Over the last few years, it has become increasingly apparent that most of the mainstream media is no longer trying to report the news, but to push a partisan agenda. There’s been no better example of this then the difference in coverage between the Black Lives Matter riots in the summer, and the Capitol riot in January. Over the summer, America’s cities saw an unprecedented amount of looting and destruction from BLM protests. Buildings burned and more than a dozen people died, all of which could cost a record 2 billion dollars of damage.
Despite the widespread looting and rioting, almost nobody in the media seemed to cover it. Some purposefully ignored it, like an MSNBC reporter who stood in front of a burning building and described the protest as “not, generally speaking, unruly.” CNN’s Chris Cuomo even justified it when he said, “show me where it says protesters need to be polite and peaceful.” On the other hand, the Capitol riot on January 6th got an extremely different reaction.
The riot was met with outrage, and news organizations had no problem covering the violence. When referring to the Capitol riot, Chris Cuomo, despite defending the BLM riots, said “anybody trying to excuse this as just more of the same is as bad as the people in that Capitol.” This is just one example of the double standard applied to the two protests.
The media’s extensive coverage of the Capitol riot (a mostly conservative protest), and their refusal to acknowledge the violence from BLM (mostly liberal), exposes a major double standard in the way they cover events. Americans are recognizing this, and as a result, their trust in the media is rapidly declining. According to Axios, American’s trust in traditional media dropped to 46% in 2020, and a Gallup poll showed that 74% of Americans believe that news organizations they don’t trust are trying to persuade people to have a certain viewpoint.
As Americans are losing trust in the media, we are becoming increasingly polarized. A study by the Pew Research Center found that before the election, 89% of Republicans believed that electing Biden would cause lasting harm to the country- and 90% of Democrats believed Trump would cause lasting harm. As a result of the media, people are moving much farther from the center. This extreme division affects all facets of life and has nothing but a negative impact. No figure or institution in America is more responsible for that divide than the media. This is why the media needs to stop trying to push different agendas and political views, because it is the only way to prevent America from widening it’s major political divide.