Warping the Truth

How the Modern Media is Turning News into Biased Opinions

Trevor Klein

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The modern media is biased. Former executive editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson in her book, Merchants of Truth, acknowledged that “[The New York] Times’ news pages were unmistakably anti-Trump, as were the [Washington] Post’s. Some headlines contained raw opinion, as did some of the stories that were labeled as news analysis.”

More than 96 percent of all journalists’ donations to major party candidates during the 2016 presidential election were given to Hillary Clinton, according to the Center for Public Integrity. 

This affinity to the Democratic Party was not because of an aversion to Donald Trump. The media has favored Democrats for years. In 2012, the New York Times reported that every major media outlet donated more to Barack Obama’s campaign than Mitt Romney’s. 

Even Rupert Murdoch’s New Corporation, which owns the conservative-leaning outlets Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, contributed 21.4 times more money to Obama than they did to Romney. 

In a recent interview with former Navy Seal Mike Ritland, former “60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan made the case that the media was biased. Logan made the point that it is unhealthy for the American people to be bombarded by liberal reporters without enough representation of the other side. She also claimed that many reporters are irresponsible “propagandists” who often avoid facts. She noted that criticizing the media was “career suicide” for her. In the end, she risked her career by simply being a good journalist and seeking out the truth.

Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, the media has attacked him. Trump even believes that the media is the enemy of the people. I disagree with that. The media is a necessary check on government, and it helps preserve liberty. The media prevents government from becoming the enemy of the people. However, news stories should not be “anti-Trump,” but rather should be presenting facts no matter which political ideology the facts support. 

Julia Galef, co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, illustrates this point by dividing human mindsets into two distinct categories: soldiers and scouts. Soldiers respond to situations based on primitive reflexes in emotions solely to win battles. On the other hand, scouts observe facts and divide the best possible solutions based on reality. 

The modern media is full of “soldiers” who let their emotional ties to their liberal ideology and non-objective reflexes skew their reporting. The media is failing to apply the “scout” mentality and objectively investigate politics. Rather, they have resorted to publishing a series of biased opinion pieces disguised as news stories.

Opinions are a valuable element of healthy journalism, but they should be clearly labeled as opinions. Mainstream media outlets often publish slanted articles laced with opinionated inferences that are disguised as facts. 

Luckily, the American people have started to catch on. Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that the media has trouble separating facts from opinions, according to the Knight Foundation. 

Another form of media bias comes from selective reporting. Liberal outlets focus on stories that support liberal agendas and hinder conservatives viewpoints rather than covering issues based on relevance. In addition, they often ignore stories that counter their agenda.

The media used to be the symbol of productive political discourse, but they are doing they exact opposite in modern times. They spew out biased stories in near blind support of liberal agendas. An Axios poll shows the American people have lost trust in the media because of this lack of credibility as seventy-two percent of Americans believe the mainstream media reports new they know to be misleading. 

If the liberal media truly wants to seek out the truth they should not be afraid of dissenting opinions. If they present all the facts, then the American people can determine which ideas are right and which are wrong. It is disrespectful to the American people for journalists to try to pass off opinion-laced articles as news stories.

Their sloppiness is contributing to the dangerous polarization in our society. The media must return to the scout mentality that led to the breaking of stories including Watergate and the Pentagon Papers.