Commentary

Why The Media Is Not 'The Enemy Of The People'

These are some strange times we live in.  The President of the United States is literally calling the media the “enemy of the American people,” which is a clear escalation of his previous name-calling of “fake news.”  

He doesn’t like that a large portion of what most people would refer to as the mainstream news are typically critical of him and everything he says or does.

I saw a chart get passed around online that mapped the political leanings of all the primary news outlets in the U.S.  I found it fascinating that we have such a wide range of opinions that match to such a broad list of news outlets.  

You can almost always find some news source that caters to your own personal opinion — and that’s why we get into trouble.  We have created a world that surrounds us with a network of support for our own political views.  We are rarely, if ever, offered the easy opportunity to see what others think.  You have to actively seek it out and spend time to do so.  

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Your social news feeds (Facebook and Twitter) are the two biggest reasons why this is the case, because their algorithms are intended to tell you what you want to hear — and they do this very, very well.

I spent some time last week perusing news sites for the “other” side of the story.  This column is not going to provide my point of view, but I will simply make a plea that if you want these problems in our country to go away, you should spend some time reading or listening to the folks on the other side of the aisle.  As the old saying goes, the first step to solving a problem is actually understanding the problem in the first place.

After having reviewed a number of sites and trying to understand the other point of view, I realized the media is indeed part of the problem because the media preys on the audience it represents.  No single media outlet is going to portray a truly unbiased opinion in today’s world because outlets are run by people, and people inherently have a point of view.

The largest issues our country faces revolve around the economy and racial intolerance, and there is no true middle ground there.  All people should be treated equally, and all people should be given the opportunity to succeed.  That is not up for discussion, but the methods for setting up programs to help achieve these goals certainly can be debated.  

The media has a dual role.  First, it is to facilitate the spreading of information.  Second, to hold folks at the top accountable for their actions.  

The media does a very good job of both of these tasks, and for that I am thankful.  The media is not the enemy of the people.  

The truth is the people are their own worst enemies.  We are creating a world that fosters this divisiveness.  We are creating a culture that feeds our own hysteria.

The good news is, this is our problem and we can fix it by ourselves.  We can choose to open up and listen to both sides of the argument.  We can choose to ignore rhetoric and vitriol.  We can be open to debate and honest in our points of view, and we can approach these topics with a positive mindset.  

The media would serve well to decrease the focus on hyperbole and refocus on constructive development of discourse.  That would be a step in the right direction.  

Imagine the Washington Post publishing one week and delivering both sides of the discussion just to make sure it was representing the people equally?  Imagine if Breitbart News accepted editorial from left-leaning folks with a rational argument to be delivered to the right?

I can’t make any of this happen, but I can influence the world around me by demonstrating a positive and open approach.  If the other side feels they are being heard, maybe they will be open to listening as well?


5 comments about "Why The Media Is Not 'The Enemy Of The People'".
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  1. Rocky Kurland from The Magazine Guys, August 22, 2018 at 3:15 p.m.

    Corey, well written and said. I only wish that we could turn back the clock 70+ years and get to a news media that reported the facts as they happen, not as we think they could have happened or speculate on who caused the events to occur.
    It will never happen as all of the media is wanting a larger share of the ad revenues. More readers, viewers or listeners means more ad dollars.
    It is a simple problem to fix as you said but with a very complicated answer. If I knew how to solve the problem, I  would be able to retire from this rate race and start to enjoy a life with no media bias from either side.
    Keep up the good work, the comments and dreams of solving the problems. Money is here to stay and all of the outlets including yours and mine want more of it as we do as well. When we get enough we will get off the tread mill and shut off the media outlets!

  2. Michael Pursel from Pursel Advertising, August 22, 2018 at 3:17 p.m.

    Cory.  Good article/opinon.  however you stated:  "The media has a dual role. First, it is to facilitate the spreading of information. Second, to hold folks at the top accountable for their actions."
    The catch is WHAT information is being spread.  It's what the MEDIA deems to be of importance to THEM and their peers.  Being accepted by the vast majority of your peers is more important than reporting unbiased facts.  Like Joe Friday would say, Just the Facts please.
    I've heard so many LOCAL newscasts yesterday and this morning leading/starting the Manifort story with "The Russian Collusion investigation has yeilded it's first conviction, and Robert Mueller is on a roll."  The charges Manifort was found guilty of had NOTHING to do with Russian election meddeling, yet the average viewer/listener is told differently.  Yes, we need to search out the truth, and that is where investigative reporting should be presented differently than your normal morning or evening newscast.  Having been in the media for years, I know first hand how the newsroom can and will manipulate the story to fit what the newsroom feels is right and proper.  Facts and the public be damned.  We KNOW what's best.  And it happens even more these days Cory. 

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 22, 2018 at 3:43 p.m.

    Cory, Cory, Cory. You, like so many others, are trying to use logic and reason. It will never work because it is not about that. It is about destruction, the same way Mussolini did and Hitler did and all other dictators. I am not going into history lessons here, but you can go back thousands of years and you will see the disseminating and control of information is the key to power. The greatest threat to the church in the 15th century was the printing press because people who learn to read could start to think for themselves and wouldn't need/give to the church. And so that happened with schisms coming on right on the heels of more books. Of course, fantasy did not begin or end there. The truth is out there, but fear is stronger.

  4. Kevin Wilk from Experian, August 22, 2018 at 4:41 p.m.

    Good article, and it's true... self-selecting news can indeed just be reaffirming the views we already hold.  Is there truly a non-bias media company?  Maybe Associated Press?

    Of course opinion is needed as well. If for nothing else, than to separate truth from fiction and analysis behind it.  

  5. Neil Ascher from The Midas Exchange, August 23, 2018 at 7:55 p.m.

    Dave,

    You deserve commission on every sale the broadcast and cable nets sell. You do a better job representing the medium than they ever have!

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