What Happened To “Fair and Balanced” News? PoliticsAmerica is fed up with politics as usual
Politics tend to bring out the worst in people. Nowadays everyone has an opinion and is ready to defend their opinion no matter what. This hotheaded behavior is common amongst friends and on social networks, but it’s affecting our news programs. The idea of an objective news program is becoming a distant memory, being replaced with news programs where journalists bicker back and forth like catty teenagers. So who’s to blame for this shift? The poster boy of subjectivity Bill Maher recently wrote a blog post in response to an episode of “The Morning Joe” on MSNBC, where he criticizes legendary television journalist Tom Brokaw’s opinion on who’s to blame for the birther “joke” getting out of hand. Brokaw admirably stated that neither side is completely innocent, that both parties are guilty of perpetuating slander towards each other’s candidate. Maher classily responds by calling Brokaw’s claim “Bullshit” and rightfully so, because how dare someone have an opinion different than the one great and powerful Oz . . . I mean, Bill Maher?
Bill Maher explains his “Bullshit” response with “Democrats don’t believe Romney was born in a foreign country,” and hasn’t been asked for his birth certificate because he’s white. Understandable, but is an awkward joke so out of hand vastly different from releasing footage of former Delaware senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell implying that she’s a witch? He recently apologized to Christine O’Donnell for releasing the footage and said he knew it would make her life hell. This is just one occurrence on his long list of slanderous exploits towards those apart of the Republican party. Let’s not forget other shining examples on that list such as calling Sarah Palin a “twat,” or a “c-nt”, and Michelle Bachman a “dumb twat.”
I’m not a Republican nor do I think Sarah Palin is the brightest crayon in the box, but I think it’s extremely hypocritical for Maher to say Democrats aren’t guilty of similar slander towards the Republican party. You can make a drinking game out of how many times he makes a negative comment or derogatory remark about Republicans on his show. Granted, he is only one “comedian,” but as the saying goes, you got to give respect if you want to get respect. He also neglects the fact that not every Republican in the public eye perpetuated the absurd birther claim. If you only watch Fox News then it would appear that way, but this is coming from a network that “accidentally” released an anti-Obama video, which was comparable to propaganda used by the Nazi’s in WWII.
In the video Bill Maher referenced, Tom Brokaw also says that the slanderous back and forth between the parties is what’s made America fed up with politics, and I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve come across more and more articles that seem more like Op-Eds as opposed to factual news articles. Nowadays, it seems each news channel has its own agenda and is leaning either to the right or to the left. If you’re a Republican you watch Fox News, if you’re a Democrat you read The New York Times—why must it be that way? Just because there are separate parties doesn’t mean we need to separate our news sources the same way. As I said before, everything is susceptible to bias, but why can’t we achieve a more even ratio between opinion and fact when it comes to the news?
America is fed up with politics, and how can you blame them? Each channel is trying to sell you a different story depending on whether you’re Republican or a Democrat. If you’re undecided then
it’s even worse, because you don’t know which side is right, and honestly I don’t even think either side knows who’s right in terms of facts anymore. I’m also going to take it one step further by saying Americans aren’t just fed up with politics; they’re fed up with politicians as well. It’s not uncommon for candidates to undermine each other to gain votes, but I think it’s gotten out of hand. Any piece of breaking news has become fair game for each candidate to use to their advantage, which is not only borderline disrespectful but desensitizes the public to the severity of the event. Take the recent attacks in Libya and Egypt for example. Mitt Romney has received a large amount of criticism from Republicans for the comments he made concerning this tragedy. Instead of stepping off his potential candidate soapbox for a change, he not only prematurely spoke about the events without proper verification of his facts, but also took it as an opportunity to throw jabs at the Obama administration.
Instead of the continuous name calling, playing the blame game, asking for birth certificates and forcing opinions where they aren’t needed, how about reporting just the facts for a change? News programs and publications need to be less subjective and more objective in order to regain the trust of the American people. The more personal opinion seeps into the reporting, the farther we get from that re-establishing that trust.