Opinions World Issues, Campus Views

Biased news media becomes more obvious in election year

By Matthew Zacher ’18
THE ROUNDUP

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump frequently calls out the biased media on the campaign trail.

It seems as though the media is both Trump’s go to scapegoat and punching bag.

However, Trump’s accusations carry a lot of truth.

When one says Fox News and CNN, the first two words that come to mind are Republican and Democrat, or red and blue.

As a matter of fact, 60 percent of Fox’s viewership identify as Republican or Republican leaning, according to a 2012 Pew poll.

According to the same Poll, 50 percent of CNN’s viewers identify as Democrat, with 30 percent identifying as moderate.

MSNBC is close to Fox when it comes to skewed viewership skewed viewership, however, as 58 percent of their viewers identify as Democrats.

Because Fox News makes a point of not being a part of the mainstream media, and is the only major network that has a conservative bias, it is the only choice for Republican viewers who want conservative news coverage.

Because of this, Fox’s viewership among the GOP is understandably high.

In contrast, CNN and MSNBC split the Democratic audience, making each network’s viewership seem less biased than they are.

CNN is typically described as left-leaning. While many of their hosts are unbiased, a few of their programs are clearly biased.

Don Lemon hosts “CNN Tonight” and frequently editorializes on his program. Recently, Lemon stated on his program that it is difficult to have a discussion with some members of law enforcement about inner city crime because they just become upset.

This statement is a blatant generalization, and Lemon expressed no specificity.

This is a subtle example, but there is much more apparent bias as well.

CNN often has panels on to discuss the political topics of the day, and it is common on CNN to have a “token conservative” panelist. It is disappointing to watch three panelists and the host of the program seemingly team up on a conservative contributor.

Fox is guilty of this bias as well, as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity frequently entertain debate on their programs, often expressing many of their own opinions.

At times, Fox’s evening programs seem to be more of opinion talk shows rather than news programs.

Hannity, the host of one of Fox’s evening programs has publicly declared that he will be voting for Donald Trump for president.

Hannity seems to have Trump on his program at least once a week, and according to salon.com, has granted Trump $31 million dollars in free coverage on his program.

Hannity is not a journalist, he is a commentator, and because of his bias, his show has no place in a prime time news slot.

Fox’s nightly news programs have featured interviews with Hillary Clinton very few times this year, while they spend most evenings maligning public record.

It is important for a democracy to have an unbiased media to inform them on the issues facing the nation.

While the media is at fault with its bias, there is some responsibility that falls on viewers to broaden their horizons and sources of news.

Constant affirmation of one’s political beliefs by a cable news show does not further political discussion and progress. It only serves to create more partisanship and division in America.

However, it is clear that both the mainstream media and Fox alike have an agenda in the 2016 election cycle.