This election has been unlike any other, as the fervor held by voters quickly has divided the nation. While citizens’ strong preferences toward one candidate or another are not, in theory, a new phenomenon, media outlets actively campaign for their preferred candidate is.
What the public fails to realize is that it’s a reporter’s job to guide the public. Though it has evoked opposition, analyzing a candidate’s ability and fact checking his or her claims is literally in the job description.
In their creation, media networks, whether they be print, broadcast or another form, are intended to be truth tellers. They were created to impartially report the facts to their audience and to report the opposing views to the general public without editorializing the content.
Obviously, the polarization of our country has caused many to more freely express personal beliefs along with covering issues, as evidenced by networks like Fox News and MSNBC.
Media is, after all, a business. If the public demands partisan news, the networks will deliver in order to retain viewers. However, it is extremely rare to see one publication or network straightforwardly tell readers who to vote for. This year, that anomaly has become the norm.
Papers across the country are coming out in support of their preferred candidates, even at the cost of losing readers.
The Arizona Republic, Arizona’s largest newspaper, endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday and received calls every 10 minutes for subscription cancellations.
The paper is a renowned conservative publication and has never in its entire 126 years supported a Democrat for president. When it released its editorial in favor of Clinton, it stated, “Clinton has the temperament and experience to be president. Donald Trump does not.”
Other publications, including the Cincinnati Enquirer, which has not endorsed a Democrat for president in nearly 100 years and the Dallas Morning News, which has supported Republicans religiously since World War II have penned editorials imploring readers to vote for the “opposing” side this election.
In this economy, losing readers has a huge impact on a publication. The fact that so many are willing to risk profit in order to take a stand should show the public how much they care, not foster the sense of betrayal so many are adopting toward these stances.
Though many are switching support to the Democrats, not all publications are avidly opposed to Trump. Fox News has dedicated both screen time and multiple columns online to attacking the Democratic candidate, including a column analyzing the first presidential debate that stated “it’s easy to show why Hillary Clinton is not fit to be president.”
The allegiances may vary from outlet to outlet, but the root of the support is the same — reporters have reached the point of desperation in this election.
The New York Times released an article Saturday divulging Trump’s missing tax returns, highlighting his terrible business strategies and utilization of loopholes to possibly avoid paying taxes for 20 years.
Criticisms for the investigation are coming left and right, spearheaded by the Trump campaign. However, the Times recognized the public needed to know in order to make an educated decision come Election Day. The paper also blasted a half-page editorial a week prior, detailing multiple reasons why it believes Trump should not be president.
Questioning the validity of a publication’s beliefs is one matter, criticizing the entire institution for attempting to inform and guide the public is another. Papers across the country are losing readers and yet they refuse to budge on their stances, proving that at its core, the media are still focused on protecting the public, even if it’s from themselves.
“We know we’re doing the right thing,” said Phil Boas the editorial page editor of the Arizona Republic. “We feel very good about this decision.”
Breanne Williams is a senior majoring in mass communications.