National news needs to stick with the facts in order to truly benefit viewers

National news needs to stick with the facts in order to truly benefit viewers


What really is “news?” That’s the question I’ve asked many times while watching the major news channels: FOX, MSNBC and CNN. In the past two years I’ve become a news junkie. I look over Google News daily, The New York Times and The CW. If I’m in my apartment, CNN is most likely running. In fact, it is on my television as I’m writing this article.

National news channels run all hours of the day and seven days a week. They consist of politics, world events and social issues, or at least they should. I’ve noticed that on all the major national news channels, very little of the content is actually news.

If you catch CNN at the right time, you may find a show that is valuable and informative, but most of what is on these channels is pretty worthless. There is a fine line between news and entertainment. Countless times, when a national event occurs, these news channels will milk the issue dry for days, to the point where it becomes exploitation.

I was astounded by coverage from the media during the recent gun tragedies of the last year. Since these channels run 24/7, they’re desperate to stay on the air and continue to entertain people while competing with other channels. They’ll continue to talk about the issue, even when there is nothing new to say, and they will interview people, including children, affected by these events as they’re unfolding, which is a moral gray area for me.

Not only will the reporters and news anchors exploit the issue, but they’ll start making value judgments for you and tell you how to think. MSNBC was already pushing a liberal political agenda as the Sandy Hook event was happening. The commentary was about gun laws, instead of the victims. FOX News was making moral/religious judgments about the issue, instead of looking at all sides of the story.

When I want news, I want just the facts. No personal moral judgments, no political commentary, but just objective facts. Not only does news include less facts, but it now consists of news channels bashing each other.

“The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Ed Show” don’t have much news, only negative things to say about people that don’t agree with their point of views. It’s a competition for viewers between these channels, and they will do whatever it takes to get the viewers, even if it means discarding news in exchange for attacking the other perspective.

The problem with the media is that they’re so desperate to fill up the 24-hour time slot that they’ll go to excessive lengths to win over an audience from other channels. Instead of reporting, they’ll exploit.

When the Manti Te’o incident was first revealed, I thought it was hilarious and sad at the same time. The media took that event and went to town on it, now making it less amusing and more annoying. Not only that, but national news is now constantly reporting on something that, quite frankly, doesn’t really matter. The fact that Mant Te’o had a fake girlfriend doesn’t affect the American people, nor will it ever.

National news needs to get back to the news. If there is no news, then they need to keep quiet.

Chris Beacham is a sophomore majoring in psychology. His column runs biweekly on Mondays.

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