The Lack of Credibility in Mass Media

By Alex Starovoytov (Political Correspondent)

Following the controversial presidential election of 2016 and the ensuing aftermath of the results, the credibility of mass media has risen to the surface of political discussions, turning into a questionable topic.

Covering everything from presidential remarks to governmental blowups, mass media has taken the national stage by politically replacing newspapers, magazines, and other forms of communication. But more importantly, its major impact or at least effect, whether positive or negative, on the general public has arguably reached the highest point in the history of news. Individuals are beginning to form personal opinions regarding the reliability of such sources.

Dan Lucas, writer for USA Today, took a firm stance on the validity of mass media, essentially labeling it as a failure during the time leading up to Trump’s victory.

“It wasn’t just that they got it so completely wrong, but the November results showed just how much the mainstream media has lost their influence. They had done everything possible to throw the election to Hillary in their terribly biased coverage — and Hillary still lost!” wrote Lucas.

“It should come as no surprise then, that despite the barrage of completely unhinged media coverage of President Trump, a new Emerson College poll of voters found the Trump Administration is more trusted than the news media. Ouch!” added Lucas.

According to Kristen Bialik and Katerina Eva Matsa of the Pew Research Center, “About a third of U.S. adults (32%) say they often see made-up political news online,” and “About half (51%) say they often see political news online that is at least somewhat inaccurate.”

“I think most mass media, because it’s a business, are going to put emphasis on the stories that make them money which is why the only newscast I listen to is PBS. It is publicly funded and there’s no advertising, so i feel like they’re much more credible,” said SHS history teacher Courtnay Malcolm.

Malcolm says that social media has also had a large impact on the population by placing people in “personal bubbles” where they become “polarized” and only communicate or correspond with those that they concur with.

“If you don’t travel, if you don’t meet other kinds of people who don’t think like you, if you’re really kind of in your own bubble, then that can really affect the way you view the world and the way that the you react to the media too, because you’re going to hear something and you are not going to have the context to know: oh that doesn’t sound right or this doesn’t sound right,” added Malcolm.

SHS Debate captain Davis Miller says that if one knows where to look, then he or she can locate truthful parts of mass media. “No one source is going to be always right, but there’s plenty of credible information in lots of places.”

“Over the last few years, I think the media has become increasingly politicized where reporters and organizations try to promote an agenda rather than report facts,” noted Miller.

SHS junior Michael Anchan says that “today’s media too often rejects truth for what sells” and that factual reporting has shifted to a system based on “money and emotions.”

“Unfortunately, both young and old are not immune to the sway of mass media. We, as Americans, have strayed so far as we take in what is presented to us and believe that it ought to be accepted by us. We are now a young and old generation of uninformed, sometimes ignorant people,” concluded Anchan.

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