The continuing trend of mainstream media organizations modeling polarized media outlets could potentially destroy the time-sustained trust the press has built to act as a check on the powers of government.
Confirmation bias is when people search and consume information to confirm their pre-existing opinions rather than an objective approach. This is the reason most conservatives get their news from sources like Fox news and liberals go to CNN or NBC for their information.
These organizations don’t give out wrong information intentionally, but tend to present information the way they believe their viewers want to see it.
CNN, for example, presents the views of its own journalists like Jake Tapper and Wolfe Blitzer along with their news stories, while Fox does the same with the opinions presented by Sean Hannity. Moreover, opinion pieces condemning either side are pushed to the tops of the websites, mixing them with major news stories.
There is also an attempt to discredit each other, with both CNN and Fox running columns painting the other in a negative light.
Just last month, Fox news ran an opinion piece titled, “CNN has gone bananas and doesn’t seem to care.”
The intent of this could be attributed to securing consumer loyalty as these organizations work to keep viewers who will stay committed to a media organization based on ideology.
Companies like Breitbart and Huffington post have thrived on this model, targeting viewers on either end of the political spectrum.
While news companies can secure profits by following this model, the social hit could cost them more in the long run.
Populists have now learned that the key to publicity is calling out media agencies and discrediting anything that doesn’t play to their narrative.
With President Donald Trump leading the way in questioning the credibility of the media, mainstream media agencies, especially on the left, are not helping by going on the defensive and playing into this trap.
These agencies need to understand that going at each other is destroying the credibility of mainstream media, rather than a specific organization, and need to rise above partisanship if they want to preserve the mantle of being the voice of the people.
If they want to continue projecting bias with blows below the belt at each other and social groups at large, the power of the fourth estate needs to be re-evaluated, allowing for a fairer estate acting as the voice of the people.
More importantly, many in the country have now decided that these agencies cannot be trusted, and if these organizations do not work toward remedying this, we will lose a credible fourth estate to keep a check on the government and lose one of the major pillars of democracy.