Give more airtime to experts, less to pundits and politicians

By Sean Mickey

One of the first things you learn in journalism is to give your reader both sides of the story. But it’s also important to not let a narrative trump the facts.

When a media outlet shows something is wrong or inaccurate, many see it as partisan. But this should not be the case.

One story reported by Fox News explained how GOP lawmakers gathered with protestors to defy stay-at-home orders. This story failed to mention that Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that if the U.S. moves too quickly to end stay-at-home orders there could be another surge of COVID-19 cases.

When President Donald Trump later goes on TV and says people defying these orders are “great people” who were dealing with “cabin fever,” he delegitimizes what our leading disease experts are saying.

Far too often during this pandemic, outlets are giving individuals with no credentials in the medical field too much airtime. Whether you are a small market newspaper or national television network, you need to lead with the facts.

The media should let both sides of an argument have the opportunity to be heard, but let’s not forget the facts. Let the people hear from the experts and make their own decision.

But don’t give people with no expertise and little background on a subject the same attention as those who do not.

Outlets need to give more airtime to experts and less time to pundits and politicians.

Sean Mickey is a student in a Media and Democracy class at St. Bonaventure University.

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