Editorial: Objectivity is dying in journalism

Prominent+news+organizations+are+straying+further+and+further+from+fair%2C+neutral+reporting.+Many+news+organizations+are+coloring+their+coverage+of+events+with+political+biases.+

Elle Horst

Prominent news organizations are straying further and further from fair, neutral reporting. Many news organizations are coloring their coverage of events with political biases.

Go on The New York Post’s website and scroll through the headlines. Click on a few articles and read through them. Then do the same for MSNBC. For coverage of the same events, the content produced is drastically different. Objectivity is dying in journalism, and it needs to be revived now. 

Merriam-Webster defines reporting as “a story… that gives information about something.” Opinion, however, is defined as “what someone thinks about a particular thing.” There are clear differences; one states facts, and the other voices personal views. But as time has progressed, this distinction seems to have been lost to many of America’s most prominent publications. 

For years, “Fair and Balanced” was the choice of slogan for Fox News. It referenced how the organization viewed its reporting, labeling itself as a publication known for its unbiased, accurate, and to-the-point coverage. This view was so important to Fox News that the organization attempted to sue Al Franken for his use of the term in his book Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, stating that its usage would “blur and tarnish” their reputation, according to the New York Times.

Ironically, the publication is anything but fair and balanced. Its articles ooze with conservative language and ideology, and its content pushes, both subtly and directly, Republican agendas. Often, these biases cross the line between truth and perception, and many inaccuracies are knowingly reported as fact.  

And it’s not just conservative news outlets. Left-leaning publications are also at fault. CNN unabashedly pushes out content with heavily progressive viewpoints, sometimes at the expense of facts and details. 

This lack of objectivity has only grown worse in the past few years. News outlets have become more concerned with selling a product than informing the public. And this absence of factual reporting from mainstream news organizations that readers and watchers use to shape their political beliefs and opinions is causing significant damage. 

Politics are becoming increasingly polarized; bipartisan cooperation is becoming strictly hypothetical. Statements from influential figures on both sides of the aisle are absorbed and published by organizations in agreement, regardless of their validity.  

This needs to stop immediately. News organizations need to remember they have a duty beyond selling issues, magazines, subscriptions, and views. Opinions and feelings do not constitute facts. An eye-catching headline does not make it a moral one. There are not always two sides to every story. There is the truth, and it must be represented.

*This article reflects the views of the editorial staff and was written by Elle Horst.