Thursday, November 29, 2007

More on Fox News

Continuing with what I said in my earlier post about Fox News, I found a pretty neat list of things called the "Fox Network Spin". This list includes a number of ways that Fox manipulates their news. Enjoy!

When presenting hard news stories, the Fox News Channel always includes the network spin. The network uses a number of techniques to mutate reality. Here are just a few:

Method #1: Non-reporting. A news story about rising gas prices blames regional environmental clean air standards. According to Fox News, "some officials say environmental regulations are driving up prices by forcing fuel refiners to develop different blends." This is only partially true. The reporter does not mention other factors including the lack of refining capacity in the United States; OPEC holding back production; the simple economics of high-demand in the U.S.; poor fuel efficiency of U.S. vehicles; and the fact that even with price increases, the U.S. STILL has the lowest cost per gallon of gas in the world. The Fox News spin is that the only reason gas prices rise is because of those liberal environmental laws. (June 3, 2004)
Method #2: Conceptual Name Calling. A news story about global warming is titled "Junk Science." The first line of the newscast says: "The global warming treaty known as the Kyoto protocol is politically dead in the U.S. But the treaty's left-leaning environmental extremist supporters haven't given up their fantasy of creating a socialist global economy through controls on energy use." This report includes no scientific evidence of global warming and ends with the comment that "the junk science-fueled Kyoto protocol would be an economic suicide capsule." (June 4, 2004)
Method #3: Political Name Calling. The Fox News Channel makes a sharp distinction between Democrat and Republican and liberal and conservative. Network news always identifies political party affiliations. For example, a report on Congressional hearings involving Bush administration Attorney General John Ashcroft said Democrats "accuse John Ashcroft" and "Democrats kept focus on a series of memos" which lead to a "frustrated Attorney General" who did his best to stay on topic. The newscast portrayed the Democrats attacking Ashcroft who was only trying to protect the U.S. from terrorism. (June 9, 2004)
Method #4: Warped Reporter Analysis. In a report about Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry, reporter Carl Cameron's voice-over identified the public's "lagging perception in the polls that he can protect the country from bioterrorism" and the "Massachusetts Democrat as usual slammed the President for not doing enough to protect the homeland." Cameron then goes on to explain how George Bush increased the defense budget. The report then shows a poll map of states the candidates will focus on, with it clearly showing that Bush already won the election (see image to the right). Cameron ends the report with Vice President Dick Cheney attacking Kerry. Cameron says "Cheney slams Kerry" and "Cheney focused on Kerry's various positions on the Patriot Act." The report then shows a video of Cheney saying that Kerry takes "both sides" of important issues. (June 3, 2004)
Method #5: Skewed Statistics. Fox News' anchor Brit Hume said in a report that "Two hundred seventy-seven U.S. soldiers have now died in Iraq, which means that statistically speaking U.S. soldiers have less of a chance of dying from all causes in Iraq than citizens have of being murdered in California, which is roughly the same geographical size. The most recent statistics indicate California has more than 2300 homicides each year, which means about 6.6 murders each day. Meanwhile, U.S. troops have been in Iraq for 160 days, which means they're incurring about 1.7 deaths, including illness and accidents each day." Not only is this report silly and illogical, but does not take into account the populations of California versus U.S. soldiers in Iraq. On a per capita basis, these statistics make no sense. (August 27, 2003)
Method #6: Unflattering Images. When choosing pictures and video, Fox News chooses ones to serve its needs. For example, to the right are images the network used to identify political differences between John Kerry and George Bush. Clearly, the network choose a pretty bad picture of Kerry. Video clips also show lowlights of Democrats and highlights of Republicans.

Fox News as an Industry Joke

"We paid $3 billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what we tell you it is!"-- alleged comment by David Boylan, station manager for Fox Tampa Bay (WTVT Ch 13) to two reporters who are currently suing the network for firing them and censoring a story about the use of bovine growth hormone in Florida cows"
Good ole' Fox news. There are plenty of articles and documentaries done about them. They're biased. They're profit-hungry. And they're telling you what the news is. Pretty scary huh?
According to an article written by Ron Kaufman, "Relying on the Fox News Channel as your only source of news is like using MAD Magazine as a legitimate source of news. The Fox News Channel's reporting style is so biased and skewed that trying to obtain any real information from a news report is quite challenging. Fox News is a joke because it provides info-tainment rather than reality-based news coverage. Fox News Channel is a "news channel" in name only."
Most news stations are sensationalists that do have a motive to get profit. Yet, I agree that Fox news takes it too far. Fox doesn't tell the news, they comment on it. Their reporters are so biased and overwhelming that other opinions don't stand a chance. Fox news has gotten a steady increase in viewers, although, I credit that to the fact that they are entertainment news rather than truth telling, hard news.
So why is Fox news so popular? According to Ron, "Basically, it's entertaining. The Fox News Channel is colorful, positive and engaging with good-looking anchors and an up-beat style. The network uses flashy graphics and triumphant music to punctuate its programs. " And I have to agree. Watch Fox news anytime this week and you'll see the same thing. Flashy graphics of the American Flag and energetic anchors.
And then there's Murdoch, head of News Corp. He's created a worldwide empire. But Murdoch understands that controlling much of media is centered upon money and power. If you have the viewers, then you the ability to show whatever you want. So are people being manipulated to watch what they think is news? Are people being informed so that they candebate and make decisions? It all goes back to the idea that America is a democratic nation and is so becuase people are able to think for themselves.
Los Angeles Times Editor John S. Carroll says that "Fox News is that it is situated somewhere between journalism and propaganda -- but leans closer to straight ahead attack politics. The perversion of the Fox News Channel is that it is nothing more than a pulpit for the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party. The Fox News Channel presents sprinkles of news punctuated with interviews and commentary which promotes its own viewpoint."
"The problem with the Fox News Channel is NOT that it supports the Republican Party or conservative views. The problem is that Fox News distorts the news to serve its purpose so much, that fact and reality are lost in a sea of half-truths and innuendo."
-Ron Kaufman-

Professional Vs Personal

We all know that the media's first loyalty is to its citizens. The media should always tell the truth in order to inform Americans about important and substansive issues. But sometimes professional values conflict with personal values. What happens then?
I'll take the case of the Westboro Baptist Church picketing as an example. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Westboro Baptist Church is an independent, controversial church that is not affiliated with any known Baptist associations and is led by a man named Fred Phelps. Listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Westboro Baptist Church is known for preaching the condemnation of gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual people as well as Jews, Muslims, and Roman Catholics The organization is well-known for picketing gay funerals and gay pride events—along with funerals of soldiers who have fallen in Iraq, victims of the VT shootings and victims of 9/11.Though the Westboro Baptist Church is able to protest, picket, and say such hateful things because of their freedom of speech, they also receive attention from major media organizations. An ethical question is whether the news media should cover the story of the Westboro Baptist Church...
I won't go into the whole potter box to figure out a loyalty, but I do want to talk about the personal and professional values involved. First, the professional. Truth telling. The media is responsible for covering local and nation stories, and withholding or concealing information about an even from the public is untruthful. Another professional value consists of generating profit through sales. Whether it be through the number of copies of a newspaper sold, or the ratings of a news broadcast on television, the media has a responsibility to make a profit, and covering the radical behavoir of the Westboro Baptist Church provides the media with a newsworthy and interesting subject. The media also has a duty to itself to maintain its journalistic credibility and independence.
Now, the personal. The media has a responsibility to respect the public. Many of the signs and slogans that the Westboro Baptist Church may be inappropriate for certain audiences, and once they are broadcasted by the news media or printed in a newspaper, there is no guarantee that inappropriate messages will not reach the wrong audience. There is also a need to find a balance between the public's need to know and having respect for an individual's right to privacy.
How important is revealing the information to the public? Does the public need to know or just want to know? And perhaps most importantly, how much damage will be done by revealing the information?
I know some of you might not be familier with the potter box of reasoning or the principles of Aristotle, Mills, Kant and Rawl, but after reading about the different values you should be able to see where the conflict lies?
So where do your loyalties lie?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh Boy....

Oh Conan....oh John Stewart....oh Stephen Colbert. I love them...I think a lot of people do. They're hilarious. They're intelligent. And they're giving us the news. Right?
It's amazing to me how many people get their news through comedy shows like these....can't complain though....I'm one of them. But at the same time, I also read magazines and newspapers to get my news. But how scary would it be to think that some people depend on these comedians to get their news?
It's also kind of scary to think how influential they are to their watchers. I mean, I think that it's good that they talk about important issues and are able to get people involved with things such as presidential elections (Stephen Colbert especially ha). But just watch Colbert publicize his presidential campaign through his own show. It's hilarious yes, but it's also kind of dumbing down our nation if you ask me. He makes fun of his presidential campaign. I honestly think that I would think so much less about our nation if Colbert was to become president. He's a funny guy, no doubt, but come on people....
Some people even use these comedians to voice their opinions about certain political situations or candidates. Not sure if you watch Conan, but some people are fully aware of the situation with Alec Baldwin jumping up on his chair. Not saying that using the media isn't smart of these celebrities, but I think it could get dangerous. Some people are just very influential...especially when it comes to guys like Conan and Stewart who are liked so much.
So if anyone watches any of these guys on a regular basis I would love to hear how influential they are to you.

Guest Speaker

Earlier in the semester, we had a speaker during our Newspaper Production class named Chris Graham. He’s currently a print journalist attempting to make the transition from print towards new media.
His journalism career started in 1995 and his workplace only had one internet terminal; he had no idea how to use the internet. He didn’t even study journalism in college, yet began his career in print journalism.
According to Chris, "Youre gonna need that skillset of knowing how to do audio and its going to change the way you look at journalism..."
"Whether you want to or not you might all be in broadcast sometime soon..."

Chris also said that "in the next 10 or 20 years, I don’t know maybe 5, you're gonna start seeing every newspaper on the web..."

Although personally, I think it will be sooner.

You can check out his websites here:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Internet Addiction I found a website for the Center for Online Addiction. They had an internet addiction test. They definitely had a separate site for Internet addiction recovery. And I couldn't help but laugh. I felt bad, but it just seemed like a joke. Until I took the test....
My score wasn't bad. I was an average online user. But reading some of those questions was kind of scary. Some were really crazy and I did laugh about it, but then i had to answer frequently for a couple.
It just seems insane to me that the internet really hasn't been around for that long and people already have horrible addictions.
You can find the test here

After you've answered all the questions, add the numbers you selected for each response to obtain a final score. The higher your score, the greater your level of addiction and the problems your Internet usage causes. Here's a general scale to help measure your score:

20 - 49 points: You are an average on-line user. You may surf the Web a bit too long at times, but you have control over your usage.

50 -79 points: You are experiencing occasional or frequent problems because of the Internet. You should consider their full impact on your life.

80 - 100 points: Your Internet usage is causing significant problems in your life. You should evaluate the impact of the Internet on your life and address the problems directly caused by your Internet usage.

After you have identified the category that fits your total score, look back at those questions for which your scored a 4 or 5. Did you realize this was a significant problem for you? For example, if you answered 4 (often) to Question #2 regarding your neglect of household chores, were you aware of just how often your dirty laundry piles up or how empty the refrigerator gets?

Say you answered 5 (always) to Question #14 about lost sleep due to late-night log-ins. Have you ever stopped to think about how hard it has become to drag yourself out of bed every morning? Do you feel exhausted at work? Has this pattern begun to take its toll on your body and your overall health?

For immediate help, visit our counseling services which provides affordable and confidential counseling.

yea. they have counseling services.....

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Put your MySpace to good use...

I'm personally not a fan of MySpace. I think it's a cool application to have when you're 15...or if you're a child molester. But I actually found a good use for MySpace. Presidential elections are coming up and now is the vital time to catch up on the important issues of candidates.
Well, MySpace and MTV have joined together to finally produce something worth taking a look at. You can find it here
MySpace and MTV have created a Presidential Dialogue. Together they have created a way that lets you, the citizens, ask questions directly to top presidential candidates and respond to their answers in real-time. On September 27th, John Edwards voiced some of his main concerns and issues and more recently, the Presidential Dialogue featured Barack Obama on October 29th. Future participants include Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul and many others. Each participant has a bio and a MySpace page that can be found through the webpage.
It's about time that MySpace and MTV do something useful and interesting.
But then again....who is this benefiting?
Of course it's obvious that the public is benefiting because they are getting informed of important issues and being able to be part of the debate. But who else benefits?
Presidential candidates would be smart to use this feature. What an easy way to get your name out to over a million people. Granted, not everyone will see the page and many MySpace users are not able to vote, but the extra publicity cant hurt. And maybe I'm completely wrong, but I've found that a lot of people who vote are not fully aware of what a candidate offers. They hear a name, like them, and vote for them. I'm sure there are plenty of easily manipulated people who will come across the webpage.
Another important thing to consider is who the audience is and who the sponsors are....MTV, MySpace.....young adults. How do you think MTV could manipulate the dialogues and which candidates do you think will be given the most publicity? I personally think it's an easy question, but it would be interesting to see what other people are thinking....