Partisanship jeopardizes objectivity
When former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was forced to resign, everyone seemed enthralled. ABC, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, NBC and most other major news networks covered the story extensively. Fox News, however, tried to avoid it, giving the topic significanly less air time on its network.
The network’s primetime heavy-hitters, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, grazed over the topic as carefully as possible. Both hosts spent significantly less time on the issue than the other networks. During the time that they spent discussing the issue, however, they made the issue appear less significant than it actually was.
For example, O’Reilly acknowledged Flynn’s resignation only in passing and then spent the rest of the segment criticizing CNN, The New York Times and the rest of “Trump haters” for “whipping up hysteria.”
Rather than getting to the crux of the issue and covering Flynn's resignation, Fox consultants took a detour and decided to put a headlight on issues that have not even been brought up originally.
Media bias has been a pervasive issue across all cultures for decades. Ever since President Donald Trump’s unprecedented rise to power, traditionally conservative media outlets and their liberal counterparts seem to exist on different planets. This creates the belief that the media is a divisive instrument that is followed by certains types of people. Fox, for example, seems to attract more conservative readers. CNN, on the other hand, seems to attract more liberal readers.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell sees Flynn as the possible catalyst for Trump’s impeachment, while O’Reilly sees him as a victim of the hysterical left-wing media. This is just one of the countless examples that divides the press every day.
Even Trump himself has taken a stand against what he considers biased reporting and has banned several media outlets from White House press briefings, citing their tendency to spout what he likes to call “fake news.”
Coincidentally, all of the media outlets that are banned are the same ones that have broken myths and have linked Trump to Russia over the past several weeks. Trump’s relentless condemnation of the media once again raises the issue of a distinctly partisan style in reporting.
With growing concern among U.S. citizens about Trump’s possible connections to Russia, the media serves as the public’s only key to knowing the truth. White House advisers, including Kellyanne Conway, have been caught in several lies over the past few months and have even gone as far to dub these lies as “alternative facts.”
Alternative facts are not facts and the White House has not been consistent in telling the public the truth.
Trump feels the need to attack some members of the press because they have the ability to find out potentially damaging truths and present them to the people of the United States. This knowledge can perhaps add to the growing call for his impeachment or lead to him not getting reelected four years down the road.
Fox does not have to worry about suffering Trump’s wrath. As long as Hannity and O’Reilly continue to pass the blame to the liberal press rather than question the president and his administration, Fox will be safe.
Partisan media has always existed and will always exist, but now its implications have extended to the highest office in the country. The president himself has become an extension of the partisan media, sending out his advisers to cite “alternative facts” and shun those who do not cover his administration the way he wants it covered.
The best thing the people of the United States can do, regardless of political affiliation, is stay informed. It is critical that one consumes media from multiple sources.
The public needs to confirm stories and facts with several media outlets before holding them as truths. The public needs to question everything.
In the United States, the people still hold the power, and knowledge is indeed power, which only makes it more troubling that Trump wants to deprive the media of it as much as possible.