The media has a crucial role to play in shaping public opinion and fostering healthy democratic discourse. However, in recent years, there has been raising concern about the way some media outlets have been using their platforms to amplify the messages of divisive politicians who spread hate and misinformation. This is a dangerous trend that undermines the principles of responsible journalism and can have serious consequences for society.
Politicians have been using the media for decades to amplify their message of misinformation, and most media outlets are only willing to comply as long as the cheques keep cashing. Predictably, the messages are the same because they work and are low hanging fruit.
False claims of widespread voter fraud in an election: This type of statement undermines the integrity of the electoral process and can lead to mistrust in democracy. Media should not amplify these statements without fact-checking and providing context.
Rhetoric that stokes fear and division based on race, ethnicity, or religion: This type of statement can lead to harm and discrimination against marginalized groups. Media should not amplify these statements without providing context and counter-narratives that promote unity and understanding.
False or misleading statements about the effectiveness of certain medical treatments or vaccines: This type of statement can lead to harm and mistrust in science and medicine. Media should not amplify these statements without fact-checking and providing context.
False or misleading statements about the causes of climate change: This type of statement can lead to harm and mistrust in science and impede progress on addressing the issue. Media should not amplify these statements without fact-checking and providing context.
False or misleading statements about the results of scientific studies or research: This type of statement can lead to harm and mistrust in science and impede progress on addressing the issue. Media should not amplify these statements without fact-checking and providing context.
When the media abuses its platform and caves to divisive politicians, it often leads to the spread of hate speech and misinformation. Politicians are becoming more emboldened to use their public platform to spread divisive and harmful messages that can incite violence, and insurrection, discrimination and even genocide.
Additionally, giving a platform to divisive politicians can also have a negative impact on society by further polarizing the public and stoking divisions between different groups. When media outlets give these politicians a platform, they are essentially legitimizing their views and allowing them to influence public opinion in a way that can be harmful to society. This is particularly concerning at a time when the world is becoming increasingly divided and politically polarized.
Moreover, the media has a responsibility to hold politicians accountable and to provide its audience with accurate, unbiased and balanced information. This is crucial for maintaining a healthy democratic process and ensuring that the public is informed about the actions and policies of their leaders. When media outlets give a platform to divisive politicians without adequately scrutinizing their statements and actions, they are failing in their responsibility to provide the public with accurate and unbiased information.
Furthermore, the media also has a role to play in promoting responsible journalism and preventing the spread of misinformation. Media outlets should not just repeat the statements of divisive politicians without questioning their motive or providing context for the audience. This undermines the credibility of the media and the trust of the audience.
When the media uses its platform to amplify the divisive rhetoric from politicians purposely, it is often tied to financial gains. The more viewership an article, podcast or broadcast receives, the greater the potential financial rewards for the organization. When money becomes the determining factor of a news organization and morals are non-existent, society is in a truly dark place.