Finding elections news coverage isn’t too difficult. In fact, even several months before elections, it seems like all you hear about are the candidates and their thoughts on the issue of the moment.
Of course, just because there is an abundance of news on the upcoming elections, that doesn’t mean the first thing you come across in the paper or on the TV is really useful, unbiased coverage of what matters most. If you’re looking at the mainstream media, you’re certainly NOT getting unbiased reporting. CNN and MSNBC clearly have a bias toward the Democrat party and do everything they can to discredit the Republican party.
It is possible to get unbiased elections coverage, but you have to put in a little effort. Here are some tips to follow as you look for elections news.
Don’t rely on just one source
First of all, no news medium is completely unbiased, no matter how much the editors and reporters want to be. No single newspaper, TV station, or radio station can possibly obtain every single fact and they often give more coverage to one candidate or one issue than to another. That means even if your preferred news source is usually pretty good about giving everyone fair coverage, you’ll get a much better and more realistic view of things if you get your information from several sources.
Beware of social media
While social media brings news to us in almost real time and can be useful for some situational awareness, you should never take what you read in these media as absolute truth. That’s not to say some of it may be true, but because of its anonymity there are people who’s intent is to deceive you. Social media is ripe with dis-information, allot of people trying to gain political power, and those attempting to insert their biased and sometimes crazy ideas into the narrative. Social media giants like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and others actively censor and control the flow of information to citizens in an effort to influence the outcomes of elections.
Look to news media abroad
If you’ve ever taken a look at the foreign media’s coverage of a major event in your country, you’ve no doubt noticed how different the presentation can be from that of the media at home. Checking out foreign news sources is a great way to get another perspective on things. You don’t need to know a foreign language to do it either. Many countries have at least one English language news source (usually a newspaper) with a Web site.
Of course, you’ll want to know something about that country’s own policies before you take anything in their media as truth. These organization, too, have an agenda and their news is “spun” to reflect that bias. If they don’t have good political relations with your country, they may well write off all the candidates as unqualified. Likewise, they are likely to prefer candidates who have something to offer then in terms of economic or political gains. Even so, browsing through international media can open your eyes to things you may never have noticed.
Avoid soap opera coverage
You know those magazines and TV shows that treat elections like a live soap opera? They focus on the candidate’s personal life – their marriage, kids and long-past college years – instead of what those candidates actually plan to do if elected. Sadly, even some relatively respectable news media can fall into this trap because, let’s face it, drama brings viewers and ratings. The fact is, though, election news sources like these might be good for a laugh (depending on your sense of humor), but they’re not much use when you need straight, unbiased elections coverage.
Check for symptoms of yellow journalism
Even if your favorite news media seem to give good coverage to important elections-related issues and the candidates’ beliefs about them, poor reporting on other issues should cast doubt on their elections coverage also. If the rest of the paper or TV show sinks to sensationalism or frequently slip opinions, exaggerations, or inflammatory descriptions into factual pieces, it’s a sign their elections news coverage probably isn’t up to par either.
Elections news is available in abundance for a good reason. In order to make a truly informed voting decision, you need access to complete, unbiased elections coverage. Sadly, many alternative news sources and messages are being filtered out in most places and it’s increasingly difficult to get views from both sides of an issue. It may take a little more effort, but choose a variety of media sources to get your information from and you should be able to get all the elections news coverage you need.