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Media Bias: A Former Reporter’s Thoughts on Presidential News Coverage

Who Do YOU Think the Media is Pushing?

By Cheryl Probst

I was a proud member of the news media for 30 years, back in the days when a reporter was someone who trained for the profession and took pride in their work. Above all, reporters were objective.

When I see what is happening with the national media today, it makes me want to throw up. Objectivity? What’s that?

When I was starting out as a newspaper reporter almost 50 years ago, it was pounded into my head that reporters did not have opinions; if we did, we couldn’t report objectively on something.

Once upon a time we could trust our news - read article

Reporters Didn't Have Opinions

If you had an opinion, you kept it to yourself. You did not tell your spouse or your best friend, but you might tell fellow reporters over a few drinks because you knew they’d protect your secrets just as you did theirs.

I remember almost being fired from my first reporting job because I was sent to cover an anti-gun control meeting and signed a petition supporting the group. Instead, I was severely lectured that signing a petition took away my objectivity. It was a lecture that has stayed with me ever since, and I don’t think I’ve ever signed another petition.

At one newspaper I worked for, objectivity was so heavily stressed, the managing editor used to tell us an article wasn’t truly objective unless it made both sides mad.

What has happened to objectivity in the press in the last 50 years, and particularly with this election? Do reporters today even know what objectivity is?

Objectivity in News

Objectivity is giving both sides fair coverage. That is not what’s happening with this election. I read several major news outlets online every day. Nine times out of 10, they’ll run a picture of Donald Trump scowling. Ten times out of 10, they’ll run a picture of Hillary Clinton smiling. Is that being objective? Not by any definition of the word as I know it.

Donald Trump’s screw-ups get lead position with big headlines and gigantic pictures of him scowling.  Hillary Clinton’s screw-ups, and she has just as many if not more than Trump, are very brief and buried way down on the web page. Is this being objective? Hardly.

In 50 years of monitoring the news, I have never seen a time when the national media went out of their way this much to make one candidate look bad and the other look good.

The other day I saw a headline that said Trump “imagined” the media were out to get him. He didn’t have to imagine it; they are out to crucify him.

Donald Trump is a brash, in-your-face, sometimes annoying, tell-it-like-it-is person. But, you always know where you stand with The Donald; he is not the type of person who says one thing to your face and the exact opposite behind your back. He is an outsider who doesn’t play by the media’s rules.

The national media cannot control him, ergo, they do not like him. They are afraid of him. For me, at least, that is a big plus in his favor.

The national media seem to forget he got this far because people wanted him, that people felt a changing of the guard was in order.

Mainstream Media Bias

The condition of the national news media today is, for me, a very sad situation. But, what can you expect from a media that elevates the Kardashians and the Real Housewives of Who Cares Where to super-star status?

And what can you expect from a news media where anyone with a computer, an internet connection and a press card that cost them all of $5 can call themselves a reporter?

Somewhere out there I know there are still reporters who believe in the same values that I have cherished for so long. It’s time they made themselves heard!

As Americans, the First Amendment to our constitution guarantees us freedom of speech, which includes freedom of the press. But the situation today is more like a free-for-all press and I cannot in good conscience support it.

Author:
Cheryl Probst was an award-winning newspaper reporter, editor and publisher for 30 years, working for newspapers in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, New York and China.  She spent much of her reporting years covering politics and all levels of government, from city council to Congress.

Read more about Cheryl:

Cheryl's Northwest: come exploring with me!
Check out my books and podcasts on Amazon Kindle
Travel in China
Cheryl's Guides: Parents Guide to Beijing, DIY Beijing, Cuandixia, Motorcycle Museums of the United Kingdom, Yellowstone on a Motor Scooter
Cheryl's USA: Jon and Cheryl's excellent adventure!
Original Article on Linkedin

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media news bias

Main Photo

Photo Credits:
  • Main Photo: Media Bias Trump and Hillary. Composite of Hillary debate photos from a UK news site, CNN, MSN, and Slate. Composite of Trump debate photos from MSN, CNN, PBS, and Daily Mail UK.
  • Reporters Didn't Have Opinions (back in the 60s): Walter Cronkite, Wikimedia Commons.

Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. It won't show up until I get around to accepting it. Do you remember the good old days with Walter Cronkite?

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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2 Comments

  1. vicki bucy

    Thank you SO MUCH for your message. I just watched the 7 am edition of NBC news and I have never seen so much bias in the press. They refuse to talk about the issues and hone in on one thing to talk about. No wonder Trump thinks the election is rigged, so do I and it goes hand in hand with the media bias. I sure hope others in this wonderful nation of ours can see it too.

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Vicki,

      It seems so obvious that the press is biased. I hope the public wakes up to it as well.

      I find FOX News to be a little less biased, but there are HUGE stories that are not being covered by any legitimate source, including FOX. I am referring to the Wikileaks emails. From what I see, these docs look real and the Clinton campaign is not denying their content.

      It feels just like the Nixon coverup with Watergate where the "establishment" is/was trying to protect their own.

      I wish legitimate reporters and lawyers would wade through these documents and tell us what they find.

      Tina
      ps I did not write the article, I'll send your comment to the author.