In the wake of the election, there’s been a lot of talk about the role that “the media”* or “fake news”** may have played in swaying voters. This post is not going to talk about what responsibilities “the media” or individual journalists have, but the equally if not more important obligation that you and I have as consumers of news media: media literacy.
I’m pretty sick of hearing people blame “the media” for mass misinformation, or complain about “the biased media,” because the reality is: everything is ‘biased’! Every news article, every media source, every movie, novel, or piece of art, every social media post you will ever read, has a bias. Much less important than asking “is this media source biased?” is identifying WHAT the bias is in any particular piece you encounter. When you consume news media, no matter the source, you are not merely being fed a string of informative facts but also a chosen frame through which to interpret those facts. It is OUR responsibility to digest that frame as well as the facts; otherwise we are merely swallowing somebody else’s perspective whole.