Special Election Edition: Polarization of the Media

The media plays a massive role when it comes to politics. It is how the majority of people get their information and decide who to support. However, the media is not a single entity dedicated to objective reporting or helping inform people. Rather, it consists of factions of organizations each dedicated to promoting a specific cause or agenda. For the people on the Right, the media is a familiar adversary. Constantly we complain about how the media solely promotes a liberal agenda and will portray anything conservative only in a negative light. Also there is the complaint of the “fourth estate” no longer being a watchdog, but merely a tool of the Left to deceive and manipulate. These flaws are the reasons for intense political polarization and the rise of the extremes of the political spectrum in this country.

There is no denying that today’s media is overwhelmingly biased in favor of the Left. The majority of online, print and televised media has a clear liberal slant. For example, over 30 journalists have gone on to work in the upper parts of the Obama administration, something not found in Republican administrations. Another example is how the media chooses to cover events. Issues surrounding guns and terrorism are often given a distinctly leftward slant. Also the media is heavily biased when covering politics and elections. Take this election and compare the amount of negative press for Trump versus Clinton. Past elections, like 2012, 2008, 2004 and 2000 all show clear favoritism for the Democratic candidate. Then, there is the fact that journalists will give Democrats like Hillary Clinton the questions before they are asked. In addition to bias in their coverage of politics, the media has lost its role as a watch dog. Gone are the days of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Look at major scandals under Obama like Fast and Furious and the IRS. The media barely covered them and did little to pursue them further.

Then take the recent Hillary Clinton email scandal. It took months for the media to acknowledge it when info first started to come out. Even then plenty of sources were quick to defend her actions and even coordinated with Clinton on how to best report the story and mitigate damage. This lack of representation and strong distrust in the media expressed by conservatives has caused the emergence of conservative news. 

Conservatives have created media networks online and on the radio that will only cover conservative news. They are well-intentioned as they provide another viewpoint to the mainstream liberal media. However, this divide in media has caused a major side effect: polarization. Conservative media feels rightfully underrepresented and seeks to challenge the normal media. This in turn creates an us vs them mentality amongst the viewership. This is why Democrats consume liberal media and Republicans consume conservative media. Conservative media will quickly call anyone out that does not adhere to conservative principles 100 percent of the time. This has caused the rise of the fringes of the party and led to people like Trump being the nominee. The media propagated this narrative of the Republican party being spineless and capitulating to Democrats. As a result, the viewership grew more and more pure in their beliefs of the coverage. 

The media in the U.S. needs to be fixed. It is too biased to the Left, which has created right wing media that seeks to only cover conservative news. This has created an intense feeling of hostility and distrust towards both the media and the agenda they cover. The media needs to move back towards the center and promote objective reporting. News delivered solely on partisan lines will only hurt us as a nation and people. Look no farther than the state of our government and our current election. Polarization is the result of the media, but only they can be the ones to restore bipartisanship.