Media Bias in the 2016 U.S. Election

The results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election have certainly been groundbreaking. Donald Trump’s ascent to victory despite vocal opposition by members of the Republican establishment, as well as by countless champions of women’s, LGBTQ, immigrant, and other minority rights, has been documented by the media both in the United States and across the globe. Persistent denouncements of Trump and his penchant for hyperbole, arrogance, hate, violent, and vanity by the liberal media, though justified, nonetheless reveals a significant bias against Trump and vocally undermines the millions of Americans who support his mission to “Make American Great Again”.

Though bias has been engrained in our minds as an unfair prejudice against a particular ideology, institution, political party, or in this case, person, is it always a bad thing? It is of utmost importance to consider this question, especially with regards to its application to this past election. The sheer volume of lies, exaggerations, displays of cruelty, bigotry, and unkindness by Trump through his campaign for President surely warrants the harsh and unwavering criticism that the media lay upon him. His fantastical, disrespectful, and hateful comments towards entire segments of the American population, from women and immigrants to Muslims and members of the LGBTQ community, undoubtedly exhibit an overwhelming prejudice towards minorities.

Does the media, then, not have civic responsibility to ensure that the American people are well-informed of the cruel and unjust words and actions that a candidate for President (now President-elect) has produced with such blatant disregard for civility and morality? Newspapers and news channels must be vigilant in their reporting of fantastical political discourse. Statements must be fact-checked and supported with concrete and verifiable evidence. Yet, no matter the extent of a candidate’s impropriety or vitriol,  all potential facets of one’s statements, views, and character must be fairly considered and presented. Though bias may be inherent to all news coverage, it is the media’s responsibility to make active strides to overcome these preconceived prejudices. Without such an effort, millions of news consumers across the country and beyond will be inevitably blindsided by polarized political sentiment.

Image Credit: The New York Times

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