At just after 3 AM, Donald Trump took the stage and announced victory for his campaign in the presidential election.  I was asleep at the time.

Seven or so hours earlier, I spoke to my brother as he left the voting booths.  He had barely made it, but was relieved to find the polls still open.  We kidded a bit about that state of things on Facebook before making our predictions for the election.  I told him I anticipated a Hillary Clinton victory by a large enough margin that I’d be in bed early.  He wasn’t as sure.

“I know what I see on TV keeps saying Hillary Clinton, but the people I see on social media make me think things could go either way,” he replied.  Despite being on the phone, I rolled my eyes.  How could a quick scroll through one Facebook newsfeed possibly give someone a better understanding of the state of the election than the constant stream of media coverage I’d been subjecting myself to?  Isn’t that what the media does?  It aggregates information and relays the pertinent parts.  You can keep your Facebook logic, bro; I’ve got pundits and exit polls to pour over.

At 4 AM, I rolled out of bed and walked to my front door to let the dog out.  As he did his business, I grabbed my phone off the coffee table, expecting to see news update notifications about Hillary Clinton’s victory over Donald Trump, but instead found only two missed calls from my brother.  I assumed the race was closer than I expected and no clear winner had been announced, until I opened up Facebook and found a menagerie of politically fueled rants about President Elect Donald Trump.  It wasn’t until that very moment that I considered the possibility that Donald Trump may be our next president.

Now, it wasn’t that Hillary Clinton was a political insider with significant connections throughout Washington that made me think she’d win, nor was it Donald Trump’s controversial statements throughout the campaign.  I was utterly certain that Hillary Clinton would win because the media had been telling me she would for months.

I’m a rampant consumer of media.  I share my days with newsfeeds, podcasts, YouTube videos and the five screens of varying sorts and sizes I have in my office.  I read, listened and watched for months as everyone from CNN reporters to career comedians told me that Donald Trump’s America was a “racist minority.”  I watched as issues that should have had real bearing on the election were cast aside by the media in favor of more exotic headlines.  Gone were the days of accusing the mainstream media of having a liberal bias, the mainstream media had chosen their candidate and were actively campaigning for her.

Nowhere was this pro-Clinton push more egregious than in the news.  When a comedy podcast sets aside a few hours of air time to bash a presidential candidate, I shrug my shoulders.  When CNN start cutting off guests that speak negatively about Clinton I shake my head.  When it’s proven that CNN’s parent company has donated enough money to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns in recent years that they have been her fourth largest financial supporter, I become downright angry.  As American voters, you should be too.

At a certain point, it stops being about the candidates, the campaigns, or even the election.  Whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson or wrote in James Mattis (as my wife suggests would have been the correct answer) you should not tolerate that level of dysfunction in a system to integral to keeping our citizens informed and empowered.  When the media chooses sides, they have a real effect on the perceptions Americans have about the election, and worse, about other voters.