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The Destruction of the News through Dishonesty and Polarization

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Journalism
Wordcount: 1613 words Published: 4th Nov 2020

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From 2016 to through most likely 2020 most of the country will be calling the main stream media Fake News. In all honesty it’s mostly presses fault because they lack ethical standards and, in some cases, they been caught in outright dishonest story telling. This polarizing of the free press is eroding our trust in the main stream news and that is a danger to our democracy. But there is a way to fix this.

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The News at its core is one of the checks and balances against corruption, injustice, and provides a important avenue for information on what going on around us. Some might say our democracy needs well-informed citizens making decisions based on facts about both policies and politicians. Without good information people can be led to the wrong conclusion. Doing that is unethical and dangerous especially in shaping opinion. For example, an opinion article (4) written by Elizabeth Wellington about two white women wearing white just days apart. In one case it was Hilary wearing to show that she was both soft and strong ready to lead. And in another article regarding Menina Trump she was wearing white as well but was an offhand reminder to the GOP voters that white is always right. Almost implying that wearing a white dress is showing how racists she is. This is the type of news Americans receive on a Daly basis. No wonder the country is seem so divided.

The News as we know it is slowing dying under this patrician era. The proof is the lack of trust in the main stream media, and the very evident spin we here from news outlets are trying to pass their view as “the news”. With each spin or lie that distorts the truth will Americans will turn away from the main stream news, and reputable outlets like Fox, CNN, MSNBC, to lose out to newer more opinionated sources. At that point there will be no way to have a civil democratic discourse because the information we receive is clouded by the spin. For proof look no farther than the current impeachment news cycle. According to (5) Avios the news is all about opinion and no facts. It has devolved into Dueling Echo chambers. This divide is so complete there are two unique versions to the same story. You could assemble one version of the hearing from the left, using MSNBC and CNN and with all the Democrats' questions spliced together, and then another view from the right, with the fox perspective and how they use the GOP representatives' questions spliced together, and end up with two completely different events. With both sides discrediting the others point of view furthering the divide. Most people today just want the facts. There are other examples of this hypocrisy shown by twitter user (4)@Incarcerated_ET in the article “GIANT RED PILL: Twitter User Destroys Media in One Thread”  Most of these cases are the same news outlet changing their views based on who's in office. News outlets need to stopped trying to chase the next headline or what some would call the “trump bump” and report stories based on more facts and less opinion it will be better for the overall good of the country. With all the facts and less spin citizens can draw their own conclusion. Most agree reporters’ opinions need to take a back seat and they need to report the facts in the news. Also admit correction when reporting something false. This is an important policy in the code of conduct for journalist mention un multiple books (2) and writing in general. When they are giving an opinion announce it and site multiple sources that agree to their assertion and cite those sources completely. That way their clam can be backed up and supported. Because Relying on just Anonymous sources without any factual proof is not enough to sway people opinion anymore. Doing the job correctly and right is the only way to restore faith in the way American view their news.

Some might say it’s too late because the trust in the press is dropping to a new low. According to the (3)Gallop poll only 41% of Americans trust in the news. Of that only 69% are Democrats, 15% are Republicans, 36% of independents trust media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. Where did all this distrust come from?  If you search “media corrections 2019” One of the Top articles pops up is the 101 media mistakes of the trump era. (1) This article shows us how unhealthy number of main stream news are lies and fabrications. Each time one of these outlets gets called on these it is blemish to their credibility. So much so people are turning to third party news sources for their information.

Why did the Medias become so polarizing? According to the book by (6)Uscinski, Joseph E. “The People's News : Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism”  it’s capitalism and the unethical obsession for gossip. Ideally, we want journalists to act selflessly in the benefit of public interest regardless of financial consequences. But in real life news outlets no longer look for the most important thing or consequential stories they look for the stories that grabs the ratings that gaslight audiences demographically or story that are popular things in opinion polls. It is these things that grab viewers. The author and People News argue that these incentives in the American free market drive news outlets to report news that meets audience demands, rather than reporting a story ethically and correctly turning and omitting information to frame a gossip grabbing headline. And they pass these stories as “the news”. This is where most reporters need to have a sound ethical compass, or they will be subjected to the whims of gossip opinion. Gossip does makes up 80% of human conversation. It is a powerful motivation to make people tune in. However, gossip a double edge sword. If information turns out false, how likely will you believe the next story that comes around?  And if multiply stores are found out to be lies will you seek a different source of information. Ultimately Uscinski challenges society and The People's News to change what we want in our news. Expressing the need for impartiality and facts over gossip. Only when readers demand ethical journalism over gossip is when news outlets will start meeting our standards for impartiality and public service.

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The way the media should go forward form here is a overall improvement in quality and fairness. In this era of fake news, the tenets of good journalism have never been more important. After all is Journalism is thought to be an honorable profession, though many of those who should care for it, often including its own professionals, have dishonored it. According to book Ethical Issues in Journalism and the Media (2) The book by Belsey, Andrew, Chadwick, Ruth F. Journalism should shoot for a honorable aim, the circulation of information, including news, comment and opinion. All of these are honorable aims because the health of a Democratic community depends on receiving this information and being informed. Also, to be clear There is no reason why journalism should not be entertaining, so long as entertainment does not subordinate the overall aim to provides information. Afterall being entertaining adds to encourage viewers to seek more about the topic. But we are also concerned with the question of whether the honor of journalism can be restored, it is up to both us as viewers and journalist who repot the information to demand better ethical representation of the world around us.

Works Cited:

  1. Attkisson, Sharyl  1/22/2019 ” 101 Media Mistakes in the Trump Era: The Definitive List” https://sharylattkisson.com/2019/01/50-media-mistakes-in-the-trump-era-the-definitive-list/ Updated 10/1/2019 Accessed 12/2/2019
  2. Belsey, Andrew Chadwick, Ruth F. London : Routledge. 1992 “Ethical Issues in Journalism and the Media”  Related ISBNs: 9780415069274. 9781138131941. 9780203005880. 9781134914807. 9781134914791. 9781134914777. Accessed 2/2/2019
  3. BRENAN, MEGAN 9/26/2019 “Americans' Trust in Mass Media Edges Down to 41%” https://news.gallup.com/poll/267047/americans-trust-mass-media-edges-down.aspx Accessed 12/2/2019
  4. CEREBRAL OVERLOAD 11/25/2019 “GIANT RED PILL: Twitter User Destroys Media in One Thread” 11/25/2019 http://cerebraloverload.com/news/legacy-media/2019/11/25/giant-red-pill-twitter-user-destroys-media-in-one-thread/ Accessed 2/2/2019
  5. Sara Fischer, Neal Rothschild, Scott Rosenberg 11/14/2019 “Impeachment's dueling echo chamber” https://www.axios.com/impeachments-dueling-echo-chambers-f25af040-5fad-47ec-b88a-052f040ec930.html Accessed 2/2/2019
  6. Uscinski, Joseph E. 2014 “The People's News : Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism” ISBN: 9780814760338 9780814762868 Database:              eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) Accessed 2/2/2019


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