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media & political bias

I have known for a long time that there is bias in the media. I’ve heard it for years.. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to it and try to listen to both sides knowing there is bias from each.

The other day, however, I was at the gym and I was struck by what I saw. Normally at the gym I am in my zone. I am watching a movie on my phone or listening to music and not paying much attention to what is on the gym TVs. This day they caught my attention. On one TV was CNN and a few TVs away Fox News.

Two different news channels on the same day—a day that had seen a terrorist attack on US soil. Earlier that day when I first heard about the attack, my mind returned to the 9/11 attacks from 16 years ago. I remember after the attacks America seemed united. There were flags and patriotic messages everywhere you looked. It didn’t matter on what side of the aisle your politics lay, we were all united as Americans.

On this most recent day of attacks, there was quite a different story playing on each of the two news stations. Instead of a united message about patriotism and Americans united, CNN was running headlines and talking to experts about the Trump Campaign team indictments and collusion recently announced while Fox News was running headlines and talking to experts about the Clinton Campaign collusion prospects.

How is this happening, I thought to myself. The biggest news today is that 8 people were mowed down by a terrorist in a truck and these two stations are on opposing sides of the political aisle on a completely unrelated news item and what was (or should be) happening to their opponents.

It was painfully clear to me in that moment how divided politics (and media) are right now. It was also clear to me that this dichotomy playing out of different news channels is not a true reflection of the country as a whole. Yes, politically there people across the country who vehemently support or oppose one side or the other, but at our core we are not really that different. At our core, most of us are far more willing to compromise for the greater good of the whole than the Democrats and Republicans in Washington who are supposed to represent us—or Fox and CNN for that matter.

The constant bickering between these two sides, not only does not represent Americans as a whole, but it is such a waste of time and money. Just like any SUCCESSFUL relationship there has to be give and take—compromise. If both sides dig in their heels things are never going to change.

We just had a mass shooting in Las Vegas and Republicans refuse to talk about gun control on attachments that turn a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon. Now that a terrorist attack has occurred by a legal immigrant, Democrats refuse to talk about reevaluating immigration policies.

How about you each put your country and our needs, interests, and ideals before your individual party or even personal stance. You weren’t elected to represent yourself. You were elected to represent the people who voted you into office (and even those who voted against you).

To the rest of us… We need to stop giving our representatives a pass for their bullshit. If we elect someone who goes to Washington and shows they are incapable of compromise, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to vote them out at the next election. More importantly, if you don’t vote in every election I call you out as part of the problem. We have seen multiple times over the past few election cycles what the power of one vote can do. You are too late to register for this election if you haven’t already, but get registered now so you are ready next year. You need to vote in every election, every year—not just when a Congressman or Senator or President is on the ballot.

It is easy to sit at home (or the gym) and watch the debate happen and get frustrated by the lack of talk and compromise from both sides, but if we aren’t holding our elected officials accountable in elections by voting them in or out of office (or voting period) we are just as culpable for the deadlock and responsible for getting nothing accomplished.

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