By Riley Fanning
The 2016 presidential election has finally come to an end and with the reveal of Trump as the winner, almost every article headline reads the same. Over and over are recycled phrases describing the shocking, unexpected and surprising win. The mainstream media is littered with astonishment, as every poll predicting Clinton to be the obvious winner was dead wrong.
The media in America has long been far from objective or unbiased, and the past two years of the campaign and election coverage proves it. Donald Trump won half of the country’s votes, and somehow the media had no inkling of this outcome.
News sources had painted a picture of Trump becoming president as an unimaginable joke. Clinton appeared to be leading by sturdy margins, with polling data to back up the claims. Yet the election polls did not prove to be reliable, leaving many Americans, including myself, in complete bewilderment.
The narrative of America being a liberal progressive country propagated by most media is a delusion. Millions of voters chose Trump, despite his unpredictable demeanor and hate-driven campaign, and despite the media spouting the impossibility of him being elected.
What we have to remember as well is that most voters were not gleefully skipping to the voting booths, with many trying to decide between two very flawed candidates. While some Trump supporters have prejudices, many do not and are just Americans who have been unhappy with the way the government has been run and believe he will bring change.
Both the liberal and conservative media has constantly portrayed exaggerated versions of Republicans and Democrats alike: racist rednecks versus the overly politically correct “social justice warriors.” The media’s caricature of people is not an authentic reality, but rather a useful way to spread individual agenda and further widen the gap between political parties.
Since the election, nationwide protests have broken out and a growing petition has appeared on social media asking the Electoral College to change its vote in an attempt to have Clinton replace Trump as president-elect. The protests and petition prove just how divisive this election has been and display the fervent anger many Americans are feeling at the moment.
The problem with both of these things is that they are not actually protesting Trump as intended, but rather the democratic system itself. We had an election and just because you do not agree with the results does not mean you can change the rules and outcome after the fact.
While most media outlets are still wary and critical of Trump, a new note of positivity and hopefulness has come to the surface: as a country we should try to be optimistic that Trump will rise to the challenge of the presidency, and we should try to give him the opportunity to prove the predictions of failure wrong.
Media should give facts and the truth, not its own biased version of the truth. The lesson in all of this mess is that the media is not a wholly reliable source, and people will have to dig for the truth themselves. The country is in a deeply contentious state with many Americans either overjoyed or devastated with the election’s outcome.
Take this as an opportunity to use your First Amendment right to the freedom of speech—use your voice to promote values you uphold so that both sides of the political coin can begin a hopefully fruitful discourse.