The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Complaints about liberal media annoy


We seem to have a tendency in the U.S. to malign journalists and the press in general. I’m getting more than a little tired of hearing people talking about “the liberal media” and using this excuse of bias to justify an active ignorance of established news outlets. While this may be hard to comprehend for some, the U.S. seems to be unique in that our news outlets are pressured to be seen as objective rather than announce their standpoints openly. Bipartisanship need not necessarily be a tenet of journalism. Only truth.
While I hate to single out Fox News like this, I feel the network does itself a disservice by rallying under the title of “Fair and Balanced” when its viewer base and the general public recognizes its obvious conservative biases. According to Fox executive Roger Ailes, the network is obligated to balance out the liberal focus of American media with its staunchly conservative bent, thus the slogan.

However, a report from political writer Seth Ackerman illustrated that, since the public opinion in America advocates balanced news most major news, networks are actually more in the center of the political spectrum.

Yes, this includes CNN and MSNBC. What this means taken as a whole is, with the addition of Fox News into the equation, televised American news actually leans more to the right than the left.

Despite everything I’ve just said, I still believe objectivity is something journalism should strive for, even if it is a somewhat intangible, unrealistic ideal. After all, journalism is one of the noblest professions I can imagine and one of the most American.

Thomas Jefferson said newspapers without government were preferable to government without newspapers.

The freedom of the press and the right to free speech are uniquely American ideals and two of the great concepts the United States was founded on.

Many of the country’s early statesmen, such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, worked at or operated newspapers, which is why I find it so astounding that modern America has such an animosity toward the press. In popular media, reporters are rarely the heroes. With the exception of Superman’s alter ego, the fictional reporters that spring to mind most readily are usually villains, or at least antagonists, usually slandering and hindering the heroic main character.

While I may now be touching on a topic which I know nothing about, I feel learning about journalism should be a regular part of the history curriculum in American schools.

Alongside civil rights leaders and Civil War generals, I feel famous journalists should be noted as well. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward should be household names, and I would love it if college students knew about Hunter S. Thompson for something other than his drug use.

Bernstein and Woodward were the journalists who broke the Watergate scandal to the public. Thompson did do a lot of drugs, but he was also a political reporter and did an expose on the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.

Journalism seems to have gotten a bad rap in this country, and in some ways, I can understand why. But what journalism really is, what it’s supposed to be, is the pursuit of truth.

This applies to the grizzled war correspondent in the deserts of the Middle East and to the Hollywood paparazzi trying to uncover affairs between celebrity couples.

As long as their interest is the pursuit and distribution of facts, then they are real journalists and I consider them to be noble people.

Zack Bouis is a junior majoring in psychology. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Complaints about liberal media annoy