The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Monday, November 8, 2010

Will the Real Media Please Stand Up?

As I flipped between Fox News and MSNBC watching the coverage of the political election, I started to think and ask myself, "when was the last time the media provided unbiased news coverage to actually inform people instead of just trying to boost ratings?" Unfortunately I couldn't think of the last time that was actually the case. Today our media does a great job of giving us the story, and actually doing the work to find out when a corrupt politician gets caught cheating with a woman while his wife has cancer, but they always have to provide some twist on it. They always to have to provide that little bit of fire to the story to completely ruin it. Unfortunately the mid-term election coverage was no different.

I first started watching Fox News. They had a lot of information scrolling at the bottom of the screen and at the top of the screen however, this was all moving so fast and everything was put together in a very sloppy fashion that I quickly lost interest simply because it wasn't worth the head ache trying to keep up with all of the house races that magically shifted to senate races and then back to house races. I then decided to give the actual coverage a shot and see if the Conservative Fox News bias didn't exist. However, to my dismay the anchors at Fox News did a horrible job of just covering the elections. Yeah they showed Democrats winning races but they still threw in little side comments. They still threw in how important it was to stop the liberal Obama agenda. At what point does a news company draw the line and ask themselves how important it is to provide good news coverage without the bias.

I flipped the channel to MSNBC and immediately was worried when I saw Chris Matthews heading a table with a few liberal political analysts and the always charming Rachel Maddow. I was just as disappointed with MSNBC's coverage as I was with Fox News coverage. Maddow's constant bickering about how conservatives are bad for this country and how their conservative agenda will somehow destroy the country was just ridiculous.I have to admit Matthews did a very good job of at least attempting to keep the coverage going and as unbiased as possible but it just seemed like Maddown couldn't say anything without throwing in a little shot at Conservative candidates who had just won a seat. MSNBC's coverage of the actual race itself was a little beat easier to understand, but the bias of Maddow and political analysts present at the studio really hampered what could have been a great election coverage.

The whole point and argument I am trying to make here is that our election coverage and media in general is doing a terrible job of providing unbiased news coverage to the American people and frankly, I think there is a link here between voter turnout and participation in politics. The majority of the American population doesn't vote in the Presidential election let alone the mid-term elections. One of the biggest contributors to this is the media not doing its job of providing the American public with an unbiased source of political coverage. Have you ever heard someone complain about how stupid politics are and how its not worth their time to get involved? If the media just did its job without taking jabs at the other side, more people would want to get involved and actually listen. The media does a great job of providing the people with the story, but it doesn't do much more than that. The media looks out for its ratings first instead of the viewers that watch their shows and read the newspapers. Just because someone watches a show doesn't mean they are going to do anything because of it. The media should provide unbiased coverage otherwise what's point of even having the news in the first place. Its for the reasons above I ask the question, will the real media please stand up?

-Caleb Copley

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