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Reasons the Media Fails to Tell the Truth about Us

posted on: May 29, 2019

There was once a time when one could rely completely on the media for accurate information, unfortunately, that time had passed a long time ago. In more recent times, media has gained its own reputation for putting their own twist on information, whether it’s adding unnecessary details, omitting the important details, sensationalizing certain events, etc. The media has its own way of giving out the news, and most of the times, it’s far from the truth. Why is that? Here are some reasons why the media doesn’t tell us the truth about us.


There have been many times where religion plays a factor in what the media will put out for their audiences. Certain areas highlight news that would be more for people of the prominent religion in that area, city or state. When Mitt Romney was running for President, there was an increased interest in Mormonism. People who didn’t know much about it wanted to learn more about it and its relevance to Romney’s candidacy, so they turned to the media. Another example is after 9/11 there was a massive effort from people to deepen their understanding of Islam. Many media outlets choose to correlate the worlds radical and Islam together, in attempts to link the religion with terrorism. This kind of religious bias is what gives media platforms with certain audiences better ratings, depending on how they portray different religions. The issue with this approach media outlets have— using events as the basis for why media should even mention religion, doesn’t help the public learn anything about religious people and their traditions. Instead, it creates a narrower outlook, framing religious topics through the limited context of specific events. 


Advertising is a big part of media, whether it’s through news channels on television, or newspapers you read daily. Advertisements are the majority of the funding behind many media platforms. Advertising companies who spend most of their money putting out their ads on media platforms must be kept satisfied by the media outlets themselves, which has a huge influence on what news gets out where. 


Like advertisements, political parties play a similar role with media outlets. Different political parties help fund various media outlets to put out news more catered to their views, and their followers who will then watch and read from those media platforms. An example would be the difference between CNN and FOX News. Many people believe that CNN portrays more progressive views about the news and politics, catering more to Democrats, whereas FOX News shifts their focus more on the GOP, where their audience is majority Republican. In an interview with Jon Stewart, he mentions how Fox News “pushes a purely ideological partisan agenda” where they hide behind the front of being a news network while pushing “an agenda sprinkled through a significant amount of opinion shows.” You can especially see how much politics play a part in the media when you compare each news channel. Fox News is the only mainstream media outlet which voices more conservative views, whereas liberals get to choose from multiple outlets including CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, etc. 


The media, whether its a newspaper company, radio show, news channel, they are always looking to please someone, and in many cases, it’s whoever has the most money. Most of the time, it’s major corporations which media outlets rely on heavily for their funds and exposure to various audiences, whether it’s solely for funding, to get better ratings, or to expand their audience. 


When media outlets are presenting news of certain events to their audience, they sometimes may give the impression that bigger, not-so-common events are more common than they seem. For example, news channels influence the minds of their audience by depicting that an everyday accident doesn’t hold as much importance as something considered much bigger. They change up their news to highlight more rare instances, overshadowing smaller, yet still important instances. Making the rare ones sound like more of a big deal and something that needs all their attention when smaller events are then looked at as insignificant. 


Just as mentioned with sensationalizing, politics, or advertisements, media outlets many times on their own present their preferred information to cater to a more narrow audience. Some media platforms deliberately leave out information that may not be important only to the certain audience they aim to cater to. News channels and social media outlets will often take out important details to create their own story and get away with it because they’ll add a question mark, or present the whole story in the fine print rather than in the main title. This way, media outlets are able to convey the messages they want rather than the real message that should be out there. 

With so many different factors influencing our media, a prime source for information, the line between good and bad suddenly gets a little blurry. When publications or news channels favor a particular political party or candidate, the news is never the whole truth. When racial and religious bias occurs, audiences are presented with either the complete wrong or fabricated representations of religion and cultures, which also creates many issues today. The media still remains a majority of peoples main source of all things information, entertainment, news, and politics, but how reliable is our primary source when there are so many factors involved with their own agendas?