Election, News

Mass media sparks controversy in elections

After the presidential election, Americans have questioned the integrity of the media. Election controversy began by allegations of voter fraud followed by the media declaring a winner in certain states before all votes were counted. 

In America, the right to vote in a fair and free election is a basic right. In the past, mail-in voters needed a reason to not vote in person; however, due to COVID-19, millions of mail-in ballots were cast across the United States during the 2020 presidential elections. In the months leading up to Election Day, mail-in voting had been a controversial topic due to concerns that might occur as a result. In the end, this process slowed down the results of individual swing states leading to delays and some confirming that their concerns were valid. Even though every vote was not counted, the media declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election. This announcement added further confusion to some while Biden supporters celebrated this victory across the country.

The news media plays an important role in informing the public, and the constitutional right to a free press must be vigorously protected. I believe it is the decision of the American people to decide what they choose to read, watch, or listen to. However, over the past four years, in general, the mainstream media has been openly biased against President Trump and has failed to offer a balanced presentation of the news. As the Representative of Tennessee’s Sixth District, I believe Congress has a responsibility to step in when blatant harm is being done by the media – such as prematurely calling a presidential election,” Tennessee Tech alumni and Congressman John Rose stated. 

Photo provided by Getty Images. Mass media, such as Facebook, have had a huge impact on the 2020 presidential election.

On Saturday, 39 members of the GOP House sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr requesting an investigation of allegations of voter fraud. The main questions in the letter showed concerns of ensuring the integrity of voting and using all resources to make sure only legal votes were counted. On social media, more than 300,000 users had joined a group called “Stop the Steal” in under 24 hours. Their focus was to demonstrate their support of President Donald Trump by protesting and exposing potential voter fraud. Soon after, the group was taken down by Facebook with claims of violence from members. Furthermore, questions of bias and censorship on media platforms arose among users of  Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

I wish we could get back to the days of Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Chet Huntley where they reported the news and left their opinions out of it. Each person could then form their own opinion,” Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter said when asked about concerns of the media.

This has been a common complaint in the last several years amongst many Americans who have noticed the media leaning towards a position that only highlighted stories portraying President Trump in a negative manner causing viewers to be unsure what to believe or not. Viewers expect to be presented with unbiased information allowing them to make the best decision for themselves.  

Americans are dependent on media outlets to remain true to their ethics by committing to impartiality, accuracy, and accountability. When those attributes come into question, uncertainty about where to look for facts and what to believe becomes a greater challenge leading to more division in our country. As we move forward, we must remember that we must learn from the past for a better tomorrow.