The 24-hour cycle has ruined news coverage

Brett Hodges, Staff Columnist

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Imagine for a moment that you were tasked with informing a large group of people, millions even, for a period of 24 hours. Now imagine that during those 24 hours you would only receive sparse three-minute breaks and you could only discuss completely unbiased facts without interjecting your own opinions. You would probably say this task is impossible, but that task is one that CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and every other major news outlet deals with on a daily basis. This task is also one that is responsible for destroying journalism as we know it.

When someone turns on any form of mainstream media, they expect to hear objective facts about the occurrences of the world around them, but they are instead confronted with panels of, oftentimes, upset news anchors, pundits and so-called “analysts,” all aggressively arguing their points of view. While the interjection of one’s opinions is an important part in the analysis of news pieces, it is important that these are labeled as opinions rather than news.

The Crimson White wouldn’t publish this column under news, so why is it that turning on Fox News immediately leads to the opinions of multiple people no more qualified than you or I espousing their opinions? Fox News and CNN both contain the word “news” in their names, but despite this, much of the information conveyed by these outlets are factually inadequate at best, and complete fabrications at worst. This is only made worse by the fact that those on both sides of the aisle use these half-facts as arguments for more extremist ideologies that endanger not only themselves, but our country as a whole.

News is about journalism – the unbiased, hard-hitting, indisputable facts of the world – but viewers are instead subjected to arguments and discussions more akin to The Tonight Show than actual news. While it is the number one priority for media outlet owners to optimize ratings, the desire to become the most-viewed news source has caused the principles and ethics associated with journalism to fall to the wayside.

As the next generation, we especially have a duty to hold our media accountable. In this crucial point in our lives, we are furthering our education, along with forming our own political viewpoints about the world without the biases of our families. When we are subjected to the biases of the media, we are robbed of this important phase in our lives.

Rather than allowing ourselves to be insulted by media outlets who believe the people have no desire to hear the truth and instead want to watch the same few anchors argue, we should seek the facts and refuse to spend any more of our precious time feeding into our own confirmation bias and ideas about the world. When television companies choose to maximize ratings and fill air time rather than provide information, our country as a whole suffers. We as people have an unalienable right to the truth, but it is up to us to find that truth, no matter how bitter, harsh and against our beliefs it may be.