Opinion in news coverage: good or bad?

By Brian Latimer, Staff Writer
@BrianLatimer

If you have ever been in a newsroom or in a journalism class, editors and professors will tell you to avoid editorializing as much as possible. People do not want to read what you think. They want to know: What happened? What is the result?

You have to report the facts. You cannot report your own opinion. The people need to read and judge a news outlet solely on the way they present information — not opinion.

But the advise of professors and colleagues aside, how much of a role does opinion actually play in news coverage?

 Forbes recently reported a PEW Research study that said out of all the major broadcast networks, MSNBC relies the most on opinion programming. Up to 85 percent of all the shows on MSNBC in 2012 broadcasted opinion instead of cold, hard, unbiased reporting packages.

Opinion does not only entail any of Keith Olbermann’s infamous rants or Bill O’Reilly’s explosive temper. O’Reilly even openly criticizes media bias even though his program is considered a talk show.

It’s everywhere. If you read the Huffington Post, you read NBC News or you read USA Today, you will find writers and reporters slipping in their points of view or shouting their thoughts at the teleprompter.

So is media bias somewhat necessary in reporting the news?

Frankly, it spices up debates on prominent social issues. It invigorates people and pushes them to discussion. That fire in your belly, that one that sparks every time you disagree with someone on minimum wage requirements or drug laws, is stoked daily by the bias in the media.

It also contributes dramatically to the polarity of the nation.

Networks now consistently cater to their viewer audience and broadcast what their demographics like to hear. It keeps the news alive and ensures that advertisers will return.

Media bias buffers the audience’s opinions, but it stonewalls other views from broadcasting on their programs.

Major broadcast networks have found stability in their programming by locking in their respective audiences. What we need is a far left host like Rachel Maddow, a far right host like Rush Limbaugh and an intermediary like Anderson Cooper to come together and form their own network.

Let us form our own points of view by listening to all sides of an issue. Hard news with no slant is the most informative, but opinion is also so much zestier.

In the video below, the media takes on the issue of opinion in reporting the news. Interestingly, the report is done by Bill O’Reilly.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s