News networks are not the root of the division amongst the American people, rather, we need to examine the heart of America.
By Emmanuel Simon
The 2020 Presidential Election merely echoes what we knew from the last Election- the American people are divided. Are news outlets, such as FOX and CNN, to blame? Perhaps. Yet maybe the division lies in something deeper, the heart of the American People.
The function of a news outlet is to publish news stories. This means that a news outlet ought to report current events that occur in a state, country, or even the world. Furthermore, they also give commentaries on a given current event, sometimes interviewing those that are not a part of their news outlet.
Those that are skeptical of the structure of news outlets wonder two things. How do we know that the news outlets are actually reporting facts, and we are not receiving fake news? Second, why should one believe that a given commentary or interpretation if the facts are accurate?
It’s obvious that if one were only to watch a given news-network, then that person can only rely on what that news organization has to say. However, there also is a way to confirm whether such news is fake or not- go to the source. For example, suppose FOX reports that the President said we are going to war with China. To confirm whether or not this is true, one must look at what the President actually said, and not merely at what an outlet reports the President had said.
But if we are to also look at the source in order to avoid receiving fake news, why watch any given news network in the first place? Perhaps because it’s convenient. It’s easy to turn on the T.V. and have some news-network running in the background while working on something else, whereas looking at a primary source takes more time and effort. But only looking at a given news-network(s) still keeps one susceptible to fake news.
This is not to say that news-networks have absolutely no value. Assuming that a given news-network is reporting real news, one is also given interpretations and reactions from staff in the given news network. These interpretations and reactions can be helpful, since they may help shape a perspective. But this can also be done without a news network. Just go on Google, Twitter, or Youtube, and you’ll be able to see both a primary source and interpretations from others. After all, the staff on the news network are merely people just like you. A person can easily do what they do, and probably even better, assuming that one actually examines the primary source(s).
News-networks are therefore deceptive if they portray fake news, or if they give unwarranted interpretations of the facts. Such deception may be one factor that plays into a divided America, since Americans are figuring out what the facts are.
But I don’t think this is the complete story. The division in America isn’t solely due to news-networks, though it may play a role in it. The real cause of division are the hearts of the American people. The only thing that unites a group of people in contemporary politics is a shared accusation and hatred towards some other group or person. How many of you Republicans would like Trump to be President because Biden is trash? Or how many of you Democrats would like Biden to be President because Trump is incompetent? Critiquing the other side is one thing, but running a platform grounded upon a detestation of another is something else. At this rate then, America will remain divided, no matter who the new president is.
But there may be one thing that could help. If we start loving the person whom we disagree with, we will find that person to be less detestable. Though two parties may disagree with another in politics, they will find themselves in union through charity. Make 2020 better by loving one another.
Ryan Ford '23,