These days it seems like there’s not very much that the left and the right agree on. America’s political parties are more polarized than they have ever been. Yet, if you talk to supporters of either party, there does seem to be at least one thing that they have in common. The average Republican might criticize the “liberal agenda” of modern media (in the words of Sarah Palin, the “lamestream media”), while the average Democrat may rail against the “conservative spin” of the mainstream media and the far-reaching influence of Rupert Murdoch. So it seems like the media has both a liberal and a conservative bias, depending on who you ask. Does that balance out to neutral? The answer is “kind of,” which leads me to my pet peeve of the week: Believe it or not, the media is neutral.
Now, of course, some may cry, “But Fox News! But MSNBC!” Of course, they have a point. The former is very clearly a right-wing outlet, and the latter is very clearly a left-wing mouthpiece. However they cancel each other out. Severely left plus severely right equals somewhere in the middle; it makes sense. This formula can be applied to every major news outlet. For every source that has a left-leaning bias, there is another that similarly bends to the right, and vice-versa.
This is the truth behind mass media: it is not, and has never been, a singular entity. “The media” is not the right thing to rail against, because there is no “media” to fight. Every news outlet has different biases, different goals, and different ways of presenting information; they are most definitely not on the same page about many things. For every Huffington Post, there’s something like TheBlaze. It all balances out in the end.
There’s also the little factoid that people perceive any opinion different to their own as bias, which is why some of the major outlets are accused by members of both parties as biased. This is a psychological phenomenon, and it occurs all the time for almost everybody, myself included. Knowing it happens is half the battle, though. If everyone can keep that little tidbit in mind, we can spare ourselves at least some of the witch hunts that occur so often in election cycles. Everyone’s got a little bias, but that’s okay. Not everyone is against you.
Danny Miles is a third-year student who is ready for this election to be over. Too bad he still likes making himself angry.