Balance between candidates in news coverage non-existent

Graphic by: Jordan Lodge | Production Manager

With the presidential election finally winding down, we can all look forward to a collective sigh of relief but not before we do some serious reckoning.

I’ve encountered many hopeless students who believe both the democratic and republican nominees are “the same.” The headlines they read are all negative, so they both must be just as awful as the other, right?

But they’re not. In an attempt to balance the number of articles highlighting Donald Trump’s narcissistic behavior and gross incompetence for office, we in turn see droves of negative Hillary Clinton articles.

Clinton is not flawless but her mistakes as a politician do not rival Trump’s as a general human being. The two candidates’ respective controversies are nowhere near the same level of gravity, yet ratings-hungry news sources have sensationalized insignificant Clinton flaws to create a sense of “balance.”

In September of this year, NBC News posted an online article titled “Hillary Clinton Fights Back Coughing Attack.” That’s right, some poor soul was forced to write a less-than-100-word article on a human coughing, because apparently allergies are newsworthy these days. If this doesn’t encapsulate the bizarre news coverage of this election, I don’t know what does.

I understand that news sources are terrified of being labeled “biased” or “in the pocket of candidate X.” I understand that it’s boring to write about emails and Trump antics all the time, but the forced balance between both candidates borders on irresponsible.

There’s only one candidate who refuses to concede a peaceful transfer of power should he lose, breaking historic tradition among losing candidates. There’s only one candidate who’s claimed that Mexico is sending the U.S. crime, drugs and rapists.

There’s only one candidate who’s received an official endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan’s newspaper. There’s only one candidate who once claimed via Twitter that global warming was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Should I go on?

All news sources should report on both sides of the political spectrum, not attempt to balance each candidate’s negative coverage. Voters deserve objective and unbiased coverage to draw conclusions themselves, but we should realize that unbiased coverage won’t always appear “balanced.” We cannot have balance between a moderate democrat and a far-right demagogue.

If it seems like social etiquette and basic human decency have flown out the window during this election, it’s because they basically have. But it’s imperative that we identify the true source of this rotten discourse, instead of claiming that both sides are just as bad.