Innocent till proven guilty?

Kaitlyn Luna, Co-Editor

The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants the protection of being presumed innocent until proven guilty, but in today’s society it seems that a person can now be assumed guilty before a trial has even occurred. I don’t mean to take a side in any recent cases such as the Kavanaugh situation, but rather I am concerned by the way that our society seems to be so quick to sentence someone for a crime before all of the facts have even been analyzed.

Our judicial system is set up in a way that is supposed to grant equal protection to everyone under the law, even those who are non-citizens. We are granted the right to a fair trial, but by trying to convict someone of a crime when evidence from both sides has not been fully considered, no matter how guilty you think they might be, you deny that person their basic rights as outlined in the Constitution.

What happened to the days when the media was not biased, in either direction, and simply reported the facts? Every time I look at my phone I am faced with opinions from both conservative and liberal news outlets. Though they might not directly say whether they think someone is innocent or guilty, both sides have allowed their opinion to influence what information they are presenting to their viewers. The person should be presented as completely innocent until all facts, not opinions, are known.

In our society, the media’s role is to present information, seek truth and blow the whistle when corruption occurs; it is not the media’s job to mold people’s opinions to be like our own. Both sides have been in the wrong. When Christine Blasey Ford came forward to testify about her rape allegations, conservatives said she was a liar and a fraud; when Brett Kavanaugh was accused of rape, liberals said he was guilty and a rapist. The problem? This all began to take place when we still didn’t know all the facts. It was plastered over half of the news networks that Ford was a liar and the other half that Kavanaugh was a rapist. Opinions from both sides decided what information was shown.

When networks present their opinions as facts in the news, it influences the people who are receiving the information. A lot of people will align themselves with the outlet that is presenting the information they believe. When they are continually presented only one side of the situation, which is tainted by opinion, their own opinions begin to simply be what they have seen and heard from news networks repeatedly.

When someone is only presented one side of a story, the world becomes a dangerous place. If you ask an American what they think about their country, they’ll say we are the greatest country around; but if you ask a North Korean what they think about America, they’ll say they it is a small, vulnerable nation that worships the ground that the North Korean leader walks on. I’m not arguing that I think our news outlets are as bad as North Korea,. I am simply trying to show how important it is that the news shows the full story, no matter what their own personal opinions are. The job of the news is to present the information so that people can make their own decisions on the matter, not to state whether someone is innocent or guilty. After all, we are all innocent until proven without a shadow of a doubt that we are guilty.