Bias and sensationalism erode media integrity

By Branden Swartz | News Editor

Sensationalism and bias run rampant throughout the media, and many citizens question whether their choice of informant is reliable. An interesting predicament, which ties back to much of the United States’ early history, can be reflected in today’s media.

News outlets tend to focus more on promoting a particular ideal, rather than promoting unbiased information that should be available to all. Within the United States, a variety of different news networks promote their own ideals, no matter whether those ideals be conservative or liberal.

Information, the lifeblood of society, should be sacrosanct, respected by all, not skewed to promote a particular agenda. That being said, this is not the case in current times.

The worst offenders are the big-name networks, like Fox News and MSNBC, which promote agendas and represent a deeply rooted problem in current national affairs. Often, these networks use semi-fabricated statistics and lack of context to their advantage, making a certain political or social agenda seem to be dominant. However, the smart citizen becomes aware of this simply by changing the channel.

The Cliven Bundy situation is an example of this media bias. Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who was illegally feeding his cattle on government land, was regaled as a hero by conservatives until he made a few politically incorrect remarks regarding African-Americans. The result was both sides of the media scrambling to either cover their own tracks or to smear the other side.

To further elaborate on conservative issues in the news, the Benghazi situation is still being discussed a year and a half after the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. While this incident was tragic, it should not be the center focus of news forever, and not everything can be related to it.

Not only is bias extremely prevalent in media, sensationalism also grips the major networks.

A major example of this sensationalism is CNN’s continued coverage of flight MH370 despite more pressing issues appearing in the journalistic field. The continued overblown hype of the search for the plane has done nothing to help the search and has done nothing but distract citizens who are not involved away from more pressing issues like the situation in Ukraine, a dire UN report on climate change, and the abduction of more than 250 Nigerian girls by the anti-education jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram.

With these issues plaguing American journalism, some citizens are turning away from the more traditional television broadcasters. NPR’s and BBC’s websites provide far less biased and sensationalist information to the average American citizen with a few clicks of the mouse. Coverage of events and happenings can also be far more detailed, tending to stay away from the sensationalist and biased topics that plague traditional broadcasters.

Categories: Opinion

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