By Nevaeh Morgan
The first amendment combined with relaxed regulations has created a media environment in which news outlets can bend the truth, manipulate facts, and sometimes even blatantly lie to the general public. Seeking profits over unbiased, factual, thorough reporting has resulted in over-coverage of profitable stories and under reporting of certain important issues that might not generate sexy headlines or might rail against establishment politics. As a member of Generation Z, I have grown up in this era of blatantly biased, corrupt news organizations, and it’s time for that to change. I know I’m not the only one feeling this way, so I talked to some of my peers and asked them which issues they wish got more attention. Here’s what I found:
- Climate Change
Suggested by Logan Williams, 17
The United Nations explains: “Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.”
Why is this not a more popular story? Media stories can teach us how to help ourselves for the time being, they can teach us the actual dangers of climate change and what is actually going to happen. Without accurate coverage we will never be able to save this planet. But instead we get nothing, or sugar-coated narratives at that. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I understood climate change and the hideous causes of it. Why? Why was I so old until I realized? And it wasn’t like I gained the understanding in a short amount of time, I genuinely had to research deep in order to grasp the information. Just think about the people who don’t take the time to research or understand; it shouldn’t even be an option, everyone should know about it because it is an urgent matter that desperately deserves attention. This is something that should pop up on headlines left and right.
- Corruption in the Legislative and Judicial Branch
Suggested by Carter O’Neil, 18
Most stories about corruption are alerted about the executive branch. And without a doubt, it is an unscrupulous group of officials, but they aren’t the only ones who matter. Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reports, “The two most common types of judicial corruption are political interference and bribery. Political interference is when politicians or staff from the legislative or executive branch meddle in judicial affairs or collude with judges in fraudulent schemes. Despite efforts in many countries to isolate the judiciary from politics, judges and other court personnel still face significant pressure to rule in favor of powerful political or business entities rather than in accordance with the law. A malleable judiciary can be used by those in power to provide protection for and lend legitimacy to fraudulent acts. Judges might also collude with politicians in a variety of different white-collar crimes, such as extortion, money laundering and embezzlement.”
Judicial branch officials are literally committing heinous crimes that put many people at risk, yet it is so hard to find coverage on it. How is it that the courts, which are supposed to regulate charges, can literally buy their way around? But that’s no worse than the legislative branch. NAAG says, “There are countless ways that legislators in every country, at every level of government, gain improper benefit from misuse of their position. Public officials may engage in outright theft and acts of bribery, steal government funds, steer contracts to particular individuals or corporations in exchange for kickbacks, provide employment opportunities to family members and friends, take junket trips, create ghost jobs and ghost projects, scheme to obtain severance pay for terminated employees, and use staff and resources to run private businesses.”
Why do the people in charge of creating our laws get opportunities to act this way? And why is this not something that has been brought up more? We need to be aware of what is going on in every single government branch, we need to understand how so many get away with the things they do. Example: How the hell did Trump not get impeached?
- Bernie Sanders’ Good Doing
Suggested by Henry Boyer, 17
If you don’t think of a true do-gooder socialist when you think of Bernie Sanders, then that’s because the media doesn’t allow you to know enough about him. He’s the most popular Democratic candidate, so why are so many people unaware of his good policies? Raising taxes on the estate, raising minimum wage, tuition-free college, free healthcare? How does most media forget to mention that as a pleasing thing? Is it because it’s going to be funded by increased taxes on the 1%? Because the amount of money it takes to make those things possible would not hurt a hair on their heads. To no surprise, Bernie Sanders is not a fan of the media either. He came forth and said he felt, “the press was giving his campaign short shrift.” He wasn’t wrong about that either. He is a candidate that has always fought for the rights of people and bettering the country’s system. People need to be more aware of the positive things Sanders acts on, instead of hearing “he’s a hypocrite because he’s rich” or “his policies are too unrealistic.”
- Overfishing/Overhunting and Extinction
Suggested by Christina Post, 16, and Emma Hawkins, 16
Overhunting and overfishing is a huge problem at the moment since the population is growing and the demand for meat is so high. Although taking a bite may not seem too bad at the time, many ecosystems are being harmed in the process. Overfishing causes harm to most aquatic and freshwater ecosystems and most the time is done illegally. But not only does this hurt the fish, it also hurts the carnivores that depend on eating those fish, causing a whole domino effect of many species losing their food. Overhunting is what happens when too many people want unnecessary amounts of meat, fur, skin, horn, bones, and clothes. These two acts are performed by greedy people who want nothing less than money. They’re willing to put every single species at risk, messing up the ecosystem, all for money. But how many stories have you heard regarding this? There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be more aware of how much damage this is causing to the food chain. Maybe it’s because reporting it wouldn’t abide by America’s capital agenda. This is what leads to animal extinction.
Biodiversity estimates that anywhere between 200-100,000 species go extinct every year and over 28,000 are in danger due to the inhumanity of certain people. Like I said before, the main cause of extinction is due to overhunting and overfishing. This is such an outrageous problem that extinction is occurring nearly 5,000 times more than the natural extinction rate. If the media allowed people to know how to prevent this from happening at such a high rate, maybe species would have a much greater chance of survival, including humans. Species rely on other species for food. Where will they get their food when that species dies off?
- The Pink Tax
If you’re unaware of the pink tax, it literally means that a certain product will cost more just because it’s pink. And I don’t mean two completely different items, I mean two exact models from the same brand labeled $2 or more in difference because one of them is pink. I mean how long is it going to be before women get somewhat equal treatment? I mean if we‘re getting paid less than men, then why are we expected to pay more for the same exact item they use? And honestly I haven’t heard about this issue in quite a while. What is the actual logistic in this? Like are we not supposed to notice or are we supposed to act dumb and pretend like we don’t care? Do men feel guilty? Or could it be that the media doesn’t want people to know? I mean this is something my younger siblings should understand, we all should know. Every time I bring up “the pink tax” not too many people grasp what I’m saying, so when I explain it to them they refuse to believe that it’s true. And the only blame for that is the media hates reporting things that matter. You can read more about the Pink Tax in this Julie article.
- Police Brutality
Just in one year, 1,099 people lose their lives to police brutality. 1,099. How is that even possible? Young African American children are being taught by their parents to keep their hands where police can see, ask permission to grab their ID when getting pulled over, don’t look at a police officer for too long, and be polite. But these parents still have to go through fear every day know that even if their children follow all of these rules, there’s still a chance of them not coming home. Even though people are ripped from their families every day, ignorant people choose to wave their “blue lives matter” signs and hang their thin blue lines on their porches. This is such a terrible problem and the media fails to report the stories 100% truthfully, if even at all. This is something that needs more attention than it’s getting. After looking up the word “police,” the first page only showed praise toward the force. But what justice does that show the lives lost yearly? Officers get a gun and think they have the right to take lives? I’m sure if the media shared these stories exactly how they happen, when they happen, there would be more action taken to end this abuse.
With all this being said, I don’t think every single platform lies and manipulates people, but I do strongly feel there are too many issues out there that deserve more accurate coverage. Do your research and find news sources that report on a wide range of current events and have a high standard for factual, unbiased reporting. Here’s a good place to start: 10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts