The most important rule of being a journalist is being un-biased. We as journalists are taught that it is our responsibility to make the ethical and right decision of gathering both sides, regardless if one side is against our morals. By doing this, we do justice for our readership. Yet, when it came to the recent presidential election, our fellow journalists in major media outlets let us down.
Leading up to the shocking results, news outlets like The New York Times and CNN went against the basic ethical code of journalism by highlighting one candidate or disregarding the other’s actions. They failed in shedding the light on the whole-hearted truth, doing no justice, but confusing and frustrating the population. Most importantly, it desensitized people from the facts.
The New York Times has always been the champion of reporting un-biased, in-depth news. In times when the public desperately needed the truth, this publication was that beacon of light for its readers to understand the whole scenario from both sides.
At a time when journalistic writing is being overwhelmed by the quick turn-arounds from social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, it is hard for reputable publications, like The New York Times, to create great news and stay afloat. No matter how strapped for cash a publication is, it should never sell advertisement space for a government election. It is one thing to endorse a candidate, but not sell out to one with paid ads. It was clear that The New York Times favored Hillary Clinton with her advertisements scattered on their homepage and its polls reporting that she was going to win. This only gives a false sense of security to those who rely on them for accurate reporting. It is The New York Times‘ responsibility to equally highlight and criticize both candidates.
Television news outlets are equally, if not more so, irresponsible for their reporting on the election. Four of CNN’s Trump surrogates – Corey Lewandowski, Kayleigh McEnany, Scottie Nell Hughes, Jeffrey Lord – made it impossible for viewers to know the truth. The news channel hired these four horsemen of the apocalypse only to justify Trump’s inexcusable actions before and during his campaign. Turning to the channel, viewers were left frustrated by the consistent arguing in circles, made up information, fighting amongst the hosts and constant changing of subject. What is more pitiful and absurd was that Lewandowski, Trump’s previous campaign manager, was still getting paid severance by Trump while he served as a political commentator. What does paying a Trump campaign strategist do to teach people about this election without even challenging him on their false information? Nothing.
The media’s responsibility is to shed light on the truth. What news outlets like CNN, The New York Times and many others did provided no justice to its viewers or democracy. These are the people that student journalists study and aspire to be like one day, but after this presidential election they only showed us what poor journalists look like. They lost their credibility and reputation as being the champions for news. Now we are left feeling frustrated, distrustful and more confused about the future of this government and country. Previously, it was hard to imagine when people said journalism was dead. Now I believe it.