By Jacqui McLean
In today’s polarized political climate, it is imperative to stay informed about what goes on in our country. However, this task is made significantly more difficult due to biased media coverage. A common trend in today’s news networks is promoting their own political agenda rather than factual journalism. It’s the unfortunate truth that most news networks, although untrustworthy, have the power to impact political movements through persuasive and untrue coverage.
Although over 80% of Americans believe the media is an important aspect of our democracy, 66% believe the coverage is not factual (64% believe it leans more Democratic compared to 22% believing it leans Republican). As the divide between both parties increases, the difference in their “news” content also grows. But media bias is not just correlated to the news that’s reported but also news that gets removed. While outlets like Facebook and Twitter are protected by section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, their bias removal of predominantly conservative content has come under scrutiny. Masking the removal of certain content as “accidental,” Facebook has removed countless posts from outspoken conservatives including The Diamond Sisters, PragerU and Candace Owens. Other forms of censorship on social media platforms include shadow banning and inaccurate “fact checking.” Shadow banning is when a specific person of specific content is made inaccessible without the knowledge of the creator. For example, with instagram, if you are shadow banned your content cannot be seen or searched by anyone who doesn’t already follow you. In the case of fact checking, there is uneven enforcement of the rules, often directed at politically motivated posts.
It’s natural for political opinion to influence how you see things. However it is dangerous for media coverage to be controlled by personal beliefs as it is now. It’s crucial to not let the media destroy our country’s democracy by being aware of their lies and inaccuracies.