Earlier this week, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when a tweet caught my attention. The original tweet, tweeted by CNN, read “For the first time in its history, Starbucks is giving all of its baristas sick leave,” and included a link to the full story. What further interested me, though, was another tweet (from a random profile) quoting the news story. The tweet read “lol we’re really praising billion dollar corporations for doing the bare … minimum here, aren’t we.” While I agree with her idea — Starbucks should have done this a long time ago — that’s not the point. The quoted tweet (which had over 200,000 likes) seemed to be attacking and criticizing CNN for “praising” Starbucks when, in reality, it was simply just sharing the news. I even read the attached story — CNN was truly just sharing new information.
So, why did the person who quoted the tweet shame CNN for simply sharing the news? As a whole, society needs to stop blaming news outlets for giving the news, regardless if that news is bad or disappointing in nature.
The job of news outlets is to provide information and inform the public. Indeed, we as a society need the news to be good citizens. However, just because news outlets provide the platform for information does not mean they are championing or encouraging the news that they share. Rather, they provide news for the sole purpose of informing the people.
I would rather live in an informed society — even if it is informed about the not-so-good things happening in the world — than an ignorant one.
Moreover, this ultimately negative perception of the media and new outlets reaches past the societal attack on the media coverage; it also extends to an overall mistrust in news. According to a 2016 Gallup News poll, only 32 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the news. This omnipresent idea that all news is untrustworthy or biased is extremely dangerous.
I acknowledge that fake news and bias within major news outlets does exist, and I think not to acknowledge so would be cretinous. Thus, I understand societal apprehension when it comes to trusting the news, and highly encourage people to fact-check or look at multiple sources when reviewing news. However, the false perception that all news is fake and that we need to attack all news threatens the ideal of an informed society.
As a society, we need to trust the media more and stop attacking it for sharing disappointing or pessimistic news. Be aware that a news outlet sharing bad news does not mean it is encouraging any behavior (unless it is outwardly stated). News is important and, in my opinion, it is the most important facet of an informed, cognizant society. So, utilize it, respect it and, most importantly, trust it.