Why the Media is the Problem

John Benhart, Editor in Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

We live in an age of mass media.  From the New York Times App, the Post-Gazette paper, the nightly CBS News, or Bill O’Reilly’s show, we get our information right as the crime is discovered or the Exchange drops a couple of points.  We also live in an age of political gridlock; social, economic, and military issues divide the nation’s leaders and throw the government into shutdown.  Many so-called informed people would say that the Congress and the nation are becoming more polarized and uncompromising, but the problem may actually be the media that informs us.

The Media is naturally biased; with a wealth of stories worldwide, NBC must choose those few which it thinks are most important to show nightly.  News sources also are not in the business of making a well-informed population; they are in the business to make money.  The best way for a channel or website to bring in viewers and thus more revenue is to provide easy to read, exciting stories about the latest murder or a newborn kitten video.  People do not want complexity; they want short points telling them what to think and believe in the fewest sentences.  Thus, the people give the media control to promote a political viewpoint.

While many are angered at how biased and politically charged news can be, it is this news that generates the most revenue.  As a daily watcher of Bill O’Reilly, I can personally say that a lot of the stories he covers, the people he interviews, and the things he says are very conservative.  Many Republicans enjoy watching his show to hear and reinforce their beliefs daily, although numerous Democrats tune in as well, sending him angry emails or just complaining about what he says to their friends.  Yet they still watch his show.  People enjoy hearing charged language, whether they agree or disagree, so the media gives them this.

Generally, the average person and average congressman are political moderates; they fall in the middle range on political issues.  They may favor abortion and gay marriage while also advocating for decreased government and a reduction of welfare programs.  Most importantly, the average person is willing to compromise.  But the media, however, would have us believe something much different.  The daily news sources paint a scene of an armed group of businessmen standing across a war torn Congress from a bunch of marijuana-smoking picketers.  The people really are willing to compromise, as are most congressmen, but it is the extremists, such as Ted Cruz and Nancy Pelosi, who receive the most air time.

What the nation needs in this time of media-labeled gridlock is freedom from the media itself.  The average person needs to hear not that Republicans are racists or that Democrats are anti-business, but that there are representatives and senators as well as citizens from each party working daily to balance the ideals of both ends of the spectrum.  The people have lost their faith in compromise; not that it would not work once reached, but that the Congress is unable to achieve agreement.    It is time for the media to show stories and write columns about how the nation’s parties are working together, and how the age of extremism can be surpassed.  Though people’s beliefs would not change overnight, the process starts with positive rhetoric.  But right now, only the negatively slanted media is speaking.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email