There seems to be concern from all sides of the American public about the lack of objective journalism in mass media, and the breakdown of the traditional wall that stood between reporters and the politicians they covered. Well, the truth is – mass media is changing.
The politicization of reporting is just an example of how media organizations are scuttling the mold of “neutral observer” and identifying more with ideologies as a means to attract specific demographics of viewers. This has tremendous advantages, but it also is contrary to the typical mass-media model. Focusing content and specialization are all traits of the digital age, something mass media does not completely fit into… at least, not in its current form.
The bottom line is – people gather information to gain insight and discern the truth. One of the most important components of that process is to know from what perspective their news is being delivered.
Of course, the dirty little secret we don’t like to tell ourselves is that mass media has always been biased. It just lacked the transparency of intent, and instead built trust on a false perception that it had no other purpose than to serve the common good. Now that their pool of consumers have more options for content, mass media has no choice. The pie is getting smaller, so the need to specialize and find a niche becomes even more critical for survival. Reporting for the masses just does not work anymore.
This is why more politicized news anchors are a good thing. They demonstrate that the system is indeed changing and changing for the better. Consumers will be better able to evaluate the news because the broadcasts will be more specialized and the reporter’s perspectives will be transparent. This will actually help restore some measure of trust in both reporters and their news organizations.