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Greg Williamson

Suzanne Richards
ENGW1111 First Year Writing
Finding Truth Essay
Do You Want the Truth?
When you turn on the television while cooking dinner after a typical day of work, what
news station do you turn to? I ask this because depending on what you watch (CNN, Fox,
MSNBC, etc.), your idea of what is going on in the world will differ from others, even if you
think what you hear is true. Truth is something we look for every day. From daily events to long
endeavors, we look to distinguish between right and wrong, fact and fiction, whether something
is true or a lie. That said, humans cant always decipher the truth. We arent present for every
event, nor do we know exactly what is going on all the time and therefore we rely on information
reported to us to help formulate our opinions. When it comes to the media, it is hard to formulate
a story based from one single new source, yet Americans do every day. But what is important is
not necessarily the way in which we the viewers piece facts together, but moreover how these
facts are portrayed through the media, and thats where bias comes into play.
Think of why news stations report the news. What is the incentive? In the 17th century,
the newspaper was invented to provide information nationally and across borders, but this has
changed. Now, news is reported to improve rankings and make money. Weve come to the point
where news is treated like a product; reporters try and sell their stories rather than report the
facts. In doing so, they find themselves with a lot of power and the ability to manipulate and
frame other organizations and people. Therefore, we the viewers can see large political

affiliations amongst the big news stations. An extremely good example of how a single event can
be reported in different ways to target particular people is the Benghazi scandal.
I am not writing to try and decipher the truth of Benghazi and find out what exactly
happened. No one knows exactly what happened except for those involved on the scene, or those
that have access to classified documents in Washington. To me, what is more important is
analyzing how news stations reported the attack and Clinton scandal, and when they reported
what they did. To do so, it is essential to dissect different news outlets on the political spectrum.
Ergo, Fox News, who predominantly targets conservative viewers, and The New York Times, who
has much more of a liberal audience and affiliation. Between the two of these, we hear different
and similar stories revolving around what each station dubs the truth of the matter, but decipher
and see different biases. One point to keep in mind though is that often these news stations dont
necessarily want to report what has actually happened, rather they want to avoid it all together.
Seeing that the Benghazi scandal occurred under the Obama administration and in the
hands of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it is expected that Fox News would have blown up
this event by targeting the administration, rather than trying to report what actually happened,
which they indeed did. Immediately, it was evident that Fox News plan of attack on this entire
situation was to target Secretary Clinton and only Secretary Clinton. Not to say that there
shouldnt have been press on her, but Fox News hardly reported on actual events from Benghazi
other than immediate breaking news headlines reporting there was an attack at the time. When
searching the archives to determine what was reported specifically, I really only came across a
few, reported the day of/after the attack, offering vague details about what specifically happened,
and even already alluding to and targeting Hillary immediately. Besides that, the entire array of
articles posted by Fox News revolved around Clinton. Whether it be questioning if she planned

this attack, or if she knew about it, her emails, etc., probably close to ninety percent of their
coverage targeted her as their main subject. It is very hard to search Benghazi in Fox News
archives without Hillary Clinton coming up as well. This isnt necessarily a bad thing; it just
merely shows the bias that Fox News holds around this situation. It makes sense as well. Fox
News saw an event that clearly to them had ties to the Democratic party, and they, being very
much supported and funded by Republicans, took that to their advantage to have a leg up against
their opposites. In my unbiased opinion, I find that Fox News is in an incredibly easy situation in
terms of reporting events because it is so easy for them to take anything the Obama
Administration does and just criticize it, but that is beside the point. It very well may be that
Hillary knew about Benghazi before it happened and had ties to the case, but we arent looking
for the truth, and neither are news stations, thats the kicker. Fox News knows that Hillary may
not be directly related, but thats not what they are going to report because that isnt what they
support. They are supposed to be bias towards situations like this because they know that their
target audience will listen to what they say, if they say it correctly. Moral is, Fox News took
Benghazi and spun it in the Clinton direction, offering the conservative angle towards the
situation.
Looking at how some sources on the more liberal side of the spectrum like The New York
Times reported Benghazi, it is evident that although there are some common themes, there is
definitely a difference of bias. However, I will say that The New York Times is definitely not
extremely left wing, as it is very hard to find a news source that is extremely democratic other
than most of the satirical late night shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, or The Daily
Show with Jon Stewart, but these are difficult as they arent necessarily news stations, but more
satirical shows supported by news stations. The New York Times is aligned more with the middle

to middle-left news sources like MSNBC and CBS and therefore has more even-keeled liberal
views with an understanding of the conservative viewpoints as well. With Benghazi specifically,
The New York Times ran a bunch of articles on who was involved, what specifically they thought
had happened and offered as much insight into the specifics of the attack, even creating a
timeline of the attack as it unfolded, but this came weeks to months after the attack. What I found
interesting is that if you try to find articles from either The New York Times, MSNBC, or even
CBS immediately after the attack, it is extremely hard to other than some very vague articles
about alluding to an attack on Benghazi without many specifics, very similar to Fox News. The
difference being that these more liberal news stations remained relatively quiet following the
attack because with the Obama Administration in charge at the time, liberal news stations did not
want to create any unrest amongst their supporters. That being said, Im definitely not saying that
The New York Times didnt have any press coverage on Secretary Clinton, because they
definitely did, it was/has been a huge story over the last 4 years. Almost every news station
covered Secretary Clintons scandal, but how they covered it differs and thats where we find
bias. Specifically, The New York Times, reported on all the hearings, all the interviews, etc., but
werent specifically targeting Clinton. They merely reported on the situation because people
wanted to know, but tried not to allow any sort of criticism towards Hillary, which indeed is.
Contrary to this, Fox News blew up Hillary and her entire scandal as I stated before. Within both
of these angles lies bias.
Neither news station is correct, nor is either wrong, they are just different and have
different views, and that entirely makes up not only the broadcast industry, but also politics in
general. Your viewpoints combined with your incentive is what makes up your bias. News
stations all have the incentive to make money and have better ranking. This in tandem with their

political affiliation is what defines the type of station that they are, and the type of bias they
have. I grew up in a democratic household, with both my parents being middle of the spectrum
but supporters of the democratic side. Because of this, I always heard how awful Fox News was,
and how no one should listen to all the bullshit because its just biased towards the Democrats.
But in the same way, I can see how news stations that Democrats trust can be equally as biased,
because its a two-way street. The Benghazi Scandal reveals this exactly. Because of this I have
really come to a sad truth, and that is that news stations hardly report on many significant and
important news anymore because all they really care about is making money and being well
ranked. This is unfortunate because there are a lot of legitimate issues that occur within the USA
and rest of the World, yet we never hear of them. This is where I see the line between truth and
bias, and divides what is reported and what is not reported. No matter the news station, our press
is cluttered with ridiculous assumptions, stories, and scandals that dont necessarily relate to
what is actually occurring within the world. If you are looking for the truth, you cant go to the
news, because as hard as it is to say, they dont report the truth. They report what you want to
hear, not what you should hear, and that in itself is bias.