Each day I open a different major news network website with the purpose of reading the news. I deliberately try to find news that brings a smile to my face and share it on my blog. Too often we only hear the bad news, so I try to emphasize the good or funny. I think smiles are important. Sadly though, as I scroll through the sites searching for that one uplifting piece, I see a lot of misleading information. These misleading headlines skew the truth and hurt the public.
Misleading the Public
If you are like me, you generally scan the headlines to see what has happened, only opening those articles that look interesting. As I do this daily, I’ve started opening more and more articles with striking headlines. As I read the articles, I realize that the headlines mislead the public. These misleading headlines emphasize something that when I read farther into the story doesn’t reflect the facts.
While I wish I could present every article that I have noticed, I generally skip them and move on. This week it finally reached my rant level. I read an article that mentioned community funds to help minority-run businesses. That’s not a bad thing and could be good. Then the subheadline mentioned how major banks refused to help minority-run businesses. Then I read the article.
The article tells about a small business owner who struggled during the pandemic closures. His usual bank did not give out relief loans, so he tried to call the major banks. He learned that these banks were not accepting any new clients at that time. Oh, and from the pictures of this small business owner we see that he is a black American.
How is this a misleading headline? Well, the subheadline suggested that the major banks refused this small business owner because of his race. Not true. The banks refused the small business owner because they were refusing all people. Race had nothing to do with their decision to refuse him. They just chose not to take on any new clients during the time of the pandemic closure.
Misleading Headlines Harmful
Having the major news networks emphasize race in misleading headlines like this causes harm. It causes people to believe that many institutions are racist. When in reality mitigating circumstances or issues cause the difficulties. Race has nothing to do with it.
In this instant, the bank would probably have refused this small business owner if he just happened to be white, Latino, Asian, or any other color. They refused his business on the basis that they were not taking any new clients. The banks wanted to protect themselves. Taking on new clients to give out business loans during this time of closure could have hurt them so they refused all new business.
By and large, most businesses are not racist. They take money from whoever can give it to them. They just want the business. Granted this past year caused circumstances such as banks refusing new clients, but that did not have to do with race. By emphasizing race, these major news networks cause harm to all races. They emphasize hate and discord.
Another harm caused by these misleading headlines is the people left behind. Often these headlines emphasize race and perceived slights. When in reality the problems presented in the story affect all people in that situation. During these times of pandemic, many, many small business owners struggled to keep food on the table and their businesses viable. Yet, the news only talks about a few. They emphasize the struggles of people based on the color of their skin.
While I don’t disagree with showing the struggles of people in a view to get help, I think they should show the struggles of all people in that situation. Regardless of race or color of skin, many small business owners needed help they could not access because of the closures for Covid-19. Instead of being racist, the news networks should instead focus on the struggles of all in a situation. Stop leaving people behind just because of the color of their skin.
Misleading headlines cause trouble and disagreements. They leave behind people that could also use help. The major news networks need to step up and start telling all stories. Stop focusing on the color of one’s skin and focus more on us as a people. We are all people deserving of having our stories told.