The traditional news media has been having a rough time in the last few years. According to a recent survey, more Americans have a negative (43%) than a positive (33%) view of the news media, and are finding it harder to be well informed because it is getting harder to determine which news is accurate.
The problem is bias. While ideally the media should be objective and hold power to account, in reality we know that most news outlets are partisan and have their own agenda to advance. Whether state-owned or run by some shady tax-avoiding billionaire, getting ‘the masses’ to view the world from a certain perspective has always been a priceless power to wield.
So why is trust in the media so low? Well, according to the same survey, 8 out of 10 Americans believe that the news media are critical to their democracy. The gap between these lofty expectations of an honest, objective media and the performance that they actually deliver is large. Times when the mask slips and examples of media manipulation are exposed are hugely damaging to trust (don’t even get me started on the 2003 Iraq war), and people naturally turn to social media for other, even-easier-to-manipulate sources. Thus we are in the current state in which we find ourselves: confused, mistrustful and divided.
People have been posting examples of how media can use different techniques of deception, to trick you into seeing exactly what they wanted you to see. As you will discover, perspective really is everything! It all goes to show that a healthy dose of skepticism goes a long way, and getting your news from a wide range of different sources is your best bet to a more rounded view of the world we live in. Social media is good in that respect, but bad in terms of regulation, trolling and people shouting horrible things at each other. The good old traditional news media really is needed as a forum for rational debate and expert opinion, but they gotta stop with the manipulation already! Scroll down to check out the cheeky bastards in action for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments!