The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth
Following the election of 2020, stories began to circulate about a supposed election fraud. Donald Trump asserted that he rightfully won the election. His supporters believed these assertions and accusations. Using this leeway, many Republicans began to believe these accusations and protest against the validity of the election. One might even argue that Trump’s words directly incited the Capitol Riot. Whether or not the attack was officially incited or not is debatable, but it is clear that news stations such as Fox News and Newsmax Media embraced ideas of an election fraud. These facts were proven to be false. This issue is bigger than conservative versus liberal; the larger issue is the media and its lack of restrictions.
A general issue with the news is their ability to determine how long current events will be relevant issues. There is not enough accountability for news stations in this regard, as they are free to cover stories for a short period of time, then simply stop reporting them. In 2014, a number of young girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria were kidnapped. At this time, many news stations reported the story, giving it national attention. Yet, as the days went on, the schoolgirls still were nowhere to be found, but many news stations started to decrease their coverage of these stories. These stories were still relevant considering the girls had not been discovered, but the coverage had almost ceased. Many of these girls have been released, but there has been significantly less coverage regarding the release then the initial kidnapping. It would seem that many media companies like to use events to draw immediate reactions and emotions from people, then terminate the stories once this goal is achieved. There needs to be more laws that regulate how long media companies must cover certain stories.
The biggest issue with news in today's age is the freedom of news companies to entirely cover one side of a story, without covering the other. The fairness doctrine, which required journalists to give a briefing on both sides of an issue, was abolished in 1987. The repercussions of this have been an increasingly polarized nation. Because news stations no longer have the obligation to cover two sides of a matter in each story, many do not. As a result, many news stories become similar to editorials, heavily biased. Media sources such as CNN and Fox take these issues to an extreme; CNN is known for most of its articles leaning toward a liberal view, and Fox has a conservative reputation. One of the largest issues of these one sided reports is the growing miseducation of the public. Many Americans are fixed in their views because they are able to choose news stations and stories that support their own beliefs, while discarding anything with which they disagree. Because people only look to support this confirmation bias, polarization continues to increase among the two major political parties. While the first amendment protects freedom of the press, there can still be laws requiring news stations to report both sides of an issue without necessarily prohibiting what they write. This would simply be an ultimatum stating that journalists must write about the whole story, rather than just half of it (not taking away their freedom at all). News stations need to be held accountable again or this misinformation will threaten this nation, as it has already led to capitol riots, some violent BLM protests, and a riot in Charlottesville.
It has become plainly apparent that misinformation is spread by both major political parties. Conservatives are not solely to blame, as many liberal news stories following events such as the killing of George Floyd often left many facts in these cases out. In the case of Floyd, it is not always mentioned that knee to neck chokehold is allowed in Minnesota or that Floyd had been high on a drug and screamed “I can’t breathe” multiple times before ending up on the ground, potentially confusing the police as to whether or not he was able to breathe or not. The purpose here is not at all to say that the killing of Floyd was justified, but it is to show that people need to be given the complete truth. Republican, Democratic, or Independent, a person needs to have an open mind to every issue, and a more heavy regulation of the media can allow our nation to do just that.