Media is the only source through which the public can learn what is going on around it and in the world. Media has the power to shape the public’s way of thinking and thus it is very important that news should be objective.
It is the media’s responsibility to give all the worthy news it encounters to the public without withholding any information. Media has a duty towards the public to inform it about anything that people would benefit from knowing. After receiving the facts, people on their own should decide which side to take. People are smart enough to evaluate the facts and the media has no right to do it for them. Decision not to cover a specific topic that is newsworthy or censoring any topic is a representative of taking sides. By not informing the public, news agencies are forcing people to think from their own point of view. For example, during an interview with Fox News, an interviewer censors Ron Paul because what he is saying is against the Fox News Agency’s beliefs. The interviewer tries to cut Paul’s sentences and in the middle of Paul’s speech, the interviewer immediately goes into commercials and Ron Paul does not get the chance to even finish his sentence. Therefore, Fox forces the audience to only hear its opinions. Thus, the public is enforced to think the same way as Fox thinks. Another example that could be mentioned is the photo captions that New York Times wrote under the photos of the Israel–Palestine conflict. There is a photo in which an Israeli soldier is holding a rifle in a “firing position.”1 The caption under it says: “An Israeli facing stone-throwers in Hebron.”2 The other photo shows a Palestinian just holding a rifle and the caption is “At the burial of a Palestinian killed in the Gaza Strip.”3 Even though both men in the picture are holding a rifle, the Israeli soldier is presented as more aggressive whereas the Palestinian is depicted as “innocently holding a gun while attending a funeral of one of his fellow victims of Israeli aggression.”4 This shows the aim of the media to present Israelis as destructive and Palestinians as only victims. The debate here is not about the question of which country should considered the victim, insteaed the conflict here is about presenting one side as the innocent, and the other as the hostile. The public should decide by its own which country it think is right, while the media shouldn’t.
Newspapers cannot be “all things to all people,” as Stephen B. Shepard suggests, because the question of whether something is news or not differs to from person to person. Not only newspapers, but also all medias pick news, but the right selection should be based on the question “Is this story newsworthy or does it have magazine value?” The decision should not be based upon the political views of the head of a certain media company. Newsworthiness should be based on its possible benefit to the public. To illustrate, the coverage of Anthony Weiner’s photo scandal and Casey Anthony case could be mentioned. Both of these issues have a more magazine-like value, rather than news value. The media should have mentioned the content of these issues; instead it had a long and detailed coverage for weeks for merely acquiring high ratings. These kinds of issues do take the attention of the public but that does not mean they have news value, they might just have tabloid value.
To conclude, it is not realistic to believe that the media publishes every information that it encounters, but the crucial point is that this elimination process should be based upon the question of whether the news benefits the public in any way.
New York Times Example (1-2-3):
Fox News Example: