For many Americans, a day is incomplete without the incessant exposure to current news. Throughout the day, U.S. residents are overfilled with the worldly information that attacks their brains through TV, phone, and computer screens. Announcements about recently released information take over conversations and exist within daily media. These constant updates can benefit the American people by keeping them up-to-date, but can also disrupt their individuality by forcing ideas into their heads or, if they are lucky enough to catch the deception, scare them away from all published news. Unfortunately, over the last few decades, the latter has become more present as American news sources transform from purely informative sites, to politically biased platforms.
Instead of stating the whole truth, many news anchors report their assigned event in a way that will likely benefit their political party -or at least not assist the opposing faction. Reporters have become more focused on the angle of presentation rather than on the facts. The reporters may leave out small details, flip the report in a new direction, or even scrap the story entirely, failing to give the viewers what they came to see: the news through a factual lense.
For example, Fox News -a right-wing news source- covered the first 2020 debate by relaying what they considered, the “top five moments.” The station emphasized Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s denial to respond to the court-packing question, but never mentioned the right-wing equivalent: Republican nominee President Donald Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacy. This response was arguably the most politically damaging of the night, and yet, the moment was nowhere to be found within the right-wing article.
Fortunately for the curious and politically active Americans, some news sources do provide the promised cold hard facts. However, to indirectly point their viewers in a specific direction, many of these platforms deceive their viewers with highly opinionated or influential words within their headlines and articles. One such site is left-wing Huffington Post; one of many news sources that deviously embeds their opinions within their news articles. Huffpost’s report, “Trump’s Crackdown On Diversity Training is Fascist. And Terrifying,” in particular, not only sends a partisan message through its headline, but also includes loaded words to define the Republican president’s actions.
Additionally, the mischievous American news sources enforce their opinions through implications. While many sources frown upon the idea of blatantly stating one’s opinion within a news report, the majority of news platforms are relatively comfortable with insinuating how they really feel. CNN, a left-wing network, commonly hints at their democratic beliefs within their articles and news reports. “The *real* reason Donald Trump walked out of that ‘60 Minutes’ interview,” for instance, uses a sarcastic tone when speaking of the conservative President.
“[Trump walked out mid-interview,] which makes perfect sense given what we know about the President,” CNN writer, Chris Cillizza said. “Trump, being Trump, immediately sought to spin it [his interview walkout] in his favor.”
The biased news sources of America may think their behind the scenes initiative is going unnoticed, but in reality, their sneaky tactics are completely transparent to the public eye. A recent study conducted by the Knight Foundation and Gallup displays that 49% of Americans see “a great deal” of political bias news coverage, while 37% acknowledge “a fair amount.” Consequently, the poll shows growing skepticism towards news publication in general, a dangerous viewpoint that could lead to a domino effect. As distrust expands across the nation, citizens may give up on trying to stay neutral, putting them directly in the center of their chosen political beliefs, and closing their minds to outside facts. To take it one step further in the wrong direction, Americans have begun to disregard all news, leaving them completely out of the loop on the world’s happenings.
Additional data from the study explains that 56% of Americans notice bias in their go-to daily news sources. This is no doubt a result of the explosion of biased news around the country, but is also assisted by opinionated viewers. According to Gallup, 94% of Fox News viewers identify as or lean Republican; similarly, 46% of CNN viewers identify as Democrat, and 63% lean Democratic. Evidently, news sources are more inclined to pursue a “preaching to the choir” tactic by reporting what they, and their followers, want to hear.
Many factors have led to the lack of nonpartisan, and therefore fully credible news sites in America. One cause, according to Allsides, is the educational path that many journalists take. Not all have their sights initially set on professional journalism, instead many writers have taken career twists and turns before ending up in the influential position. Their past educational and occupational experience may gradually affect their mindset, popping biased perspectives into their brains without knowledge of the action. If a journalist is lucky enough to walk away impartially, they still have a chance at acquiring a partisan opinion from the people they are in contact with, or the network that they work for. In addition to the writers, the news network regulations have also helped supply partisanship. In 1987, the Fairness Doctrine -a federal policy requiring all television and radio broadcasters to present contrasting perspectives on controversial topics- expired, opening the floodgates for one-sided opinions and a lack of neutrality within the news industry.
With so many partisan news sources, it is difficult to decipher the trustworthiness of each report. The best way to stay fully updated and as neutral as possible is to look at the varying sources. If a left-wing platform posts an article, either read that one and the right-wing counterpart as well, or stick to the least biased sites, such as NPR, USA Today, and of course, the MCSUN.