The mainstream media in recent times has been described as out of touch, biased, and a factory for producing fake news. In this tumultuous era of politics, these labels fracture the sanctity of the “Fourth Branch of Government,” whose duty is indispensable. The media is supposed to be the watcher on the wall, observing, reporting and holding those in power to account. The question to be answered is whether the media is fulfilling its mandate or whether it has been corrupted and is being used as a tool for those who foster division and discord. From a Millennial’s point of view, the media seems to mistake neutrality for journalism, which results in it being out of touch and indirectly advancing harmful ideas.
In the halls of the great media giants, especially those who claim to be nonpartisan, there is a misconception that neutrality is objectivity. Let us look at the recent government shutdown, but through the lens of the pre-Trump years. Back then, CNN, MSNBC, and others would either portion more blame to the Democrats for a shutdown or use their favorite term “both sides.” This is a type of defense mechanism to shield them from the wrath of conservative outlets such as Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the corrosive Breitbart News. For whatever reason, the actual journalists feel compelled to cower in some cases to the loud, mob mentality of the far right outlets because God-forbid if they were ever called biased or liberal. This was seen in a comical display after the second presidential debate back in 2012 when Barack Obama clearly won his bout with Mitt Romney. A CNN poll clearly showed Obama winning the debate by 7 percentage points, however, the fact that CNN’s Wolf Blitzer twisted his tongue when describing Obama as having a “slight, slight edge” is unbelievable. He then went on to say that once you look overall, it is “pretty much of a draw.” In political circles, a 7-point lead is substantial and in this particular case, when so many other polls confirmed a win, one wonders why CNN sought to be neutral.
They do it so that they are not labeled as liberal, because, for some reason, they care so much about what the extremes have to say. Oddly enough, they did the same thing during the 2016 Presidential election cycle and were still unfairly labeled fake, liberal, and “lamestream” news by conservatives. He-who-must-not-be-named stripped the mainstream media, minus his extremist friends at Fox News, of the air of trustworthiness and objectivity.
The disease to please has largely died with the ascension of the new president, as the mainstream media quickly realized that their duty and call to action has never been stronger. At the moment, they are one of the most important institutions in our society as we are on the precipice of slipping into a world where craziness is the order of the day. However, even with their increased attention to detail and a noticeably more vibrant urge to call it as it is, they still remain out of touch. The mainstream media has declined in popularity, as new media, powered by strong and outspoken online voices have taken root in the ear of an entire generation. Online sources such as The Young Turks, The David Pakman Show, and social media platforms in general, have filled a gap due to their accessibility and authenticity. The status quo is shaking in its boots as these vocal alternatives cut through corporate bias and establishment control. One of the reasons Hillary Clinton was defeated was because her opponent was able to get millions of views worth of free media coverage.
Ultimately, that fever and excitement is the same force that allowed Bernie Sanders to almost close a 60 point gap between him and Hillary Clinton, and it is the same force that pushed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the forefront of the Democratic Party. People crave authenticity, and whether you are boasting about sexual prowess, or calling for health care to be a right, it cuts through the mainstream media’s groupthink syndrome