Opinion: Media fails the public

Staff report

A first lady, a socialist, a Canadian and a business tycoon are all potential candidates to hold the most important office in the entire world. The attention surrounding this presidential race is heightened due to the emotional intensity of constituents. A majority of people are rightfully frustrated with the state of government and are open to the idea of “non-politicians” leading the country. As a result, campaigns have become increasingly passionate and directed towards attracting a strong foundation of  loyal supporters.

This extreme display of fervor is a matter of mystery; voters are overwhelming loyal to their selected candidate, but could it be for the wrong reasons?

With confidence, I can say a significant portion of each “fan base” would not be able to defend their candidate’s actions or back up their own stance on issues, if asked. So again, why are these people swayed to pick the candidates they do? The media is largely to thank.

Reporters draw from a seemingly unending well of topics that push viewers’ buttons: Ben Carson’s sleepy appearance, Marco Rubio’s commentary on Donald’s hands and Trump’s advocacy for his infamous wall. Viewers are immediately amused by the immaturity and lightness of this kind of coverage; however, what truly matters and deserves to be publicized is increasingly neglected.

“The media spends too much time talking about things that people don’t really care about,” senior Kylie Donohue said. “I want to know about each candidate to be an educated voter, but I’m not getting enough information on their political views to determine who I side with.”

The media is capitalizing on the unique circumstances of the race, by overemphasizing sensational issues for the purpose of ratings. According to CNN, the August Republican debate hosted by FOX News attracted 24 million viewers, making it the highest rated debate of this campaign season. Many credit this spike in viewership to Trump’s boisterous persona and tendency to clash with other candidates.

This particular debate started the tension between Trump and Fox News commentator (and at time co-moderator) Megyn Kelly. Attacks continued for months to follow, and so did the attention. Yes, hearing Trump’s ridiculous commentary is entertaining, but it comes at a cost: for every minute spent discussing nonsense, a minute (that will likely never be regained at a such a critical time or at a similar magnitude) is lost, depriving voters from hearing valuable information. Debates give candidates a unique platform to reach millions of people all at once and it should be used accordingly.

If you wanted to assess ex-GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush by visiting his website, it turns out you actually can’t; according to the Washington Times, Donald Trump bought the domain to www.jebbush.com, making it no longer accessible. On a professional level, voters are being deprived of the opportunity to educate themselves on each candidate’s views, directly from the source.

Already, a lot of attention is surrounding the race and it is only the primaries. More than ever, viewers need the media to provide them with substantial information to guide their opinions and essentially, ability to control the future of this country. But the national media is dropping the ball. Students, who are the pioneers of social media, have become more involved in politics, yet their impressionability should draw concern.

“There’s a bigger push to get young adults prepared for the election, so they need to be able to formulate their own ideas aside from the media and their families,” said Mr. Rosa, W.E. Connect Aide.

Teens are getting more and more interested in the presidential race because of its presence on social media and popularity on talk shows, leaving a huge number of them with a false sense of awareness for what is considered “important.” Their supposed knowledge of current issues is based on what Google considers to be current and relevant. The articles that appear at the top of the newsfeed after searching a candidate’s name rarely address important policies or candidate’s reactions to serious events happening around the world.

“The media is being effective for young people because the visual things are all they care about. But when it comes down to it, that’s not what is going to matter in the election,” junior Olivia Ritter said.

Voters should not be voting for a candidate for an objectifiable reason, such as “she is a woman” or “he is funny.” Instead I would encourage young, old, educated and uneducated voters is to try to resist the media’s emotionally charged coverage, by taking into account the significance of the decision that is in every one of your hands, and choose mindfully.