Is the media the enemy?


Staff Editorial

Friend or foe? That is the question. Trust in the media has decreased immensely due to the influence of recent political climate and perceptions of bias and accuracy as exposed through recent criticism. The digital age’s expansion of media platforms and developing capitalistic reign find themselves culpable to America’s media trust issues. According to a joint poll conducted by Gallup and the Knight Foundation, 69 percent of U.S adults have experienced a decrease in their trust in the media over the past decade. The nation’s divergent reaction challenges the necessary institution of press and media in society.

The media’s and press’ authentic purpose is to inform the people through a system of communication, whether that be through publishing, broadcasting, or the internet. The foundation and original intent was to offer informative perspective and advocacy for the expression of the people, not to mislead the population or manipulate the minds of the general public through bias and twisted language as it is accused. The media is what connects the average Joe to national concerns, politics, and significant issues. The institution of media brings us awareness. It perpetuates connection from communities to countries.

It proves necessary in the foundation of society through its inherent function to influence, inform and ensure the liberty of the American people. Media derives its power from its widespread network of interconnectivity, which is broadcasted to a vast and expansive audience. Its function as a messenger of information is what allows us to be informed citizens and connect with the world around us. Media is a two way street. Not only are we provided with an influx of information, we are offered a voice to express our stories, our struggles, our opinions, and our messages to the world.

The concept of media may be transparent, but its practice is what leaves America questioning its beliefs. Great power comes with great responsibility. Any power is susceptible to corruption, and it’s no different with the media. The media’s immense influence over the general public can make or break the life of an individual. In politics, entertainment and the elite of almost any industry, the media is used as a weapon to attack and slaughter the reputations of others through its manipulation of public perception.

Bias and accuracy find themselves at the forefront of public distress and skepticism. One of the main factors is the fact that corporations were built around these media sources, which makes it easier to exploit and corrupt. The capitalistic outbreak that has begun to suffocate the media industry has exposed the institution to corporate greed and misuse of influence. When everything turns to capital, sources are compelled to prioritize consumer demand over authenticity and neutrality. Bias becomes inevitable when funding for the industry is derived from business investment. Despite bias being an inevitable evil, many journalists and media sources do indeed labor to preserve the credibility of their work in this sea of partiality.

Inaccuracy is another antagonist in the industry that rears its ugly head from the oversaturation of media sources developing due to internet expansion. News has evolved from the paper, to the radio, to televisions and now to the internet, extending to all personal smart devices. From Twitter, to Facebook, to Google, media sources have become almost omnipotent taking reign over the myriad of easily accessible sources. Information isn’t the only thing that’s easily accessible today. Posting that information is just as easy. Although media serves to provide a voice for the people, there is drawback when the uninformed, ignorant, and insensible have just as much power to contribute. With this kind of all access, it is only natural that the media is tainted by drastic inaccuracy.

These discrepancies are what have factored into the deteriorating perception of media in the eyes of the American people. This is further amplified by political criticism. When the presidential bully pulpit is exercised to attack news media, the average public can’t help but question their beliefs. Gallup and The Knight Foundation also report that 69 percent of the U.S adults do believe their trust in the media can be restored, which means there is hope for the future.

As a nation, our waning trust in media foreshadows severe consequences. The media serves an integral purpose in society as an informant and influence. Knowledge is power. As a democracy, our power lies with the people, but that power is dictated by our ability to be informed citizens. Regardless of media corruption, the essence is the same. It is a communication network of information necessary for us to engage and function in the world around us. It is our responsibility as individuals to seek the truth and distinguish credible sources. We must trust that the media and press’ authentic intent is to provide us with unbiased perspective and accurate information, and although this may not be executed to its absolute capability, it is our audience obligation to hold them to that standard. It is our duty as informed citizens to support the press and media in their endeavors of preserving veracity and work towards a better tomorrow. It is our choice as consumers to validate legitimacy rather than accept absurdity.