Mainstream News isn’t Working for the Working Class


Protestors in Atlanta climbed on CNN sign in the front of network headquarters on Friday May, 29th. Credit: Ben Gray/ Atlanta Journal-Constitution

April McBride

Mainstream news media is not only fundamentally broken, but is and has always been fundamentally disinvested from the communities, cities and countries it claims to serve. These organizations, no matter what political coin they land on, seek to serve only corporate interests, and do so in most heinous, unforgivable ways through the act of misrepresenting information to people who desperately need to know the truth. These groups have the responsibility of the truth to people who, other than word of mouth, may not have a reliable stream of information. This isn’t new though, for centuries there has been censoring of the truth to defend American ideals and justify crimes against marginalized groups. As a result, cable news networks have seen a decline in working class and non-white viewership.

credit: Public Opinion Strategies
credit: Public Opinion Strategies

This all came to a head on June 3rd, during one of the first Black Lives Matter protests in Atlanta when the CNN headquarters was surrounded by protesters. The Center was covered in broken glass and graffiti, and was set on fire in several areas. There is a specific reason why protesters choose to channel their efforts on that building. Though CNN and other major liberal-leaning media groups like to use BLM and movements like it to uphold their image, as soon as those groups take justified yet unpeaceful action against oppressive structures the media vows them unworthy of respect. Notably, after the protesters used more radical means of action, CNN’s Drew Griffin said “it’s a combination of looters, troublemakers and real protestors”

This is the main issue: when there is a lack of representation of people from marginalized groups, whether in coverage or employment in cable and local news rooms, it results in, almost without fail, white reporters speaking about people, movements, and protests that they don’t understand, resulting in the massive propagation of misrepresentation and misinformation of the issue at hand. The number of POC in newsrooms is significantly less than that of their white counterparts. If mainstream news organizations invested in a more diverse coalition it would appeal more to underrepresented groups. 

Credit: Pew Research Center

When 4,000 Antifa protesters showed up at a peaceful anti-racist protest, the news coverage of that event was dominated by talk of “extreme left terrorism” despite there being only 9 injuries and no deaths. Headlines after the event fixated on Antifa violence: ‘Black-clad Antifa attack’, ‘Violence by the far-left’, ‘Anarchist Storm Berkley’

Using convenient outliers to create a story might be profitable in the short term but will, in the long run, significantly damage the discourse on the related issues. 

The media has a great part to play in a democratic society. It function is to be conducive in allowing viewers to engage with the faults of their society to push leaders into action. In practice, it fails on most accounts. It has fed us a corporatized, propagandized worldview that will be uncritically echoed by the viewers of that content. It is especially harmful when those media giants use their power to propagate fear mongering to advance a political agenda.