CNN’s Atlanta Headquarters //pixabay.com

By: Katy Temple, Features Editor.

On January 23rd, 2018, a man in Michigan was arrested for calling CNN on multiple occasions and threatening to kill employees at the Atlanta headquarters.

On June 28th, 2018, the staff of The Capitol Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland went to work expecting a normal day of producing a daily paper, but ended up as victims of another mass shooting in America.

On August 16th, 2018, The Boston Globe was subjected to a bomb threat after Donald Trump Tweeted about their “collusion with other papers on free press”.

When you take a mass shooting, a death threat, or a bomb threat and place it in a journalistic setting, a conversation needs to be had. We cannot kill or threaten to kill people based on the politics they cover and the way they cover such topics.  

Since President Trump’s election, attacks on mainstream news outlets have been rolling in non-stop and have only been adding tension to the already adversarial relationship between government and media. Fake news, like institutional bias has, and always will exist. It’s terrifyingly easy to get thousands of people to share a fake story from a unreliable source and start quoting it in Facebook rants. Fox will always sway to the right and CNN will always sway to the left. However nowadays, “fake news” is interchangeable with “mainstream news source” because of the weaponization and demonization of political journalism and because institutional bias has been blown out of proportion by none other than our government.

Up until now, the new “fake news” narrative has been annoying at best. I was tired of defending my major to complete strangers, tired of seeing my president bash my future career field with nothing but his own misinformed opinions, and tired of trying to explain that just because someone doesn’t agree with something doesn’t mean it’s fake. This isn’t just annoying and frustrating anymore – it’s dangerous.

A station’s or publication’s possible institutional political bias is directly contributing to its threats and serving as definitive motive for attacks. Please take a moment and think about that. We’re talking about politically fueled shootings in America – people getting shot or threatened because their political coverage doesn’t align with the viewpoints of whoever is pointing a gun, writing a letter, or making a phone call.

Whether you lean right, left, or hang out in the middle, I am hoping that you can see the problem here. I don’t care if you voted for Trump, Clinton, Stein, or Beyoncé. If you think that this is not a problem, we have a difference in morality, not a difference in political opinion.