Despite living in the Age of Information, there has never been more ignorance, anger and polarization in the American political system than there is today. This is almost completely the fault of one aspect of American culture: the 24-hour news cycle. This phenomenon has quickly become the antithesis of honest reporting and real journalism. The networks that have popularized this format are home to a garbage fire of angry political pundits, excessive on screen graphics and extremely biased messages. Fox News, MSNBC and CNN have become far more of a detriment than a service to the medium of news and to the American people.
It is the job of those who present the news to report the top stories and provide vital updates to the nation every day in a straightforward and balanced manner. However, what these news networks have elected to do instead, is to draw strong opinions and biased rhetoric into their broadcasts and still somehow present it as news. This is a blatant manipulation of the trust placed in news outlets by the millions of Americans who use them as their main source of political information. These networks skew stories to their political leanings to pander to specific demographics and boost their ratings. As a cable channel, it is perfectly understandable to strive for profits — but they are not merely another cable channel.
As news organizations, they should hold themselves to a higher standard, yet it is clear to see that they have instead focused blindly on profits. These actions have been made at the expense of the unity of the nation. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, the politics of our country have grown dangerously partisan. Channels have started to lean on more and more inflammatory rhetoric in an attempt to keep viewers watching. The significance of the story now takes a backseat to whatever minor detail a team of producers decides to make the most controversial. Over the course of the past few elections, many politicians have had their entire campaigns sunk by simply repeating themselves, sighing or even just yelling. To suggest any of these things are enough to destroy a campaign is erroneous and plainly false, but the cannibalistic nature in which the news networks have greedily consumed and reported these moments says otherwise.
Our nation has been split apart by an ever-growing political schism. And quite honestly, how could it have not been? Especially when millions of Americans tune in every night to watch a program in which one side will essentially beat the other close to proverbial death with contemptuous language, all the while calling itself a source of unbiased and legitimate news. This is the world that the 24-hour news cycle has produced — and it cannot be allowed to continue.
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Email Thomas Price at [email protected]