Everyone has an agenda; unfortunately, it seems as though our news outlets do as well.
As a mass media student who has taken newswriting courses, being a trustworthy, impartial voice is pertinent to good news making and is spoken of as ‘nonnegotiable’ in a classroom setting. Opinions are checked at the door before you even type a word.
This impartiality that is so stressed in the classroom seems to have eluded mainstream media professionals in today’s industry. Outlets like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, and many more are all guilty of presenting their opinions as fact, grossly labeling it with a marquee of ‘news’.
In fact, a glaring example happened recently.
This past week, The New York Times ran an article consisting solely of Donald Trump’s tweets during the presidential campaign. The tweets, which did not reflect the candidate well, filled two whole pages and contained thousands upon thousands of opinion-altering words.
Upon seeing this completely biased centerspread of one of the most esteemed news outlets in America, I began to feel uneasy. Questions filled my head, but one stuck out in particular: My question was not ‘why did the Times run the tweets’, but ‘where were Clinton’s campaign tweets?’ Would this not be considered fair?
If that was not enough, the feature came after the Times publically endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
Wait a minute. One of the most esteemed news outlets in America publically endorsed a candidate? I mean, really? Publically endorsed? Aren’t news outlets supposed to be viewed as a neutral source?
Yes, they are.
Newspapers are supposed to act as an unbiased source of information for citizens. Readers trust that the information being presented to them does not have sway either way, but rather remains neutral. This is done so that readers are able to read the facts and decipher their own opinions without influence.
But today, with newspapers openly endorsing candidates and one-sided news coverage, facts are suggestion and impartiality is optional.
Now, I am not suggesting remaining impartial is easy. I know this first-hand writing for the Reporter. There are times when it’s hard not to use the quotes that support your point. It’s hard to take on a topic that you disagree with to the core. It’s hard to be impartial. It’s hard to find the facts.
However, this does not mean that we abandon our friend impartiality. No, this is when it matters all the more.
For a profession that prides itself on pure presentation of the facts, news outlets sure have a lot to say for themselves, but knowing the media, it’s bound to find a way to say it just right.