Media reporting has fundamentally changed in the last century. As the power of the executive has increased and the dissatisfaction with Congress has grown; the public demand for strong leadership has shifted to an inherent media bias towards the executive branch over the legislative branch. Today, the media functions as a subsidiary of the executive branch. The media does not have an inherently leftist vs. right bias concerning policy. Instead the media has a pro-leader bias. If the media was biased against the executive, it would cross party lines and accurately report legislation currently in Congress that would benefit the American people.
As Barack Obama said at his party nomination, “There is not a liberal America, there is not a conservative America – there is a United States of America.” This is a clarion call for the media to speak for the people; reporting their voice in Washington through Congress. Instead the media has become an extension of the executive branch.
Take for instance the conservative coverage of Marco Rubio’s 2013 immigration plan. Instead of accurately presenting the comprehensive plan to the American people, conservative and liberal media mocked, ignored, or attacked the bill. The choice by conservative media to portray the very moderate bill as demonically liberal was intentional. It is my belief that those who mocked the bill did not care about principle; instead they wanted to continue to use immigration as a rallying call for future presidential races. This is inherently pro-executive. The media does not present the American people with careful analyses of proposed legislation, instead they oversimplify and demonize the “other side”. The American public no longer discusses legislation, since it is no longer reported. As Jonathan Swift said, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”
This creates a deep dissatisfaction with Congress, prevents thoughtful compromise, and threatens our Republic. Why is this pro-executive? As the true authority of our Constitutional Republic is undermined by the executive, the people clamor for a leader who will piece together the broken, ineffective system.
The media report, not on the workings of Congress, but the single actions of leadership. Congress is ignored as the media promote strong-man solutions. Liberal and Conservative media are equally guilty. In 2008, the public viewed Obama as the man who would bring hope and change to Washington. The media never discussed how Obama would interact with Congress, instead they pushed the image of single handed leadership who could fix the system. During the current 2016 election, we are seeing conservative media present the same ideas. Conservatives push for a strong leader who will stop the flow of liberal policy. Congress’ power is trampled as candidate-centered media promises to introduce change through whatever means necessary.
Campaigns and candidates are effectively using the media bias to grow the strength of the executive branch, while undermining the people’s voice in government through Congress.
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