No, Journalists Are Not Soldiers or War Heroes

Michael Ottavio | United States

Superbowl 53, while not the most exciting of games, had many great commercials. The most absurd of these was the Tom-Hanks-narrated commercial the Washington Post put out. This 10-million-dollar commercial was essentially the Washington Post putting journalists on a diamond pedestal and making them out to be war heroes.

The Journalists Commercial

The commercial opens with a picture of troops making landfall on Normandy beach during WWII. It then tries to instill the idea in your mind that journalists are equal to war heroes and soldiers who risk their lives for our country. It continues as Tom Hanks states various vague situations while scenes of destruction flash.

This is a perfect example of fear-based reporting and advertising. Essentially, the Washington Post was saying, “Look at all the bad things you won’t see coming without us”.  Admittedly, without the media, you wouldn’t see everything happening in the world. However, this is just a reflection of what the mainstream media in our country has become. They prey on people’s anxieties for ratings in a race to see who can bring the most death and destruction to your TV screen.  They will do and say whatever they can to get ratings. Often, facts are not the prime focus of the ones doing the reporting.

People in the United States are obviously tired of the extremely biased and often not completely factual reporting that has become status quo in our country. While Trump has seemingly coined the term “fake news,” the outrage didn’t start with him. One Gallup poll has shown that trust in the media has been on the decline for over two decades now. This is mostly because of the polarizing effect that the media is having on our country.

A Media Split

As Accuracy in Media reports, over 300,000 Democrats and Republicans believe CNN is the most polarizing news outlet to date. This is likely because they don’t claim to have a bias, and one wouldn’t assume one from their name. While MSNBC holds the spot of the most liberal, and Fox News the most conservative, every media outlet in between now chooses a side. A quick look on any fact check site will show you that almost every single media outlet now has left or right-leaning bias. There are almost no outlets left that report facts without spin. For this reason, the American people on both sides of the aisle are increasingly distrusting the media.

Trust in Mass Media, by Party
Trust in Mass Media, by Party

 

The media is and always has been an industry, and companies within it exist to turn a profit. The reporters and journalists within these companies are generally there for a paycheck. This is not to say journalists and reporters do not enjoy their job, of course. However, just about all in the mainstream media would probably resign if they were no longer going to get paid.

Journalism is a fantastic field of work, and journalists often go to great lengths to get their stories and repot directly from certain locations. However, it is worth stating that a journalist is just working a job and receiving compensation accordingly. There is no mainstream journalist in the United States that voluntarily goes overseas to war-torn countries without compensation. These people live for the thrill and make living off of it. While I have the utmost appreciation and respect for those who go to dangerous places to do their reporting, they are far from the honorable war heroes the Washington Post claims.


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