The media, often referred to as the “watchdog of democracy,” is a major part of citizens’ lives, responsible for informing the masses and protecting our rights through free speech and freedom of the press. Even if you don’t stay up-to-date on the news, politics, or the many other topics of media coverage, it will still influence your world greatly. The media can do anything from informing a town on a humorous failed crime to affecting public opinion and swaying votes for politicians.
However, in recent years, new aspects of mainstream media, also called MSM, are affecting citizens. Lately, mainstream media has become heavily politicized and, as a result, sensitive. The political climate of America and other parts of the world influences the media greatly. Mainstream media often follows trends closely in order to better understand, report on, and relate current events to readers and viewers. In terms of politics, mainstream media can easily twist stories into half truths to support a bias in order to pander to the ideals of certain groups.
For example, one of the largest issues we’ve come to face now is political correctness. To paraphrase the Britannica definition, political correctness is using the least offensive language possible when discussing people and issues relating to external markers like race, gender, culture, etc. At its best, it’s simply common courtesy, and at its worst, it can be near censorship of certain ideas and terminology. Unfortunately, mainstream media often takes political correctness to the extreme.
A good example of this was the media criticizing the Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case, in which a Christian baker refused to make a marriage cake for a gay couple’s wedding, citing religious freedom as a defense. The mainstream media and citizens were offended by the bakers denial to bake a cake for a gay marriage, attacking his beliefs and criticizing both him and the Supreme Court’s choice to allow Phillips to deny service.
“I’m nervous of even sending a plate back. What are they gonna do to my food?” said Sara Haines of “The View,” entertaining the idea that religious restaurant owners who don’t support LGBTQ are untrustworthy and even dangerous.
This kind of unfounded hatred for people that lead their lives by different morals and ideals is causing a deep division amongst groups of people, political parties, and other affiliations. It becomes even more dangerous when it is pushed by influential and mainstream media outlets.
According to Mascha Mounk of The Atlantic, this issue of political correctness is being blown far out of proportion, with 80 percent of the American population believing political correctness is a problem in our country. Despite mainstream media’s persistent following of politically correct issues, these issues often interest a small minority of politically polarized people.
Many media outlets have also been deeply affected by the polarization of politics, leading to each side being sensitive to opposing viewpoints. Whether it’s Huffington Post or Fox News, there are opposing viewpoints everywhere.
With these differing opinions, a gateway has opened that has created an intolerant, angry political climate of the likes we’ve rarely seen. Pew Research Center has found that only about 20 percent of the overall public are deeply polarized to the left and right of the political spectrum. Despite being such a small minority, mainstream media seems to always make it a goal to cater to the politically polarized and attempts to polarize the general public by getting them to pick sides on a variety of topics.
Politics have long been a weapon to help divide the people and alienate opposing sides. The media knows this as well as anyone, and it’s time for them to divert from these tactics and stop dividing the American people. Creating more hate will only fan the flames of hate amongst the American people.