Bad news sells

Scout Hutchinson, Opinion Editor

In the past four years, Donald Trump has shifted the way in which people, especially people on the right, view the media. For better or worse (definitely worse), fake news has dominated the conversation around journalism and changed the way in which we receive our news. However, what has been left out is the way in which the media has changed the way they deliver the news.

The frenzy around controversy and the profits over clickbait has continued to entice the media to report only on what will grab the attention of their readers. Whether we like it or not, Trump’s controversial and sometimes deadly decisions created a culture that was attracted to and profited off of chaos reporting. 

Say what you want about Trump but his decisions landed on the front cover of every publication and at the fingertips of the American people no matter their political identity, garnering immense profits for new organizations and comics alike. By prioritizing profit over information the media has continued to focus on controversial political decisions and “bad news,” while completely ignoring the need to also report on the very real change and less startling decisions that have come out of the Biden administration. 

This administration, therefore, has not found its footing in the new realm of media that relies on the quick headlines that Trump could so effortlessly spew for them. This has created a stagnant feeling around the Biden administration that could lead to the same feeling of needing something “new” that led people to Trump in the first place. The American people ultimately just don’t have as much in-your-face access to what Biden is doing.

This is not to say that it is not important to be as critical of Biden as we were of Trump, simply, that we must put an equal amount of weight on “bad news” or controversy as we do on morally ambiguous or “good news”.  It is not that Biden does not also deserve his own level of criticism but that he simply does not have the same level of outlandish rhetoric and foolish decisions as Trump, making his administrative decisions less profitable.

Chaos reporting and the need for profit have allowed for a lot of the Biden administration’s decisions to be swept under the rug, especially discussion around his many justifiable reversals of Trump-era policy. This is shown through the lack of reporting on Biden’s environmental policies and hopes for low-income housing. It is not that Biden isn’t doing anything, but that his actions do not have a detrimental outcome and thus seem less important to report on. This is not to say that we should not also report on controversial decisions as it is important to inform the public on something that could affect them, good policy and systematic change whether environmental, economical or socially is just as important. 

Publications must find new ways to make administrative decisions more appealing to read and understandable to the public and focus their attention on news that is just simply good and a step in the right direction. While it might not seem as dire to inform someone that their life will get better, not worse, if we do not put as much effort into good news it could be detrimental to the next coming elections. It is important that people are informed that Biden, who is not perfect to say the least, is still making steps in the right direction. 

We must hold equal weight in reporting on all policy and social decisions because if we do not it will create a sense that nothing is getting done. The idea that Biden is doing nothing with his presidency will only create more opportunities for Trump to center himself as a savior for Middle America, or those who feel “left behind” because at least he is doing something.