Journalism began as an objective way to inform the public. It is one of the most important professions regarding democracy and also the only profession protected in the Constitution. However, today, news coverage and newspapers have become increasingly biased and opinionated, disrupting the true meaning of democracy and robbing citizens of the right to make their own decisions and decide on their own beliefs.
One of the biggest problems with bias and opinion in the news is the role it plays in the democratic and political process. When the Founding Fathers created the Constitution they were concerned with making sure the government didn’t get too much power and that government officials were held to a certain standard. Although, in today’s time, it seems that certain political parties have created a partnership with different news stations, diminishing any objectivity news should have. Large news outlets such as Fox News and CNN help fuel the disbelief of news among the public. Although social media and online platforms are the reason for most of the distrust in news, political bias has become generalized.
Bias in the news is not just a problem because of politics, it also impacts citizens on a social level, commonly known as “Trial by Media.” According to a journal article titled “Trial by Media: The Betrayal of the First Amendment’s Purpose,” the effect of the media in court disrupts the court’s ruling and decision. The news and journalists control the narrative of every story that is put out. News outlets have the power to condemn people through the pictures they post and the different angles of a story they decide to cover. For instance, black men are more commonly portrayed as dangerous monsters in the media. An example of this would be the Central Park Five. The media portrayed them as ravaging beasts and despite their innocence, the public decided based on the news that the boys were guilty. There were also cases like the O.J. Simpson and Sam Sheppard cases. A journalist is tasked with informing the public about cases, not convicting people.
According to an article published on medium.com, some journalists treat the news the same way businesses treat products. Meaning, it is almost like they are selling the news; only telling and reporting on the most interesting stories instead of stories that actually matter, or may actually be important.
The news media needs to work for everyone, not just a certain political party or a certain group of people. One of the ways we can combat this is by really pushing media literacy. If the media doesn’t revert back to being completely objective, then the news outlets could possibly lose all of their credibility. There needs to be a balance of power between the government, the media and the public. This balance can be created by separating the news media and entertainment. They don’t belong together. People also have to realize that journalists are not robots, and if they make an error, it’s not because they are trying to mislead the public. As long as they make a quick correction and apologize publicly, they shouldn’t be deemed fake news.
The public has been failing to realize that journalists serve the public. A journalist’s priority is the people they serve. Journalists put their lives, beliefs and opinions on the back burner to ensure that the public knows what’s going on.