I need to apologize to the media. Not a full-on, hips-squared, arms-around-the-shoulders, tight-hug-apology. A side hug.
I’ve been quick to judge (IMO) what is an apparent political bias by MSM. Something that has gotten louder since the election of President Trump in 2016. I’ve gone on rants about the manipulation and the source of fake news that shows unjustified favoritism by liberal journalists when, in fact, they’re just giving people what they want to hear.
Here’s the thing.
Imagine you’re out to dinner with friends. You order French fries, and your friend orders sweet potato fries. He (or she) (or Him/Her in case you’re a pronoun) starts to tell you about the benefits of the sweet potato over the white potato. She lists the nutrients and starts in about fiber and glycemic index, making her case like an infographic you’d see on the Food Network.
You go home, do a little of your own research, and before you know it, you’re not just eating sweet potatoes. You’re sprinkling cinnamon on your food to increase your HDL level (not to mention it makes you smile and melts you with the sentiment). You sign up for a meal prep service that focuses on macros. And you join the local gym so that you can work out just like the 4,000 InstaFit folks you are now following on social media. (Or you buy 20 kettlebells.)
You go out to dinner with another friend, and she/him/her orders French fries. You order sweet potato fries.
As a new carb-o-phobe, you start a food fight: the sweet potato versus the white potato. Your friend stands her ground – white potatoes are lower in fat and sugar. You stand your ground – sweet potatoes are lower in carbs and calories. You don’t want to hear what she has to say because you have an army (4,000 strong) that tells you anytime you ask that sweet potatoes are better for you.
While it is possible to find a website that gives you a list of health benefits on both potatoes (and all on one page), this isn’t helpful. It’s confusing. Which damn potato is better? Pick a side.
This might be an imperfect analogy, but the last three words in the above paragraph are all that matter: pick a side. Once you choose your side, you can find swaths of people that back up that same side, empowering you in such a way that you sleep like a baby at night, swaddled in righteousness.
Media bias is the tool that backs up your political side.
I follow Fox News on social media, and I read comments. Yes. I lurk; I read; then I seethe.
I’ve noticed a large portion of Fox-followers leaving comments like, “Fox is acting like another CNN” and “Fox is now FNNX” and “What’s happened to Fox News.” These comments come off the backs of posts like this one:
Madame Tussauds in Berlin loaded its effigy of President Donald Trump into a dumpster on Friday, a move apparently intended to reflect its expectations ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election. “Today’s activity is rather a symbolic character ahead of the elections in the United States,” said the museum’s marketing manager Orkide Yalcindag.
One commenter went on to say (regarding the post mentioned above) that “Fox used to be credible. Now 50 plus percent is liberal crap.”
Fox is one of the few stations I’ve found with on-air correspondents that lean both very left and right – think: Chris Wallace and Sean Hannity. And all the other correspondents fall pretty much in between Wallace and Hannity.
If all I want is right-wing news, I will stick with Hannity. No doubt, he has a colossal portrait of President Trump hanging above his mantle.
If all I want is left-wing news, I’ll watch, well, anyone on CNN.
I’ll admit I tend to lean right, but I also lean left on issues. That’s where Fox comes in. They report what’s happening, regardless of which political party is causing the ruckus. But I suddenly notice most people only want to see what backs up their position. If something else is being shown, well, then they’re no longer ‘credible.’
I might be muddying biased journalism… propaganda… polarization… people that only eat sweet potatoes…
I haven’t figured things out yet. I need a more giant whiteboard and an extra roll of string. But is the media biased when all I want to hear is my side? Or am I biased because I’m only listening to one side? So, MSM, I apologize for yelling at you for not telling me what I want to hear. It won’t happen again.
I just have to add this because I’m warped. You know what is behind the chaos, don’t you?
… wait for it …
I can’t prove it yet, but it is.
Update: No lie. I just happened to see a social media post that said, “Did you know it’s OK to have a white potato today and a sweet potato tomorrow?” Damn algorithm.