There is a common theme present in today’s news media: the insertion of personal opinion into a story. Republicans rant and rave about a left-wing media conspiracy orchestrated by the Obama Administration and Hollywood, while Democrats complain about the right-wing views of Fox News. The validity of each claim aside, I propose the following question: who really cares? I, personally, elect to get my news from both Fox News and CNN (I have both apps on my smartphone), and I watch these channels knowing full well what to expect. Anyone who claims that MSNBC does not have a bias in favor of left leaning ideologies clearly does not pay close attention to the station. Their bias is unhidden and can be seen from miles around. CNN leans politically in the same direction as MSNBC, although they are nowhere near as dramatic about it. As someone who watches Fox News, I can tell you that there is a very clear conservative bias.
But who cares? No matter which station you watch, no matter where you get your news, you will still get your news. No matter if you watch MSNBC or Fox News you will still know that Obama made a campaign stop in the swing state Ohio, the only difference will be the headline: “Obama Rallies Strong Support in Key Swing State” versus “Obama Attempts to Rally Struggling Campaign Support in Key Swing State”. The headlines only differ greatly when the news is about politics. Natural disasters, such as Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and the tsunami in Japan, are all generally reported similarly. The same goes for world news. Anyone who watches the news knows of the crisis in the Middle East, the struggling Eurozone, and any other little tidbit of information about the world and its happenings.
Let’s be honest with ourselves: the people who complain about the left-wing media conspiracy or the right-wing Fox News do not care to watch what they complain about. These people have their own political ideologies, which they make clear based on which news sources they complain about. They are set in their ways and complain not so much about the bias of their counterparts but more so the existence of opposing opinions. If it came right down to it, if these people were against bias in the media, they would not watch the news or associate with any news media. You can’t complain about the bias in MSNBC without acknowledging the bias in Fox News and vice versa.
Well, you certainly can (it’s your right as an American citizen), however, you would just be antagonistic and quite unfortunately wrong. Ultimately, it just falls on what sort of bias you want in your news. Long gone are the days of Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace when there were only one or two powerhouse media personalities who influenced the whole country and therefore had to keep an unbiased approach to delivering the news. We now have dozens of powerfully influential media personalities across all forms of media (Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, the list goes on and on) and the only way for these people to keep viewers, the only way to stay relevant in today’s world, is to insert your opinion into your story to flair it up. Part of the problem is that people don’t just want the news anymore, they want the controversy associated with the stories they hear about.
No one cares that Romney was in Florida the other day; he’s running a Presidential campaign and is expected to be visiting different states, especially key swing states. People want to hear about gaffes such as Romney’s “47%” or Obama’s “You didn’t build that;” not that they had a rally but that they said something controversial.
There exists no news agency that lacks bias, and maybe there never really did. Bias exists in the news and will forever, as long as people with opinions give the news, and as long as it remains profitable to insert opinions into the news. People who watch MSNBC or CNN want a left spin on the news, and people who watch Fox News want a right spin on the news. We are in an era of news where you watch a program based on its bias. As long as I ultimately get the news, as long as I ultimately know what’s going on in the country and the world, I don’t quite care what biases exist in the news. Personally, I feel as if CNN and Fox News are the most tolerable and give me a “balance of biases”, if you will.