Over the past decade or so there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of mass media personnel under fire for their personal convictions or political beliefs. Why has this become a frequent occurrence, and should it be considered socially acceptable?
Journalism (in this case specifically broadcast journalism) has played a crucial role in relaying important information to the public by means of mass media for decades now. It is the job of vigilant journalists everywhere to uphold standards of factual transparency in their work,
and when this standard isn’t met, the public tends to get mad.
In a world where information is simultaneously a currency and a potential weapon, can anyone be trusted with the truth? How can we distinguish the concepts of bias and opinion? Let me drop some examples here to provide some context.
Recently the news broadcaster Tucker Carlson found himself under fire due to the release of an unaired interview he conducted with author and historian Rutger Bregman. During the interview, Carlson berated and degraded his guest through vulgar language and unprofessional
Not so recently (over a year ago), news broadcaster Anderson Cooper, in response to an interview segment with Kellyanne Conway, rolled his eyes after the guest made a statement.
Both of these occurrences (one more notedly subtle than the other) are examples of bias infiltrating an otherwise civil and professional interview.
Where did these occurrences go wrong?
Having an opinion is a necessary aspect of being a person. No matter the job description, every person will always have an opinion about a matter. This is a truth that spans from coffee boys to congressmen, and always broadcasters. Having and expressing an opinion isn’t why journalism currently has such a bad reputation however.
Almost every significant news contributor (like Fox and CNN) claims to be
unbiased and vigilant in the representation of their reporting, and yet the previously introduced occurrences are only two parallels of the same epidemic. This is the fine line that has been landing so many journalists in the hot seat lately.
Expressing an opinion only becomes a blatant expression of bias if the context of the expression
is that of vigilance. Regardless of any political affiliation, when the line of journalistic standards is crossed, the “truth” can become untrustworthy in the hands of broadcasters.
I believe that no matter the job, no matter the affiliation, every person should strive to own their opinions. I don’t feel that I’m saying anything groundbreaking by writing any of this. I do feel like it needed to be said.