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Media and Politics: Where Did We Go Wrong?
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Media and Politics: Where Did We Go Wrong?

John B. Henderson

John B. Henderson

John B. Henderson

John Orzechowski, Head Writer

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As I scroll through the Apple News app, my feed is being bombarded with, not what I’m necessarily looking for (mainly stuff from ESPN and Complex), but rather political news. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s important to stay up to date with what’s happening. I think it’s a borderline civic duty for American citizens to understand what’s happening in their government. But every headline I see is reporting the same news, just from two different angles. The sources I want to get news from say one thing,while other sources say the opposite.

The two party system has practically been America’s government since the penning of the Constitution. And with two parties, comes divided opinions that makes for awkward run-ins, bitter arguments, and scathing twitter wars. So why is it so bad now?

First, we have to look at who’s got the most power in the country right now. Donald Trump is one of the most controversial figures in politics in decades. In fact, he’s so polarizing, that he’s created more than two sides. There’s the Liberal part of the country who hates him, the Republican part of the country who loves him, the Republicans who tolerate him because he’s a Republican president, and the people in the middle who could care less about politics but have been hearing from all over how awful he is. His victory was one to be questioned, so any of his opponents are quick to say he should be gone. He’s also made derogatory remarks about women, minorities and the disabled. There’s plenty to not like about him. On the flip side, his supporters would say he’s taking action that President Obama wouldn’t, and that he’s getting things done. He’s lowered unemployment and is making National security a top priority. Trump’s performance and behavior has created a huge debate between the sides that want him gone ASAP and those who are ready to re-elect him in 2020.

Next, we have to look at the media. Mass media, as a whole, is overwhelmingly leftist. Taking a look at the number of leftist media sources compared to the number of right wing sources, there’s a major gap. Take the three most watched cable news channels, for example. Fox News represents conservative viewpoints. CNN and MSNBC both represent liberal viewpoints. Along with this, channels like ESPN, GQ, and Rolling Stone also present news in a from a democratic point of view. Even if you aren’t looking for news, you’ll find political opinions everywhere you look. People don’t branch out enough when it comes to where they get their information, so the people who get their news from the Daily Wire are going to have drastically different takes than someone who gets news from MSNBC. So, when people get into an argument, it becomes “Ben Shapiro said” vs. “Rachel Maddow said” without much of their own opinion. This becomes dangerous: the people that we get our news from have opinions that shape ours. And since most people refuse to stretch outside their political party’s media outlets, they fill their minds with why the other side is so wrong and why they are so right.

Let’s take an issue like immigration. It’s basically split into two different sides: a Republican and a Democratic side (or more accurately, Pro-Trump and anti-Trump), and it centers around what we should do about the border. President Trump ran a majority of his campaign off the belief that the Mexican border was a threat to national security. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise when he takes major action against people who are trying to come to the country illegally. Most people are against a bunch of people living here illegally. So why have Trump’s actions in the last couple months been met with such outrage?

The liberal media has vilified him as a heartless dictator who doesn’t care about families and is fine tear-gassing babies. Conservative media has responded by arguing that if these people hadn’t been there trying to cross a border they weren’t supposed to be crossing, they wouldn’t have been tear gassed. So it’s up to these two viewpoints to influence what most of America thinks about the border issue. And when someone listens to Glenn Beck and someone else gets their news from Vox, they’re going to argue and it’ll eventually dissolve into a name- calling match between the Fascist Redneck and the Liberal Snowflake.

So how do we tone down the divide to a reasonable level?

We can’t censor the media. They’re protected by the first amendment. The Constitution protects everyone’s beliefs and speech unless it incites violence, in which case it’s a crime. And I won’t say that openly opinionated media doesn’t have its place. It’s a viable news source, it just approaches issues from a certain angle. But we need to branch out past the sources that support our ideas. Both sides can venture across the aisle to figure out what the other side thinks. If you disagree with what you hear, you can stick with what you think. If you find a good point, it encourages thought.

While most people won’t select news sources that challenge their views, we should at least be willing to find more neutral sources to get news from. That way, the information we’re getting is actually news, and not just a rant with a stance. 

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Media and Politics: Where Did We Go Wrong?