The Huffington Post has thrown out the concept of neutral, unbiased journalism, making sure its readers know exactly what they think about Donald Trump and the upcoming elections. Some of their most recent articles on Hillary Clinton have covered topics such as her endorsement from the New York Times, her email records, and even Kim Kardashian’s opinions of her. Their latest coverage of Trump, however, consists of discussions about his duplicity, his “[laughable]” fortune, and his “vile” behavior.
Many of the most recent articles on any topic related to Trump have included this Editor’s note, asserting very strong points about the candidate’s character and moral credibility, providing links to “evidence” of these claims. Often, these notes are followed by a conveniently placed advertisement for Clinton’s campaign.
The originality of the Post’s content is also worrying. In his article on the quality of digital journalism for The New York Review of Books, Michael Massing cites an in-house study which indicates that almost one in every seven of Huff Post’s articles come from the Associated Press, and even more are sourced from Reuters. The unrestricted availability of information has allowed many modern news sources to become regurgitators of stories that are already out there, limiting originality and the availability of primary information.
The Huffington Post is not the only publication to favor a particular candidate. This year, USA Today revisited their policy of refraining from endorsements, and by unanimous vote on behalf of the Editorial Board, has decided to speak out about a presidential candidate for the first time in the publication’s history. Instead of endorsing Hillary Clinton, USA Today decided to release an “anti-endorsement” of Trump.
Such blatant editorial bias points to a possible trend that has taken place as a result of digital journalism. According to Stephen Ward from Wisconsin University’s Center for Journalism Ethics, “the culture of traditional journalism, with its values of accuracy, pre-publication verification, balance, impartiality, and gate-keeping, rubs up against the culture of online journalism which emphasizes immediacy, transparency, partiality, non-professional journalists and post-publication correction.” The immediate accessibility of digital news has opened up a new era of journalism which pushes for catchy titles and increased views. This push for fast, catchy stories results in a loss of a level of journalistic standards that have been upheld for decades, leaving readers hard-pressed for trustworthy, unbiased news.