Op-Ed: Media Hysteria Rages During COVID-19


Photo illustration purchased from BigStock.com

Grace Papas, Outgoing Executive Editor

Since September, the exaggeration of media headlines has only ramped up in intensity, whether it be about politics or COVID-19.

Additionally, media hysteria in the face of COVID-19 and the new vaccines has gotten much worse.

How many articles have we seen about COVID vaccines and the hope they present to the American public? Or how cases have begun to drop as a result?

The simple answer is not that many because in the eyes of many newspapers, good news isn’t worth talking about. The reason why: it’s beneficial for them and their political allies to focus on other topics.

Everything boils down to one simple statement: America needs facts, not your opinion.

Newspapers make their money off of clicks. Every time someone clicks on a headline, it contributes to the company’s profit. It’s no secret that for that reason, reporters and editors spend a considerable amount of time finding a headline that will grab readers’ attention.

And to do that, sometimes they’ll exaggerate. Maybe it’s just a slight exaggeration to garner enough interest to compel readers to click on the headline, or it can be completely blown out of proportion, as many of us have seen over the course of this year.

Other times, newspapers write about unnatural occurrences multiple times in order to make it seem like the situation is graver than it really is.

This fear mongering has only gotten worse as the battle with COVID-19 stretches on. How many times have you seen a headline about how “Deaths in the U.S. Soar,” “Positive COVID-19 Cases Blow Up,” or something else along those lines? Media outlets have people living in fear due to their overblown headlines.

It’s no secret that newspapers are among the companies that have profited the most off of COVID-19.
 According to Forbes, The New York Times’s stock price has increased by 26% since 2020.

These big news corporations are making money off of people’s fear. They’re in an industry where terror and anxiety bring in the cash. When tensions are high, they thrive.

Tensions in America have been strained even further by varied news sources. Before social media and online news, many Americans received news from the same sources, which not only made discussions more productive, but kept tensions low.

Now, different people read news from different sources—often seeking out headlines that support their beliefs. On occasion, articles intentionally omit great chunks of detail because they don’t drive journalists’ narratives.

Journalists should either tell the full story or shouldn’t bother writing at all. In reality, half truths are far more damaging than lies.

Some reporters are no longer objective or logical, and articles with simple facts can be hard to find. Now, everything has become an op-ed on political or personal beliefs centered around the topic of each article. COVID-19 has been turned into a political opinion.

Everything boils down to one simple statement: America needs facts, not your opinion.

From performative activism to COVID-19 reporting, it’s my belief that all major newspapers have done more harm to America’s people than good.

I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely sick and tired of all of these overblown headlines. In these suffocating times of negativity and struggle, we should be able to look to news outlets for a ray of hope. Good news is something that people crave, and we aren’t getting it at the moment.

Overall, I’m extremely disappointed in how our news outlets have handled and continue to handle these situations. America is in desperate need of unity, and these conflicting narratives only serve to drive us further apart.

Future generations cannot afford to be as divided as we have become. As humans, we cannot afford to be this divided. I urge everyone, do better.