Journalists in 2015 are writing on eggshells


Recently I looked over some older copies of The Gannon Knight. There were many articles and advertisements that were interesting to read from a historical perspective.
In the 1980s there were plenty of ads to quit smoking, and that eating an apple a day would maintain a certain level of health and there was even an article that intended to give women tips to prevent rape. At the time the article would have been accepted, but by today’s standards it would have been considered sexist and would never have made it to print.
During the mid-1990s the overall theme of The Gannon Knight leaned toward humor. The pages were covered in innuendos with a column dedicated to some ridiculous topic. It seemed like the writers and editors during this time period had so much more fun with what they were writing. They didn’t have as much to worry about, because less people were offended with what they would say.
Our society as a whole has become much pickier about what is being said in news media. The push for political correctness is making it extremely difficult to follow all of the rules and still tell an unbiased story.
I do understand where being politically correct serves a purpose, protecting minority groups from being discriminated against, but it seems that the push for political correctness has gone beyond that. It is not uncommon to read a story that features a minority group and then see comments on it from either the minority or the majority group that express that they take offense to what is written. This happens even when the story itself is actually harmless and is only stating facts.
When it comes to opinion pieces the writer has to tread lightly and be careful that he or she didn’t express his or her opinion too strongly or they run the risk of not getting published, or having an extreme backlash for having and voicing an opinion.
Not all opinions meet modern standards and those that are more extreme are the reason we have certain politically correct standards to meet. Some ends of the political correctness standards are very limiting, especially on humor.
Making a joke about one person can lead to a minority group assuming that the joke was intended to reflect the entire group rather than the individual it was about. It is also accepted that minority groups can make jokes about stereotypes about their group, but it is not accepted for other groups to make jokes about the minority group.
Writers in the past had a much easier time with humor because they didn’t have the weight of political correctness pinning them to the ground. This does make humor difficult for a writer, which does push writers to be more creative about being funny.
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