Readers must be critical of the ever-changing media landscape

Of all the untrustworthy information we hear from social media, the one place people should hope to find perfectly reputable stories is the news. However, with the rise of political tension in the past decade, a time when we need honest facts more than ever, it seems that all we hear are opinions from people we should trust with unbiased information.

To casual and avid news readers both, the subtlety of the media’s bias has become practically non-existent and there is no longer any intention of obscuring them.

The news is a place for specifically that: the news. It seems that reporters, on both sides of the political spectrum, are becoming more ardent about sprinkling their opinions into their articles and segments, which can lead to skewed and, in some extreme cases, false information. A study by the PRC shows that 75% of people worldwide believe that it is unacceptable to favor one political party over the other when reporting the news. 

It seems as though individuals are constantly having to double-check their information because of this inevitable bias. According to a Gallup poll in 2016, American’s trust in the media hit an all-time low of 32%, the lowest since 72% in 1976. Along with this, 69% of American’s feel that the media trying to influence the way stories are presented is a major issue, while 73% believe that the spread of false information on the internet is a major problem.

Big media companies have seemingly transformed the news into a source of entertainment. From political debates to mass shootings, the details are presented in a story-like manner, sounding so surreal and disconnected from society that most hardly seems as though they are occurring right outside our doors. The media has become skilled weavers of tales, making heartbreaking stories seem like some sort of fable from a storybook, sparking an uprising of violence-junkies.  This seemingly skewed image of the world has been shown to produce a variety of effects on its viewers, including sensitization, desensitization, and in some cases PTSD. According to the American Psychological Association, a third of Americans have been found to avoid particular places or events in fear of falling victim to a mass shooting. This may be caused, not by an increase of shootings, but a change in the media’s presentation of them – the scary world we live.

It’s one thing to admit up-front that the platform is biased, but what we are finding happen more and more often is the media using their position of power as a platform for “woke influencers” to spread their opinions on the world around them and then claiming innocence. In fact, in 2017, 35% of people worldwide claim they avoid the news because they cannot trust the accuracy of the information.

This kind of journalism and communication must come to a stop.

While we cannot control how the media chooses to report what they may deem as news, we can continue to speak out against it, support news sources which give strictly fact-based reports, and put an influence on media literacy as we are now a generation that is bombarded with information, unsure what is true and what is false, what is fact and what is opinion.


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