The media is biased toward Trump, not against him
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Politics and Activism

The Media Is Biased, Just Not In The Way Trump Thinks

Not all opinions were created equal, and they shouldn't be treated equally.

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The Media Is Biased, Just Not In The Way Trump Thinks
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Donald Trump is so fond of berating the media that it's become a catchphrase of his: "Fake News" is anything that portrays him in a less-than-glowing light. He attacks newspapers and television networks alike; on Twitter, he's more than once listed out media sources he considers incompetent, usually in retaliation for negative reporting.

His followers have latched onto the "fake news" mantra, and they are quick to whip out the phrase whenever any story surfaces that does not rave about their president. Outlets are branded "the liberal media" or "the leftist media" if they dare criticize Trump, cementing the circular idea that any critical source's reporting must be so biased that it is irrelevant.

For most reasonable people, this is absurd. Freedom of the press is a crucial part of our democracy, and people have the right to express displeasure about political policies and figures. And news outlets absolutely have the right—and the responsibility—to disseminate facts about our government, even if those facts are negative. It's their role to help foster informed citizens.

But ironically, the media is engaging in some bias. It's just not the kind of bias that rabid Trumpian conservatives are alleging.

In the unprecedented presidency of a reality star who cares more about television ratings than constituents and who does most of his press briefings via Twitter rampage, the media, constructed to deal with more traditional politics, has scrambled to keep up. These outlets and the people who run them grew up in a very different political climate.

They were always encouraged to remain neutral, to cover both sides of an issue fairly and thoroughly. This was, of course, a central tenet of journalism ethics, and it remains so. And now, with accusations of bias being regularly flung from the Trump camp, outlets are even more careful to cover all their bases and maintain an image of impartiality.

The problem is, in their attempts to appear unbiased, they have given voice to fascism, bigotry, and blatant lies. They print perspectives from KKK members and host debates about the ethics of discrimination. The instinct to allow all sides a chance to defend their worldview is a good one. But when it equates those who promote genocide and those who are offended by the promotion of genocide—to give one example—it has gone too far. Those stances are not equivalent, and treating them as such is dangerous.

So is the media's careful tiptoeing around the use of labels like "fascism" and "bigotry" and "lies." Likely in an attempt to maintain some semblance of pre-Trump normalcy, they stammer out explanations for all this discourse and policy that lacks rational justification. They want so badly to be fair to the president—and remain unmentioned in his next Twitter tantrum—that they treat him with undue gentleness.

It's time to call the toxic elements of modern politics what they are. Instead of giving them a platform, the media should call them out, criticize them, and accept that doing so will make Trump and his minions furious. That's not unfairness; it's democracy at work.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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