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Why the press has lost its credibility

According to a Sept. 22 Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans polled believe press coverage of this presidential race has been too liberal, 13 percent too conservative, and only 36 percent believe news coverage of the candidates is balanced.
For a field that prides itself in being “fair and balanced” and exposing the facts, where has the press gone wrong?
Aside from the fact that cable networks CNN, Fox and MSNBC have seen drops in viewership in 2008, newspaper sales across the United States have plummeted as well. Considering the book industry is alive and well, proving Americans are still literate, the shift of news to the Internet can only be part of the reason.
Could another reason be that the public simply does not trust our reporters to write articles or conduct interviews without skewing the editing or their “findings” to project their agendas onto us as fact, which is becoming a major turn off to the average reader?
From Chris Matthews getting thrills up his leg this election season, to Yahoo and CNN posting article after article of “racial bias among whites” rather than pausing to consider character and stance on the issues to local and even school newspapers publishing complacent article after complacent article about one candidate or party while digging thoroughly for dirt on the other. What other conclusion does the reader have left to draw than there is an underlying agenda at work here from those in the industry?
It is undeniably the job of reporters to ask difficult questions of public officials and hold them to a higher standard, but they also have a responsibility to present themselves in a fair and balanced matter asking difficult questions of not just one, but both sides of the aisle, and not allowing our own agendas to blind us from doing so.
And let me just say, from what I’ve seen the past few weeks in the news, when more scrutiny by the media is given to the bottom of one ticket than has been given to the top of another, something is not right.
Mary Hilbert
Junior journalism Major