, credibility, an audience, or even a logo to proliferate into the minds of the people.

Reputable sources have to be more partisan, if they remain neutral the non-reputable sources become too loud, and silence the polite voices of the neutral.  Partisanship is now less important than simply getting the truth out there, because more and more articles read more like propoganda than news.

Even Fox, who leans right on all fronts, claims to be unbiased.

According to The Economist, impartiality is rare across the world, but American journalists still strive for it.  

The potential problem with abandoning nonpartisan news, though, is what is called the filter bubble.  Already, with algorithms and social media, people typically see things that they agree with.

This is caused by people becoming friends with people who have similar views and upbringings, and more and more people are using social media as their primary news source.  It is also extremely simple to unfollow someone you agree with.

Another problem is algorithms on search engines.  Through what you read and search for, sites like Google primarily show you what they think you want to see.  If you're a republican, you are likely to see republican takes on whatever issue you search online.

If we abandon impartial news, people may truly never question their opinions or change their minds.  Our already polarized world will become even more so.

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