News media consumers must prioritize truth

News sources must revaulate their allegiances and value honesty and integrity

Connor McNeely, Staff Columnist

Fox News has been the top competitor in the battle of cable news networks. For 18 straight years, Fox News has dominated CNN and MSNBC, achieving high ratings and receiving a spot in over 90% of United States television subscribers. These numbers may seem surprising to a younger generation — one that has trusted and relied on CNN as they have grown up. The truth is that many in the U.S. do not have a solid understanding of who lives in this country.

In the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, we were reminded of who we are as a nation. 

A majority of projections before the events of the both elections called landslides for Democratic candidates and a continually decreasing number of Republican voters. The results did not come out in favor of the projections and in 2016, President Donald Trump won the electoral college and lost the popular vote by approximately three million votes. The 2020 election again surprised the nation with the amount of voters in favor the incumbent President Donald Trump. Many data firms and pollsters, like FiveThirtyEight, again botched an election with forecasts that were nowhere near the actual numbers. These are similar to the statistics we see when looking at the ratings for different cable news networks. 

Fox News is the clear cut victor of any competition, largely due to the conservative audience that they are able to maintain. CNN and MSNBC attempt to draw away viewership, but fail because of their honest coverage of Trump. However, in the future we might see a break in the lead of Fox News as a more unifying leader takes the office of president. Divisiveness, polarization and animosity have consumed the population of the United States in the past four years. 

When Americans look for information to craft their political opinions, they turn on the TV and open up the internet. On one side you have Fox News and internet media like The Daily Wire and then on the other side is CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post, just to name a few. But now even Fox News is seemingly defecting from the conservative end of the political spectrum after their publicized standoff with Trump. 

 Divisiveness, polarization and animosity have consumed the population of the United States in the past four years.”

In his recent tweets — many of which spread false information — the president took the blamed his election loss to Fox News and at a march in Washington DC on Saturday, his supporters screamed anti-Fox News chants. This is just a microcosm of the current turmoil in the Republican Party. All evidence seems to point to a future split in the conservative base. While some of the Republican Party still remains with President Trump in the radical right, other Republicans must find where their allegiance lies, and where they will receive their information. 

Fox News seems to have finally found rational and honest reporting, as they called the election results as they came and didn’t show their regular, unflinching bias to the incumbent president. 

Major news media speculates that President Trump will attempt to find a new home media base, somewhere which reports facts and stories more favorable to his cause (whatever that may be).

Even though the potential shift in direction of Fox News seems to be good news on the horizon, there is still much that is wrong with the media of our country. For starters, one of the main newspapers in the nation has been bought and paid for by the richest man in the world. While it may have been just another example of Jeff Bezos’ mastery of the internet and another miraculous revitalization job to add to his business accolades, there is a troubling implication that Bezos could use the Washington Post for his already colossal influence. 

Monopolies are already a major problem in the U.S. To have one man effectively in control of so much information is fundamentally against the ideals of our country. 

It seems that Bezos has not had much of a tangible effect on the Post’s editorial direction. Yet in a world where William Randolph Hearst went to such dangerous lengths, we still lack a check on the power of Bezos and the other billionaires of our time. 

If we have learned anything from this presidency of turbulent politics, it should be that the truth is paramount. Nothing else, not even feeling comes close to the importance that we should give to the absolute facts. 

With the inflation of sensational narratives and the emergence of outlandish political characters, every American citizen should sift through the smoke and mirrors and remain skeptical of everything.