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Isn't the main stream media losing it's credibility? A question post Trump's win in America
Some weeks prior to the American presidential election, a survey on media bias had shown that only 6 per cent people trust American media's integrity in election reporting where as an overwhelmingly 70 per cent people are of the opinion that American media is biased.

The same goes for the British media which British people think is 'most Right-Wing'. In case of India, almost 80 per cent people believe that Indian media is biased.

Frankly speaking, the fourth pillar of democracy, the news media is presently losing its credibility. It can be easily proved citing some examples. Almost all American media channels were anti-Trump. Even on the polling day, they showed exit polls (while voting was still going on in some western states) that Hillary Clinton was winning hands down. But Trump won it easily getting support from middle and lower middle class people. Trump was also shown by the American media as a male chauvinist, anti-women, and still majority of white women voted for Trump. During the 2008 election too, Barack Obama was shown as a candidate wining with black and Hispanic support and being rejected by the white community, but in reality Obama was endorsed by a majority of white people.

Now, coming back to Brexit, the British media repeated various surveys showing that people wanted to stay in EU despite the close contest, but people of UK voted otherwise. In 2014 Indian general election too, the Indian media always showed its anti-Modi character predicting a near doom if Modi is elected as PM. But the people rejected media warnings and gave Modi-led NDA a landslide victory. In fact as CM of Gujarat, Modi was always shown as the losing CM in every election, but people of Gujarat repeatedly voted Modi to power.

There was a time when news media was most trusted by the public and many times gave rise to successful revolutions against oppressors, dictators and corrupt regimes. But what happened to their credibility now? But before that, let's understand what the true role of media is?

A news media, be it in print form or TV/radio, its main job is to inform people about unbiased news without any censorship or tampering. People always trust actual and honest news. The media also has its own opinion. But they can only put it in their own personal space (for example editorials) leaving it for the public to make its own assessment. At the same time, they have to incorporate other opinions too, however contradicting the owner's/editor's view might be. The purpose of news media is to present accurate news and all types of views in front of people. That way they maintain their credibility.

But what happened in the electronic era is that mainstream media (print and TV) became corporatized to spread its business as well as to acquire advanced infrastructure. To corporatize, it required corporate financing. Entry of corporates brought in the culture of profiteering and that culture first killed the neutrality of news media. Corporates get most profit if they can be close to the broker lobby of power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts even more. Thus, many news media started selective reporting. Apart from that they instead of presenting views started imposing views.

On the other hand, the general public irrespective of being educated or not never likes something that is imposed on them because they have their own views. In the meantime, social media and online news platforms entered in to the scene. Social media (Twitter. FB, WhatsApp and others) gave freedom of expressing views to common people. Online news portals such as merinews.com also allowed all type of opinions (from different ideologies to political leaning) to be published without bias. Thus people started questioning the views imposed by the corporate media houses. While responding the questions many senior journalists found themselves to be exposed as not being neutral but rather having bias to a particular political party/ideology pro or anti.

Earlier, newspapers also gave space for reader's opinions such as 'letter to the editor' or 'reader as writer' etc. TV channels too offered phone in programs. But then, those were so little and so insufficient that people started preferring social media instead.

I would say that this is a warning bell for main stream media as they are losing their credibility very first. In any democracy, weakening of a pillar is always damaging. But it's said always that if something starts failing, then other things replaces it immediately. Thus, if main stream media doesn't change soon then online media portals will take its space and there might be even more expanded micro-blogging sites in the offing in the times to come.

However, there is a contradiction which is worth decoding. It's Arnab Goswami and the News Hour. Frankly, News Hour was never a debate. On one side it was Arnab Goswami's view and people supporting his views and on the other side the people who opposed Arnab Goswami's views. You perhaps might have noticed that Arnab started his debate imposing a view first and the debate continued to defend that view only. The question is why Arnab Goswami is more trusted despite his strongly imposing views?

The only answer is Arnab Goswami is consistent and his views are seen as the questions which common people want to ask. I think that's his strength and that's why he is popular. He is not biased to any political party/ideology. Many say that he is biased towards himself and his views. But again, if his views are the common people's questions, then his bias is towards the common man's concern. Any bias for concern of larger interest is not bias at all. I would say that these ethics every news media should follow because larger interest is the basic aim for any pillar of democracy.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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