Breaking The News How The Media Undermine American Democracy
The media has become one of the most powerful forces in our society, actively undermining democracy every day by promoting political ideologies and candidates that are supported by the wealthy and/or politically active individuals within the industry.
The vast majority of journalists are well-intentioned people who believe they are serving their community by giving both sides of an argument a fair chance to be heard.
But as more and more evidence continues to pile up, it becomes clear that large swaths of the press is not only failing to provide this opportunity, but is also actively working to promote the agendas of those who finance its operations.
It’s time we had a frank discussion about just how much power the media has over the politics of our country.
Immediately after Trump was elected president back in 2016, there were reports all across the mainstream news landscape talking about “why the election might not be close” or “why Hillary Clinton likely lost.”
This narrative was heavily influenced by conservative media sources like Fox News and talk radio, both of which receive substantial funding from right wing donors.
And while these stories may have been true at the time, they now seem completely false in light of what has happened since then.
Since his inauguration, Donald Trump has consistently received strong bipartisan support for actions he takes, whether it’s signing bills into law, meeting with members of Congress or simply discussing issues with the public.
The media is too liberal
Over the past few decades, the mainstream news outlets have slowly shifted towards an increasingly left-wing perspective. This has influenced how people perceive politics and can influence how they vote.
Many people believe that politicians are only thinking of themselves and their own personal success when making decisions.
They think voters are not being informed well enough about the issues so they choose the most appealing candidate instead of looking into who will do what before voting for them.
This is why some candidates get a free pass from criticism because nobody knows much about them yet. It also contributes to voter apathy where people give up and stay at home during elections.
Furthermore, political journalists are sometimes self-interested in promoting their products or stories and thus don’t put in as many resources to investigate candidates.
All these factors contribute to the weakening of our democracy.
The media is too conservative
We as citizens need to take control of our democracy by educating ourselves about how the mainstream media manipulates us.
It’s time we recognize that the major media outlets are not there to inform, educate, and inspire us, they are only interested in one thing: helping Republican politicians and corporations run up voting margins by telling people what to think and buying them off with fake news and propaganda.
We must also realize that this bias is not limited to just one or two individuals, it is systemic within their journalistic standards.
By using sources with an ideological agenda and promoting misleading information over true ones, the media contributes more than simply lying to help Republicans. They actively work against democratic principles such as free speech, truthfulness, and equality. All these things are important for self-governed societies like ours!
Something needs to be done, and something has got to change. Luckily, it is not difficult to reduce your exposure to the media. You can start by limiting yourself to reading print newspapers online only and no television at all.
After doing so, you can use tools such as Google Alerts to keep track of what the media is saying. This will give you a clear picture of what topics are being discussed and by who.
Once you have found some truths about the media, you can begin to challenge them and possibly even expose lies.
The media does not report all news
There is an ever-growing chorus of people telling you that the mainstream narrative, what they call “the truth” or the “common good” is biased against you and your beliefs.
This bias comes in many forms, from sensationalist headlines to stories with less detail than possible alternatives.
It can also be a matter of whether something negative is reported or ignored altogether instead of being covered like it would for someone else.
Furthermore, journalists are not even the neutral observers they often claim to be. They are actively involved in both producing and consuming the content they cover, never looking beyond their own biases.
We have seen how this affects political reporting before! Before anyone had heard of the term ‘fake news,’ there were reports about presidential candidates doing things that weren’t true.
Now that those politicians are the ones calling out fake news, they are usually referring to stories that don’t agree with them so heavily. This only fuels the perception that they are wrong and dishonest, which isn’t a healthy place for democracy to exist.
The media does not tell the whole story
We as individuals need to take extra precautions in how we consume news so that we are aware of all of the stories, information, and perceptions about our government officials and politicians.
As more people start consuming online content, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate fact from fiction, real life events from made up ones. Technology has allowed for anyone to create an account and post content at any time.
This is why it is important to do your research before reading someone’s else’s opinion or claim. A lot of times, people have an agenda when posting content or commenting on social media sites.
Some may want you to believe one thing and go against what you were previously told was true.
The media is not objective
We as individuals need to take control of our own lives by educating ourselves about what matters to us, and then making decisions based on that knowledge- you will find that there are many different viewpoints, and you will be able to make an informed choice!
As discussed in the previous section, the media does not serve your interests unless you are already part of the elite. It may even actively work against you by creating false opposition between you and someone who it benefits financially or otherwise.
This article will talk more about some of the things the media gets wrong, how these mistakes hurt democracy, and strategies for protecting yourself from this erosion of trust.
Need to know More? Check out our List of Best General Reference Books or read our quick tips here.
I’d also recommend watching The Real News Network (TRNN) for more in depth analysis. They are one of the only mainstream news networks that put importance on issues like health, ecology, politics, and equality. Their coverage is less politically motivated than most other stations.
The media is not transparent
We as individuals cannot trust the news we are being told, it does not present information clearly or in an unbiased way.
The growing trend of big corporations owning major media sources creates false narratives that promote their financial gain instead of creating informed discussions and debates.
These companies use underhanded methods to influence audiences, by using sensational headlines, emotive language, and distorted reports.
It becomes hard to distinguish fact from fiction when media outlets are no longer independent.
The media does not allow for diversity of thought
There is one major factor that has allowed for the continuous stream of bad news stories in the mainstream media – bias. Systematic biases make it very hard to view the world as an outsider, or at least, as someone who is not part of the establishment.
This effect becomes more pronounced when there are significant financial stakes involved. As such, the media tends to be heavily influenced by those with money supporting their side of the argument.
It is difficult to believe anything that goes against your internalized beliefs, so most people end up ignoring information that contradicts what they already think. This way, consensus prevails and important issues get ignored.
There was a famous study done years ago which showed how different areas of the media promote completely opposite points of view.
The media affects election results
A large part of why Trump was elected president is due to how the media influenced his base. They painted him as an outsider, even though he’s spent most of his career working in business and politics as a millionaire.
They made assumptions about who he is and what he believes based on zero knowledge or conversations with very few people that know him.
And they ignored all the stories about his past that show someone not necessarily friendly to the average person. All these things helped create the perception of him as a big deal leader with no moral code.
This influence doesn’t just happen accidentally. The media has built up their reputation by holding themselves to certain standards and educating the public about journalism.
But today they don’t seem to have any rules – at least none that apply to them. Their journalistic integrity seems to vanish when it comes to powerful politicians they want to keep reading about in bed every night.
This lack of ethics makes them less trustworthy than ever, and thus contributes to creating more political apathy in the population.
People lose faith in government because they see no end to the amount of corruption that happens over and over again. And they stop trying to take action out of frustration.