How To Deal With the Biased Media
Oh yes, the media is extremely biased. It’s hard to get a good story anymore without it wreaking of political agenda. Since Donald Trump entered office, the proof of this fact has only grown exponentially. Every action that he takes is reported on, but the media jumps to such extreme conclusions at every possible turn. Granted, he’s not perfect, but the media has made themselves a national laughingstock in their awful mishandling and misinterpreting of information, especially recently.
There’s really no happy medium. Part of the problem is reporters speculate, and look to much at the “endgame.” For instance, a headline will break about an executive order that’s signed: “DONALD TRUMP SIGNED AN ORDER THAT DEMANDS [INSERT ABSURDLY CONTROVERSIAL HEADLINE HERE]!” While often the article is not entirely inaccurate, it fails to mention that while the order might result in such events occurring, it does not require that they occur.
Example: the Executive Orders regarding the construction of the pipelines. Many were outraged at how awful it was that President Trump DEMAND these pipelines be built. Surely, someone must stop him!! The truth, however, was that the Executive Order simply operated as a notice of the responsible department’s intent to APPROVE the construction of a pipeline, should the proper application(s) be submitted and approved.
This is just one example of so very many similar distortions of reality. In an attempt to hold those in power “accountable,” they fail at one primary aspect of reporting: INFORMING. The negligence of this has become so gross now, it’s almost unbearable. Is it even possible to be properly informed nowadays? Here are just a few tips on dealing with biased and blatantly partial news.
(1) Learn to distinguish facts from speculation
In an attempt to be “proactive” and “in-depth,” the media can come to some very unfair and improper conclusions. Embellishment is the downfall to news reporting. You wouldn’t have 24/7 news broadcasts, multiple long articles, and, frankly, much information to report on at all if you were simply to state the facts. Therefore, you have to add material to keep it “fresh” and “original.” Whenever you are reading or watching anything news-related, you have to turn a sort of mental filter on, and distinguish everything being said. Could these statements be confirmed by multiple sources? Do we know for sure the ramifications of this? Is this the author speaking or the facts speaking? Is the message and truth of this tinted at all?
Asking these questions becomes easier when you learn to…
(2) Become a skeptic by default
I can no longer take everything I see for face value. There’s always more going on, more details not being shared, and way more at play than can be summed up in a 5 minute read or a 3 minute news clip. I have to really focus on what is 100% fact, and only come to conclusions that I, MYSELF, make based on the facts presented. Basically, it can be summed as this:
Approach everything with a “prove it” attitude.
It’s easy to take stuff at face value, but you have to make the media prove its point, right or wrong. Make them WORKfor it. It should not be as simple as making a statement and implying it is fact. Substance OVER style. EVERY TIME.
(3) Know where their loyalties lie
Just as every person has a bias, every media outlet and contributor has one too. Whether or not they want to admit it, they do. You have to know where an author or source is coming from, in order to determine how to interpret their material. It doesn’t matter if the author, site, or channel agrees or disagrees with your views; understanding where they’re coming from puts the material in its proper and necessary perspective. Nothing is unbiased, just learn HOW (and how much) it’s biased.
(4) Surround yourself with varying opinions
I personally consider myself as having a very conservative view on practically every issue. I, naturally, like to read, watch, and listen to people that agree with my particular viewpoints. Like anyone else, I get frustrated hearing the rants and opinions of those who do not agree with me. However, the only way to get a full range of knowledge on a topic is to understand the opposing views as well. I do not shy away from an opinion, article, or argument that is contrary to my views, as long as I am aware that they are coming from the opposite side.
You have to truly challenge yourself and your beliefs in order to become fully aware of all that is happening in this country and the world. You will never challenge your beliefs by only surrounding yourself with similar opinions. I know that I more than likely won’t change my opinion. However, I can rest assured knowing that I am not ignorant of other views and opinions out there. Therefore, I am more informed and have a better balance on the information I consume as a whole.
Listen to whomever you please. Watch whomever you enjoy. Read whomever you prefer. But, don’t be so foolish as to not, at the very least, educate yourself on the other voices out there. Not because you’re seeking to change your view, but so that you can consider yourself better informed overall, and can better defend and articulate your position!