North Texas Daily

Why your choice of news matters

Why your choice of news matters

March 05
22:39 2013

Conservatives, liberals, moderates and Tea Party members should listen up. I want you to sit for a moment and mull over the news sources you read, watch or listen to.

If you’re liberal, you’re likely to watch MSNBC, if you’re conservative you’re likely to listen to FOX News and if you’re a Tea Party member I imagine you probably listen to right-wing hate radio with a few doses of FOX News and a few passages of Ann Coulter to go with it.

If you’re moderate you probably listen to a variety of different news outlets. The truth is, you need to stay away from hyper partisan stations and watch more objective – but not necessarily balanced – news.

Journalism and news have little to do with showing both sides of an argument and treating them as equally valid.

It’s about reporting truth and facts on issues of consequence, regardless of whether it sways the debate in favor of one side or not. I consider this journalistic integrity, and FOX News has very little while MSNBC has more but still lacks it in some areas.

FOX News is basically the unofficial network of the Republican Party, and they are simply not very credible. They frequently distort the facts and outright lie about certain aspects of issues to advance their conservative agenda.

One notorious example is the “FOX and Friends” debacle on the costs of President Obama’s trip to India in 2010. Anchor Ainsley Earhardt reported that the President’s trip to India “would be costing the American tax-payer $200 million a day.”

This extreme exaggeration was debunked by several other news stations and by independent fact checkers, but FOX News perpetuated it until eventually debunking it themselves.

MSNBC is guiltier of framing issues in low detail, in order to avoid hindering the liberal agenda.
Host Lawrence O’Donnell accused Mitt Romney of being a hypocritical draft dodger.

But how is Mitt Romney’s lack of military service relative to any of the issues that were being debated in the last election? This is just smearing, and it’s arbitrary garbage that doesn’t advance the viewer’s knowledge in any way other than the animosity he or she already has for Mitt Romney.

So which outlets should you watch to receive objective and detailed information on the news and politics?

According to a study by Farleigh Dickinson University, “The Daily Show with John Stewart” and NPR fans scored the highest on “issue aptitude,” meaning they have the best knowledge of current events.

So turn the channel to Comedy Central when you find the time, and when you hop in your car turn the dial to NPR and you might be appeased by the bliss of factual and unbiased information.

To be a good citizen, and to productively participate in your democracy you must be informed. And that is why it is mandatory you make sure your information comes from the most honest and objective news sources.

Make sure your news has journalistic integrity, and your issue aptitude will rise. Because with television, as John Mayer says, “What you get is what you got.”

Skyler Norris is a pre-journalism freshman. He can be reached at SkylerNorris@my.unt.edu.

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