As impossible as it may seem, the issue of the media's role in politics continues to grow more contentious with each new issue that arises. Over the past few weeks, our community has engaged in thoughtful conversation over whether or not this powerful presence is a benefit to society through its ability to inform the public and keep politicians accountable, or counterproductive to the political climate through spreading bias and misinformation, intentionally or unintentionally. Here's a few highlights from what people had to say.
From the Op-eds
The media’s hard approach on the government is vital and should be supported. Important social advocacy campaigns would have had no impact if the media had not played its part. From anti-tobacco campaigns to issues like climate change and global warming, all have been put up by today’s media, to make the common man aware of his world. With the technological advancements, the effects of media have increased to a whole new level. With apps, and instant news coverage, everyone is globally connected and aware. People have become politically and socially educated.
Mass media is a key democratic institution and is vital in improving the quality of other institutions like judiciary, and other branches of the state, as it plays a key role in evaluating their democratic performance.The media has played a big role in different global movements and its positive impact on our society can easily be evaluated by observing its contribution on every level.
-Hussein Usmanrch, Pakistan
The media has always been many people’s main source of gaining information, be it from the morning news, celebrity tabloids, or scrolling through our Facebook feed. In this era of technology, when it is so effortless for anyone to publish their opinions on the internet, we’ve made it incredibly easy to be exposed to blatant lies and falsities in the guise of credible facts. It’s come to a point where middle school students in 2017 will believe the Earth is flat just because a basketball player claimed it to be (I’m looking at you, Kyrie Irving). And of course, there’s the entire “fake news” debacle, propagated by Trump over news outlets he simply doesn’t like. There is no doubting that the enormous influence the media has on the masses can be used for positive effect, but when the public no longer bothers to fact-check every politician they listen to, or takes every article they read at face-value, people become misinformed and then harm others with that misinformation.
-Kya Chen, California
From the Discussions
The idea of trusting the media to different extents based on political views is interesting to me. ...most people follow news outlets that agree with their political views, so it is safe to say that everyone trusts the media to some extent. That being said, with our current political climate it is a good idea to be wary of stories coming from any news outlet (no matter how "trustworthy") and make sure to do research so you understand the whole story.
-Maddie Danzberger, Minnesota
It feels at times that the only stories being covered are ones about Trump, whether they're of great importance or not. However, I empathize with the media in that, at this time in the United States, so much occurs and changes within a mere 24 hours, and it's difficult to give every story the attention it deserves. I don't believe that the media, specifically sources like NYT and CNN, which I assume this cartoon is directed at, intentionally disregard stories that don't affirm their biases. I believe that we, as consumers of the media, are responsible for seeking out a variety of stories and sources--a "balanced media diet," if you will.
-Emily Ficker, North Carolina
it get's hard to define what exactly is harming the state. The media's responsibility is to keep the State in check through distribution of information, and the idea that the state can stop that is scary. Now obviously if a platform is distributing hate speech or if they're encouraging violence or even if they're putting out straight up lies, then there definitely should be a way to fight that, but outside of that it gets blurry. I'm not super anti-government, but checks and balances need to exist.
-Enrique Eguiguren, Illinois
The strong connection between politicians and pundits is undeniable, but what does it say about the media when the politician becomes the pundit? The most recent example is when Rep. Jason Chaffetz resigned from Congress this summer and immediately became a commentator on Fox News. Do they make the news more informative? Are they more biased?
-Crystal Foretia, Maryland