During this particularly divisive time in our country, where politics seem to be at the center, all of us at Fox 4 know how important it is for you to turn on the news, and get the facts without an agenda, slant, or hidden message.
For "News Literacy Week," Fox 4 is partnering with the News Literacy Project, a non-partisan education non-profit, to help you understand how we bring you the news without bias, bring you all perspectives, and give equal time to opposing voices.
2020 was an Election year unlike any other: the debates were chaotic and out of control, supporters for both sides were particularly vocal, and tensions ran high.
Fox 4 Morning News Anchor Chris Shaw has been covering political races for 21 years.
"What kind of steps as a journalist do you take to make sure we're covering both parties, and both sides, equally?" Fox 4 Morning News Anchor Lisa Greenberg asked him.
"Everything we do, every story we tell here at Fox 4, we want to start with the facts and the truth, and concentrate on that. And if there's a difference of opinions, we want to try to get as many of those different opinions as possible," Chris said. "The main thing is, we cannot give one candidate, or one issue, or one side of an issue more time on the news than we give the other candidate."
For example, if we spent one minute in a newscast talking about President Trump's campaign stops, we would give equal time to now-President Biden.
Southwest Florida is filled with so many different people, each with their own perspective, and Fox 4 wants to mirror our community as much as we possibly can.
In 2020, President Trump made multiple stops in our area.
"In Southwest Florida, where a large part of our area is Conservative, the President comes here more often than a Democratic Candidate would. So we have to balance the newsworthiness of the situation. Anytime a President comes to a place, that's big news. We have to we have to do that as a news organization. That's our responsibility," Chris said.
But during an Election period, if the President is campaigning, it's our duty to balance that coverage, and Fox 4 had to make several decisions on this, in a time when many were still deciding who they would vote for.
"It's our responsibility to also show any counter-protests that may be going on, or counter-campaigning that may be going on, or if there's a rally by the challenger. We also have to cover that, and try to give as equal time to that on our newscast as possible," Chris said.
When President Trump came to Fort Myers, we made sure to also show the "Biden for President" news conference, and "Ridin' with Biden" event that same day in Southwest Florida. We do this to prove to you that we don't have an agenda. There's no slant, an no message we're trying to push.
"We are just trying to tell what's going on in our area, and we are trying to represent the people in our area. We want to tell the facts as they are, and show as many sides as we possibly can," Chris said.
If you have questions about how we do what we do as journalists, ask us! All of us are happy to pull back the veil on what we do, to help you understand how this process actually works. You can email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.