News Media Has Become More about Selling a Headline than Actually Researching and Informing

Up through the day of the 2012 election, Fox News predicted Romney would win, and win by a large margin. I remember people smugly telling me to get ready for a Republican wave that would continue the Tea Party gains of 2010. I even had invites to a “victory party” the night of the election, just because they were so sure of the outcome, and wanted to enjoy the misery they thought I’d be enduring while watching the returns that evening. When I’d point out to them the numbers from Nate Silver and others, they’d laugh and say that was all garbage, according to Fox News of course.

They would point to the following Inauguration Day as “the end of an error,” much like the bumper stickers we saw during the Bush terms, and those of us in the know would just chuckle slightly. I mean, bless their heart — they were so convinced that Romney was going to win.

If you rely solely on one source of information just because it fits your world view, you’re setting yourself up for severe disappointment and embarrassment from this more often that you’d like to convince yourself. I touched on this fact in an article I wrote back in May, where I warned of “the dangers of becoming a Fox News intellectual zombie.

Journalism isn’t journalism anymore. Sadly, media (especially when it comes to politics) has become more about selling a headline and driving traffic for maximum ad revenue than actually researching a story regardless of the politically-influencing conclusion — and liberal media is not immune from this. Whether it is Breitbart, RedState, Daily Caller or any of the left’s versions of these sites, these are for-profit writers who rely on inflammatory headlines rather than a rational discussion or analysis of today’s issues.

In today’s age of technology and information on demand with tens of thousands of websites and other media sources screaming for a reader’s attention, it’s easy to abandon principles and go for the lowest common denominator. Whenever money is involved, the temptation to exchange ethics for maximum profit always comes up. That’s why you have Fox News. That’s why CNN went to a more partisan format. If you’ve ever noticed, MSNBC, Fox News and CNN have a lot of the same advertisers.

This didn’t happen because of backroom dealings between advertisers and Rupert Murdoch or other media moguls. We allowed it to happen. We abandoned thinking for ourselves for allowing others to tell us what to think and then spout talking points as a result. A perfect example of this is the fallout from the George Zimmerman trial and the outrage against the “Stand Your Ground” law, which if you paid attention, was NOT used as a defense in the case. Yet, over and over again, you’ll hear both conservatives and liberals talk about how this law got Zimmerman off the hook.

What’s the point of this article? I’m asking people to rationally analyze a story instead of blindly accepting it because it fits in with their biases. It may be a lot to ask, but if we can’t even do this much, it makes us no better than the Fox News audience we make fun of.


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