As we move further into the 21st century, it’s no secret that mass media is becoming more biased in the sense that more outlets are skewed toward a particular viewpoint, often political. I’m talking about the Fox News/MSNBC situation–outlets that claim to be fair, but come on, have you ever heard of a liberal liking Fox? This example is on a national scale, but it’s happening in smaller areas too. On UNC’s campus, you’ll occasionally see a socialist newspaper being handed out near the Pit. In my own hometown of Greensboro, there’s a small publication that catches a lot of flak for it’s conservative bias. There are politically geared Facebook pages that pump out news with a clear party bias to it.
Honestly, this trend scares me. As a journalist and also as a news consumer, I don’t see the real value in reading or viewing biased media. How is a person supposed to flesh out the truth when they don’t stop to listen to other viewpoints? It’s essentially talking to hear your own head rattle. And boy are stupid people good at that.
I admit that these biased outlets have a place in the sphere of communication. If you’re a conservative, it’s fun to visit a site that bashes Obama once in a while. And if you’re a liberal, I’m sure you had a field day on these sites during the Bush administration. There’s nothing wrong with interacting with people who share your views. That’s an incredibly human thing to do.
But the problem is when these media outlets start to frame themselves as “news organizations.” No, you are not news, so don’t try to trick the public. Hard news is 100% accurate with no bias. These outlets are only telling half of the story and doing a huge disservice to the public by trumpeting it as the truth. Go ahead and bash political candidates, but show your commentary for what it is: opinionated commentary.
It’s frustrating to watch this as a reporter. Last time I checked, I’m not in the business of encouraging a viewpoint. I’m in the business of telling the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. That’s the difference.