The US Media, and its Liberal Bubble
"Too many journalists see their work as an opportunity to promote their own pet political notions, rather than a responsibility to inform the public and let their readers and viewers decide for themselves" -TS
A few weeks before the 2016 presidential election most US media experts predicted a crushing victory for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump. Election forecasters, including but certainly not limited to The New York Times Upshot, FiveThirtyEight, and Huffington Post put Clinton’s chances of winning at anywhere from 70 to 99% and made her the heavy favorite to win states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Of course, they were all horribly wrong, as Trump won those states and the Oval Office. This prompted the Pew Research Center to ask “Did we all believe Clinton would win because of bad data, or did we ignore good data because we believed Clinton would win?”
Or perhaps there is a better to question to ask.
Is it possible that a bias against Donald Trump within the media was so influential, that it corrupted the minds of thousands of experts and let their own personal political vendettas affect their professional predictions? The answer is undeniably yes.
According to POLITICO, ideological clustering in top newsrooms led to groupthink. “As of 2013, only 7 percent of [journalists] identified as Republicans,” Politico wrote in March, chiding the press for its political homogeneity. the same POLITICO also specifies that two thirds of all TV anchors in the united states lean left, and that 96% of media outlet political donations in 2016 went to Clinton.
Just after the election, Steve Bannon savaged the press on the same point but with a heartier vocabulary. “The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what’s wrong with this country,” Bannon told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no fucking idea what’s going on.”
Undeniably, this personal bias translated into the information broadcasted by these networks, whether that be written or on the air, outlets with opinionated journalists became full-fledged propaganda machines, not bothering to present any fair or balanced point of views.
But when Politico mentions a bubble, they don’t solely mean a psychological one, but a geographical one. As newspapers increasingly fall in the face of internet press over the last decade, so have their jobs, which were until now spread evenly across the country, with almost each town and county with some sort of news representations.
But internet jobs are not. Today, 73 percent of all internet publishing jobs are concentrated in either the Boston-New York-Washington-Richmond corridor or the West Coast crescent that runs from Seattle to San Diego. Leading to more than half of all publishing employees working in counties that Clinton won by 30 points or more
Conclusion? The distribution of newspaper and online publishing jobs has grown less representative of the nation as a whole. The entire spectrum of opinions of the American people is no longer rightfully represented in the media, and very few viewers and listeners actually fully adhere to the leftist platforms put forth by such outlets.
take the New York Times for example, arguably the most influential news source in the USA, and yet not a single Trump supporter resides in its editorial board. How is one supposed to expect grounded and balanced viewpoints in such a climate?
This is but the tip of a bias extremely well documented and often responsible for many discrepancies of opinions both on the screen, on the radio or on the page.
Outlets like CNN are particularly guilty of filtering opinions, judging by the fact that they only invite on air Trump supporters a vast minority of the time. And when a well-spoken right leaning individual is on air, (for this I invite you to witness it for yourself), they are often not let time to properly expose their views as well as their left leaning counterparts, and sometimes treated with upmost disrespect.
But off course, this vendetta against right leaning opinions and its monopoly of public thought is not only present in organized mass media outlets, but also in the omnipresent and rather new form of information spreading known as Social Media.
It is not widely acknowledged that through various web platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, a particular string of ideals or individuals are not especially welcome.
Right leaning platforms tend to be more scrutinized and susceptible to attacks or even censorship. Conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos’ twitter has long been silenced by twitter itself in reaction to presumed “hate speech”.
On the video viewing behemoth that is YouTube, conservative outlet Prager University, a hallmark for sensible, diverse, and rational opinions whether you agree with them or not, has had their videos banned or taken down for fear of the same.
Not only is this a disgrace in regards to the interdiction of a specific opinion and the censorship of diversity of thought, but it is very clearly politically motivated. As the famed writer Christopher Hitchens once said,
"Every time you silence someone you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something."
And that is exactly what these outlets and platforms are guilty of doing, pushing a political narrative while at the same time censoring differing views in order for their political equivalents to prosper. This makes it intrinsically hard for any free-thinking individual with the wish to gather reliable news and form sensible opinions based on unadulterated facts.
For those of my generation, often prisoner of social media for news gathering, I must warn you not to let your own opinions censor what information reaches your eyes and ears.
Twitter and Facebook are fantastic tools to further one’s understanding of the current state of affairs, with information reaching our devices within the same second of any event unfolding; but I plead with you, to not only subscribe to outlets with whom you agree with, but rather to surround yourself with hundreds of different opinions and to form your own out of a cherry pick of what coherently fits with the values you cherish. a much nobler exercise it is, rather than having pre-fabricated opinions rammed down your throats by individuals who are very careful about what you read and hear.
Trust, when it comes to forming a sensible opinion, in yourself, and yourself only.