Selling Controversy

Michelle Lee, Staff Writer

“Trump might call a national emergency in order to secure funding for his wall.”

“Trump plans to repeal birthright citizenship, violating the 14th Amendment.”

“Colin Kaepernick knees in protest against the national anthem.”

In the past few years, America has faced a supercharged political and social landscape, thriving off the sparks of tension and the flames of controversy and the media has played no small part in sowing the seeds of doubt and conflict. Gone are the days when impartiality in reporting and when opinions were relegated to the editorial column. The media is essentially a business, and what sells these days is controversy.

We’ve seen this especially during the standout 2016 presidential election, where instead of discussing policy, candidates took to digging for scandals and slinging offensive rhetoric at each other in attempts to garner votes for their respective sides. With most of the major news outlets taking sides between Clinton and Trump, the media landscape was an all-out battlefield between the Democrats and the Republicans. The lines between fact and fiction blurred as journalists imbued the opinions of their respective organizations into their reporting, a marketing ploy to attract more readers and viewers. Nearly everything in the media was sensationalized, as so famously pointed out by President Trump and his constant cries of “fake news,” but the end of the presidential election did not bring the end to the flood of skewed articles and biased reporting.

Many people depend on these major media outlets as their sources of news and information about current events, but with the continued onslaught of marketed sensationalization, many people have warped perceptions of what is actually transpiring. For the readers of CNN, is President Trump really the worst president to have ever held office? And for the readers of Fox News, is his every action worthy of praise?

With so many controversial statements and decisions coming out of the White House, the last thing people need is partisan reporting. What we really need is a reliable source of unbiased reporting that is unaffiliated with partisan sponsors, allowing us to develop our own opinions instead of being blindly influenced by targeted information. It is time for us to take the constant warnings of “fake news” more seriously and turn away from the sensationalism of mainstream media. It is high time we realize that not everything in the media is true, so stop feeding into the market for controversy, and start seeking out the truth of the matter and deciding for yourself what you want to believe in.