EDITORIAL: Reactionaries don’t belong in news


The firing of media pundits such as Tucker Carlson signals a shift that journalism needs: away from stoking emotions and more toward speaking the facts.

Opinions have become rampant in broadcast news. Hopefully, this starts a chain reaction where other news organizations remove their talking heads. But it’s saddening that it took offensive comments and misinformation to get here. 

One of the reasons the nation is so divided is because these talking heads are stoking the flames. It’s less about bringing attention to issues and more about creating an audience. Broadcast networks need viewers, after all. 

Carlson has gotten away with claiming immigrants make our country “dirtier” and leading the cries of a stolen election in 2020. Even during the Jan. 6 riot, the culmination of election denial, Carlson downplayed the incident with, “these were not insurrectionists. They were sightseers.” 

When COVID-19 dominated the headlines, right-leaning networks hit the gas on conspiracy theories. Carlson even likened vaccine requirements to Jim Crow laws. 

Fortunately, Dominion’s 10-figure defamation lawsuit settlement regarding its voting machines are kicking these opinionated organizations in the right direction. 

This is a perfect opportunity to replace these media personalities with anchors who care about the news more than their opinions.

News organizations normally provide a platform for communities to voice their concerns. It shouldn’t be one person peddling an opinion.

Newspapers remind their readers that opinion sections don’t reflect the opinions of the publication. But when networks like CNN and Fox News make pundits the face of their network, they undermine faith in journalism.

Viewers are sharing fewer clips about important news stories and are instead spreading the rants of a pundit, equating the outrage to fact.

Broadcast news is not the enemy, however. It’s the massive networks and media conglomerates that are galvanizing their audience. The key isn’t to change the channel, but to distinguish when we’re listening to someone’s opinion instead of news.

The firings and defamation lawsuits show that this discourse poisons journalism. 

Off with the talking heads.