These days, the division between news and entertainment is an increasingly blurry one.
This divide only serves to harm the American public when it comes to voting and being able to trust the news we receive. “The Newsroom,” an HBO program that aired during former President Barack Obama’s second term, showed how a news broadcast could be handled as just that: news.
The show portrays a news anchor who completely rearranges the way his broadcast presents the news after getting a new executive producer who says his show is too safe; that he doesn’t choose a side on any of the news he reports in fear of angering those who could oppose his opinion. As a result, his team works to produce news that is consequential, not just forms of shoddy entertainment.
When looking at the current state of the news media, it is striking to see how many differences can be seen from the ideal broadcast displayed on the show and what we get on the news. The news anchor, Will McAvoy, strives to create a bipartisan, fact-based newscast that will act as an accurate source to help the American public choose primary candidates for presidency.
As people who rely on the news, we should demand high standards when it comes to presenting the news accurately, fairly and factually in a manner that is not served to further inflame the divisions and polarizations within the country’s political parties.
This culminates into a need to have a bipartisan broadcast where biases are not the emphasis, facts are.
In 2018, primetime viewership of Fox News, a primary conservative news source, was 2,434,000, according to AdWeek’s report of Nielsen Cable News Ratings. This makes Fox the most-watched news broadcast for the year. Primetime viewership for MSNBC, the primary democratic news source, was 1,802,000 according to the Nielsen ratings report.
Additionally, the report says that Fox has a majority of white viewers whereas MSNBC and CNN have an audience mostly comprised of African-American viewers.
It is hard to deny a distinct division within parties when it comes to the news; there is and has been for a long time a clear divide between Democrats, Republicans and their news sources.
Fox is the Republican news broadcast, and MSNBC is the Democratic news broadcast.
Like the news they are watching, the parties themselves have racial divides.
While the Republican party mainly attracts white voters (as seen by Slate’s report that Mitt Romney received 88 percent of his votes from white Americans), the Democratic party attracts far more African-American, Latino and Asian voters (as seen by Slate’s report that Barack Obama received 44 percent of his votes from minorities, and the remaining 56 percent from white voters).
This mindset is what is so dangerous to the American public. By trapping yourself as a viewer within one news broadcast, and only receiving one information source biased towards a certain political party, then you are only seeing one side of the story.
It is unlikely that journalists will stop reporting news based around one party’s side of the story, so it is our job as Americans and as news consumers to discern the story. Due to this lack of a bipartisan news broadcast, we should watch both sides when it comes to the news in order to learn about the full story ourselves.
Otherwise, you are being fed what newscasters think you want to hear, not what the facts are – regardless of which broadcast you prefer.
That is what fake news is. It is forming the content into the answers viewers want to hear. It is blinding yourself to facts. It is not asking one’s self what news actually should be.
Every story has more than one side. If we as a nation strive to make educated decisions about our presidential candidates, if we want to be informed when voting, if we demand to know the truth; then we need to watch and listen to both sides.
Then, and only then, can we make educated decisions.