- The news media is essential to American democracy.
- The news media must be held to an incredibly high standard.
- What if the news media becomes biased and partisan?
The media, specifically the news media, is the cornerstone of a strong democracy. Not only does the media keep voters informed, but it also keeps elected officials and bureaucrats accountable. However the media must be held to an incredibly high standard, because if the media succumbs to sensationalism or bias, it becomes a danger to democracy.
It is sad to say that the American media seems to be headed down that path. The Cable News Network (CNN), once a symbol of journalistic integrity, seems to have now become, in the eyes of many, a symbol of partisan reporting. A recent Harvard study found that CNN’s coverage of the Trump administration was 93 percent negative.
The study found similar numbers for NBC and CBS. Many liberal and more moderate viewers hold a strong disdain for Fox News as they view it as a conservative stronghold. In a recent 2019 article, The New Yorker described Fox News as “a bane of liberals.” In the same article the New Yorker quoted Bill Kristol, a prominent Never Trumper, as referring to Fox News as “just propaganda.”
This partisan and biased journalism by major news networks continues to fuel the spread of more radical partisan minor news agencies. These smaller agencies say they are fighting the bias they perceive within the mainstream news networks, and they exist on both sides of the political spectrum. Liberal sites include Democracy Now, The Nation, and The Young Turks. Examples of conservative sites include The Washington Free Beacon, The Western Journal, and The Daily Caller.
Although these smaller news agencies are motivated to fight the bias in the mainstream media, they are inherently biased and only serve to propagate the issue they are fighting against. As major news sources continue to become increasingly partisan and a growing number of radical smaller news agencies continue to be started, it seems clear that journalistic standards in America are degrading.
The American media no longer supports American democracy, but instead is eroding it. Major news networks and smaller news sources perpetrate political division and political isolation. Viewers are exposed only to content that supports their ideology and never have their views challenged or examined. This only serves to create political division and isolation and this division and isolation is one of the largest threats facing the country.