Is the Media Doing a Good Job on the Election?

In the spirit of our ongoing series, Tips for a Better Informed Public, we wondered how the public perceived the media. The series focuses on a misinterpretation somewhere within the conversation between media and its consumers, which led us to ask a few millennials: How are we doing in interpreting information from the media? Is it doing a good job? And how does this tie to the current election?

Bailey Heffernan @Baileyoheff

When my mind is stricken on the idea of the upcoming election, my thoughts are a flurry of unexplainable images. When it comes to me, I require a superfluous amount of facts to believe anything. The role the media has portrayed recently is one that boggles my mind. Humans are a very impressionable species, what with our brain’s plasticity and all of that. But has anyone ever truly stopped to think about their reasoning for picking one candidate over the other? Sure, it may sound justifiable in your mind, “I agree with so and so for this reason.” But how do you know that’s really what they stand for? If we took the time to actually pay attention to where we acquire our data, we may have to rethink what we thought was set in stone. Back in the day, our only source of information came from a mostly unbiased newspaper article. Presently, anyone can start a blog and make precarious accusations about anyone or anything. There are numerous Facebook pages for each side of our modern political spectrum as well. Are Hillary’s scandals truly so crucial to who she may be as a president? Are they even real? Or what about Trump’s conspiracy theories? Overall, the media has turned us into violent monsters over a democratic procedure Americans have been participating in for over 200 years. When I google the words “presidential election,” media articles and videos flood onto my screen. Very little of these articles are moderate, with just the facts. Most times, I see either a Fox News article bashing Hillary Clinton over her emails, or a CNN article making up stories about Donald Trump. I was always taught that Americans were the greatest of people because of the tremendous love and support we share for our country and our fellow Americans. Lately, however, I cannot justify half the things I hear. As an American, I am crestfallen. I personally will never judge a person for who they decide is the best candidate for our country, but I yearn for the American media to follow in my footsteps. So next time I overhear or the news, or scroll through an article about the upcoming election, I hope that I am receiving the facts, and not blatant hatred.

Willem Kernkamp @radicalrootbeer

The modern age of information is at hand – smart phones, smart computers, and supposedly smarter and more well informed citizens. But are we really using our limitless technologies to grasp pertinent information? The initial answer is probably a reluctant yes, but looking back on the many cat videos and useless life hacks viewed throughout the day, the answer suddenly becomes a resigned no. Where did we go wrong? How have we come to an age wherein reading the newspaper gives pretentious hipsters the opportunity to turn their nose into the air and scoff at our “unreliable” information? To understand the problem we must step back and view our society from a subjective view.

At the dawn of television, news broadcasts proudly held themselves to a high standard of unbiased production. No one picked sides, the people got their information as straight as it could come, the unbiased, and often hard to swallow, truth. Fast forward to modern day America and suddenly Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are allegedly at each other’s throats, each with an entire wing of networks and journalists sweeping to support and slander regardless of “journalistic integrity,” a code of morals as dead as Bushido. The real issue is that the news networks have become too large for their own good; how can we expect them to deliver the truth, no matter how unpopular, if they are worried about meeting their monthly quota for ratings? Now instead of focusing on important news such as the United States’s continued denial of the Armenian genocide (Look it up if you want your blood to boil), we get filler stories like what drugs the latest pop icon took at the after party last night.

This disregard for important information is undoubtedly magnified and seemingly parodied by the presidential election. The news stations have each shamelessly aligned with a candidate, the majority of which are on team Clinton but still invite Donald Trump onto their shows in order to create conflict, drama, and in turn get more viewers to tune in to the absurd circus that has become of our once dignified presidential election.  I am unashamed to say that I very much dislike Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, but the way media is acting towards them is entirely unjustifiable. I am ashamed to be American not because a man such as Donald Trump may become president; in fact, I believe that is one great thing about America: that someone with almost no political background is able to run for president. This is how the founding fathers intended it to be. I am ashamed that the media outlets are too focused on getting high enough ratings that they are putting access to important, current, unbiased information on the back burner in order to do so, and the American people are suffering because of it. I hope there will come a time in the future when the facts are checked and the opinions are unbiased but until then I, for one, will not be tuning in.

Rafael Miranda @Dick_Dollaz

Hacking Hillary Clinton: a story out of nothing yet why is it important? Nominally, it isn’t important, but the prevalence of these highly irrelevant but sensational headlines could reflect the stagnant culture of media shaming and classic yellow journalism. In the 30s and 40s, FDR refused to interview or be in the public eye while wheelchair bound. The coverage of his polio can be compared to the scare problem of Clinton’s health, in that the media plays a central role in perpetuating one’s flaws in an attempt to degrade their merit. In order for Americans to be better informed, I feel it is important for the media to play a more responsible role especially when our country’s leaders are involved.  While one can argue that a journalist’s job is to inform the public on everything with no barrier held, perpetuation of fears from both the political left & right media outlet is contributing to a decline in an informed public, even in the age of technology and information.

Hacking Hillary Clinton and other seemingly irrelevant stories in my opinion have begun to truly contribute a strong dilution of reality.  While the certain media continues to demonize Donald Trump, as a democrat, I think we have failed to take the perspective that the demonization has contributed to his accumulation of the GOP nomination.  The media should attempt to play a more responsible role in reporting politics if it truly feels a certain way of candidates.  In essence the point of my observation is, how can we be an informed public if our scope is skewed by our media?

However, we do live in a sovereign nation and media outlets are free to say and release whatever they please, and I’m thankful for that everyday. If the media is free to publish sensational pieces filled with more adjectives than nouns, then as a voter and as a citizen you’re free to truly make up your mind regardless of media & political pressures and you should vote accordingly this election.