Today, news comes with an angle or an opinion. Ask anyone on the street where FOX or CNN politically stand and they could answer with certainty. They know that standing because its reflected in how the station reports their stories, which stories they ignore or what perspective they look at a story. This has led to many controversies surrounding news corporations pushing conservative or liberal biases on their audience; biases which the corporations deny.
Just over one hundred years ago the American government passed the Newspaper Publicity Act (NPA) of 1912. In essence, the NPA was created to regulate the newspaper industry after years of reporters writing fake news stories around selling sponsored products. In addition to unregulated illegal back dealings, there were secret political owners who used their papers to promote their own interests in both business and the election season. This is not to say that all newspapers were corrupt; some were straightforward and fully in support of the Act. In the end, the Act was passed. It took some time to implement but the NPA has been a relative success. Owners of newspapers are public knowledge, advertisements are clearly labeled with a small helpful title identifying them as “Advertisements” and there’s far more regulation.
Over the past century, news media has drastically changed their techniques but not their ideologies, which is to report the news. News, by definition, is the reporting of noteworthy information. That is, all news is supposed to be is news. Meaning there should only be the relation of facts with a completely neutral influence. This is the news cycle the NPA was attempting to create, regardless of the medium.
This desire for “no comment” reporting ironically runs parallel with a time of encouraged commenting. In today’s media saturated world, where there are hundreds of thousands of sites dedicated to publishing each individual’s opinion on any matter, can there really be any other expectation from the reporters who are paid to do it everyday? These reporters who are paid by news corporation owners who need advertisers and sponsors to keep the news going. Should the reporters or the owners be held to a higher standard? If so, how?