In this hectic election year’s volatile atmosphere, many news outlets spew insults and even roasts at the presidential candidates. Both Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and their respective campaigns regularly bring attention to specific news outlets that are allegedly scheming against them. Trump regularly describes a narrative of bias against himself in news stations such as Univision, CNN and even Fox News. Clinton openly attacks criticizing news sources and labels them as conspiracy theorists when an unfavorable point is brought up. This raises the question: Is the media biased in any given way? If so, which news sources are credible and which ones are not?
When the allegations of media bias surface, many point to Democrats as the main offenders. Critics argue that news sources that favor Democrats try to pander to youth in order to increase support for political causes and candidates by using pop culture references, buzzwords and trends as an attempt to relate to them. Prime examples of this are Buzzfeed and MTV News, two entertainment groups that often attempt to make a footprint in the political scene.
These groups fail to present a comprehensive analysis of any political situation. For example, their trendy videos on political topics bend objectively leftward, frequently ignoring valid counterarguments from the conservative point-of-view. Because of their popularity in the pop culture scene, it is not common for the younger crowd to take in this information as truth. There are several reasons why this information is easy to accept for young people. One reason is that the liberal narrative is frequently affirmed and repeated in their surrounding environments. For example, because young people tend to be more liberal in their colleges, university atmospheres encourage and disseminate the same type of opinions they see in the media.
Liberal media sources clearly favor Hillary Clinton. Although favoritism and slight bias is generally expected, some news outlets go out of their way to outright praise Clinton while brushing aside her obvious flaws such as rampant corruption and political scandals. In August, Paul Joseph Watson from InfoWars.com uploaded a YouTube video on his personal channel introducing a theory about the poor status of Hillary Clinton’s health issues. In the video, he cited medical references as well as video clips as examples to support his claim. Initially, many of the mainstream news sources labelled him as a conspiracy theorist, but soon after a few incidents and observations of Clinton’s behavior in the public eye, Watson’s argument was legitimized to an extent.
Although the liberal media may have its faults, the right has its own problems. Many conservatives are older people with stable world views. The older generation folks find it hard to adapt to changes in technology, trends and political atmosphere. Because of this, many fresh and important topics of the 21st century such as climate change and marriage equality are easily dismissed by conservatives. In some extreme cases, backwards views like racism influence older conservatives in their decision-making. Older people tend to be invested into conspiracy theories because of their distrust of government. An example of this is Fox News, a mainstream news source that has a tainted history of dabbling with various conspiracy theories such as the wacky idea that Barack Obama was not born in America.
Conservative media sources show favoritism to Donald Trump, but to a lesser extent than the liberal media’s praise of Clinton. The Republican party is still somewhat split on their nominee due to his diction, views and demeanor. Regardless, there have been many distinct sources that follow the Trump narrative and discount his controversial statements.
These news groups are happy to go all out when given the chance to rebuke Hillary Clinton for her shortcomings, but often fail to bring the same attention to Trump’s mishaps. Fox News and Breitbart, two extremely conservative-minded news sources, constantly praise Donald Trump. Trump’s negatives are always downplayed by these organizations; Clinton’s faults are highlighted for their audience to see.
It is safe to say that there is currently bias in the media and always will be as long as humans are the ones writing the articles. Even if people claim to write objectively, they may subconsciously be biased with something as simple as word choice and connotation. Since this is expected, it is recommended that readers try to reach out to both sides of the spectrum in any topic, political or not, in order to really understand the issue at hand from multiple perspectives instead of limiting themselves to a few sources.
Both liberal and conservative news organizations try to pander to a specific audience by relating to them in order to feed information which may not be objective or true. Double-checking the credibility of the source and writer is crucial to make sure you aren’t misinformed. Citizens should not blindly absorb knowledge from a select few pieces of journalism, but rather immerse themselves in different sources and formulate original thoughts.