Is the Media's Bias Causing a Divide in Our Politics and Subsequent Nation?
Within our day to day lives we are surrounded by information, everything that we may ever need to know is now miraculously at our fingertips, through the advancement of new technologies such as the internet and all of our portable devices which connect us to it. In years prior, to get information, you would have to read a book, watch the news or get a news paper, but now we are able to get any of the information we desire, with the simple click of a button. But where are we getting this information from exactly and how does it shape the way that we look at the world?
A 2017 Pew Poll showed that 67% of Americans get at least some of their information from social media where in years prior individuals would primarily get their information from mainstream media sources. Within this same article it is shown that the number of social media users who use social media for news are dropping in terms of using more traditional methods of media for new. But what could be the reason for this drop in usership?
A major point of contention between the American people and the mainstream media is the overall lack of trust that people have within it. Many people feel that there media is constantly picking sides and lying to them and it is very interesting to see partially where this is coming from. Within recent memory this anti mainstream media approach is being spearhead by our President who seems to be very anti-media by making his fake news claims, whenever he sees a statement that he either disprove of or is actually nonfactual. For evidence of this, you may look no further then his twitter account. But can't it be said that what is confusing Americans is this pluralization of fact and fiction, that is not only seen within Trump’s tweets, but also within the media's coverage of stories in themselves? Is the media really all that biased?
For a great example of this political pluralization, look no further then a Pew Poll taken in 2014. Within this poll there is much contrast shown between those who see themselves as Liberal and those who see themselves as Conservative in terms of what news sources they trust and this can go to further show the disconnect between the people and the mainstream media. It can be seen as no wonder that the AMerican people have so little trust in the mainstream media system when its influences are so divided.
Another major contention that people have with the media comes in the form of political advertising, which has been proven too and individuals feel, cause them to come to irrational conclusions about candidates and political opinions. For interesting in depth look into the effects of political advertising here is a link to an APA article that does wonders for delving into the psychological implications of political advertising, but nevertheless there seems to be a scene of mistrust that has manifest due to these suspicions that people have of the media, regardless of how rational or irrational they seem.
Another issue that causes mistrust within the media, is the increase of opinion within their content and the elimination of what individuals see as real journalism. What individuals tend to interpret as real journalism is something investigative, we all tend to have that old time journalist in our mind, who runs around with a notepad and pen looking for the latest scoop. But now when people turn on the news what they see is a bunch of people usually sitting around yelling at one another debating the context within a situation, rather then actual news related details and this might be a big part of what people find so distasteful in the news.
Now this newfound tenancy for distrust seems to come from the rise of social media and this can be seen in part from a quote within an article that I read that states "Since today’s news consumers can get the basic facts from a quick internet search, many publications have differentiated themselves by shifting from straight news to context and analysis." Andra Brichacek. With this rise of social media what traditional media sources now do is go for the angle of analysis of content rather then just giving the news, because it gives us more question then answers and it is shown to attract more people, but the problem with it is the further pluralization that it manifests within the people.
As more and more of the the mainstream news sources, decide to further cling to their left or right leaning agenda, the more we begin to see people feeling marginalized. This can be seen within a quote by Timothy P. Carney, in a New York Times article, in which he states that "Democracy needs a trustworthy news media. For conservatives to trust the news media, it needs to better understand conservatives." This comment goes to show a recognition of the pluralization that is being caused by the media, which can be seen in a Pew Poll, which shows that right leaning people overwhelmingly gravitate towards Fox News in terms of sources that they trust for their information, where those on the left seem to have more options. IT can also be stated that Conservatives need to also begin to understand what they perceive as the Liberal news media, if they ever wish to come to a compromise amongst all of this division, but this all probably speaks to a deeper underlying problem.
The final point that that can be made about this pluralization, I think can be seen within this past election cycle. Ramping up to the last few days before the election the ad's and overall coverage was overwhelmingly negative and I think that apathy due to this negativity was seen when people went the the ballet box or as it seams, when they stayed home. Within this past election cycle the number of voters who actually came out to vote where at an all time low and I think that this just goes to show just what happens when people are so overly saturated with negativity, for they seem to get an overwhelmingly apathetic feeling. Abraham Lincoln said that “A house divided cannot stand.” and this can partially be seen within the turnout for this past election, for I think this overall apathy goes to show our division as a nation and I don't believe that it can be sustainable.
Nevertheless, this is all based of off two days worth of research and personal opinion, so who am I to say that this is all fact. But now I would live to hear just what all of you have to say. Is the media pluralizing the country, due to a lack of subscribers, are people just parinoyed and overreacting or is it something deeper that hasn't been touched upon at all in this column? I can't wait to hear what you all have to say.