Dear Media: Journalists, Cable and Network News
I use to be a big fan of news in general. I would love reading the latest issue of Newsweek and Time. I would tune in to 6:30 pm Nightly News on a daily basis. Perhaps, I was a News junky but I liked to be informed. However, something happened along the way and media started to change. It didn’t happen overnight and in fact I think it was a slow gradual change. However, I realized that news coverage was not about being informed but how to think. There was a shift in power and media was holding more of it than it should.
There was no greater example of this shift in media power than during the 2008 presidential campaign. Barack Obama was front and center and very few journalists were willing to properly vet him. He could do no wrong except maybe through Fox News’ eyes. So conservatives liked me jumped on the whole “fair and balanced” band wagon and just watched Fox News for honest and truthful coverage. Then I began to see the same biased coverage during this 2012 Presidential campaign in Fox News. There were six Republican candidates for the Republican ticket. Five of those candidates were vetted and critical coverage was given to every one of those five candidates except for Mitt Romney. There was no doubt who Fox News believed to be the choice for the Republican candidate. The power of persuasion was on both sides.
So where does a news junky like me go to be properly informed? There is bias on both sides. Journalists are telling me what and how to think. Information is now mostly opinion based. There are polls that sway each way according to which liberal or conservative news network I am watching. It is as if I am back in High School all over again and I am being told who the popular kids are and who belongs to the geek crowd. Then I remembered my High School years and realized I never bought in to that atmosphere of popularity and persuasion. In fact, High School made me realize how important critical thinking really is.
So this letter is really a thank you to all the journalists and news organizations. Thank you for reminding me I was born with a God-given gift to think critically. I now research the facts and I watch and read news with critical eyes. I will not be told how to think and I will use my common sense to make political choices that align with my beliefs. On occasion, I might tune in to your nightly programs or read your articles. However, I will now do the job you fail to do and research the facts on both sides for myself. I am grateful to you for also reminding me to raise my children to always question media coverage. Perhaps one day there will be a new generation of journalists who understand that the power of media should be shifted back to where it belongs. That power belongs to the citizens of this country. An audience who are more than capable of making informed decisions ( no matter what race, culture, religion or educational background) without media persuasion.
An unapologetically fed up blogger!