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Polarization of issues...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I thought about adding this to one of the threads already going about the Iraqi issues, couldn't decide where it would be most pertinent. But, given its more general nature, perhaps a new thread is best...

post #2 of 5
Interesting editorial. He makes some good points, especially pertaining to the how the terrorists of the world are able to manipulate the media so effectively (note that every single utterance from Bin Laden, whether real or not, is played over and over...not just on Al Jazeera, but on our news stations as well).

As someone who at one point wanted to be a journalist, I am so often disgusted by what we consider "news" today. Editorials are considered straight news, and straight news are far too often editorials. I haven't seen a "Fair and Balanced" news report in years. From any station - local or national. They all have their political agenda, and right now that (nationally) is to oust Bush and oppose the war in Iraq - with the exeption of Fox News which goes so far the other way it isn't credible either.

This is the time of pure propoganda, being presented as news. The difference is that it isn't the government controlling the propoganda - it is the media outlets themselves.
post #3 of 5
Heidi, it couldn't have been said any better.
Well said.
The "News" no longer reports news events
They create news events and slant them one way or another.

I read the link.
Part of it ticked me off.
Part of it was close.
Part of it was pure fiction.

But then again I was there.
What the hell do I know?

post #4 of 5
There was an excellent editorial on this subject in yesterday's International Herald Tribune, comparing, e.g., al Jazeera and Fox News. Unfortunately, when I went back to copy and paste, I found that it had already been deleted (it's after 1 a.m. here), and Google doesn't register any hits. I'm an absolute "news junkie", and literally have about 30 news sites bookmarked, and watch 3 or 4 newscasts every evening. Definitely sick - my father was always tuned into 24-hour radio news, subscribed to two newspapers, and often bought a third, and once CNN was created, had the TV on all the time - either it's his fault, or a hereditary illness. I have to agree - every news source seems to put its personal slant on what it's reporting, whether we're talking CNN, the NY Times, Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, BBC, the Independent, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, "Faux News", etc., etc., etc.. One thing I love about this forum is that the participants offer links to their local newspapers, favorite sources of info, etc., so that you can keep up on "stories".
post #5 of 5
Reading the news
If one wants to have a balanced report, it is best to read news from several sources. You have to learn how to 'read' the news and go for the facts itself rather than the opinion. Here are some stuff that I look out for.

1) Same news, just merely worded differently: Some of it is very subtle. For example placing the headline as a negative '....won't stop' compated to '...allows ... to carry on.' The negative formation plays to audiences seeking to stop that particular act.

2) Same news, but with negative/positive words: For example "... stubbornly refuses to stop changes..." Vs "... determined to carry out reforms"

3) Missing / Under-reported news: This simply could mean an important news is not reported or that only a few lines is devoted to it.

4) Half truth: No 'lies' but that merely some piece of information is not reported thus changing the entire focus/direction of the news. Unfortunately, I see this occuring most often in Fox. Personally I feel that the most 'balanced' is the BBC. Most sensationalist is the CNN.

5) Opinion: The people chosen to be interviewed about the subject can really slant the discussion.

Shoot the messenger
Quite apart from the potentially biased news, is the 'shoot the messenger' syndrome. When the news gets bad, or rather bad politically, instead of focusing on the issue, the people in trouble will turn to shoot the messenger (press) claiming that they have a certain motive. And that release of the news is causing harm. And then at this point 'buzzwords' will start being thrown in such as the news playing into the hands of the 'otherside' or being 'unpatriotic.'

Whether or not the news organisation have a motive, one should not allow oneself to think, all this trouble is caused by the news and that in reality nothing is wrong. The key is to focus on the news itself and ask yourself whether do you think this is an important piece of news or that it is merely something hyped up. It is at this point you should block out opinions and editorials especially by those that are involved in the bad news itself.

Remember what George Orwell once said, "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

This shoot the messenger syndrome happens on all side. With the exception of Fox which every seems to be able to agree which position it is taking, you have people complaining that the rest of the media is either 1) Out to get Bush or 2) Is being controlled by Bush and other right wing agenda. Which is why valanhb, I do not really put that much strength into the argument that the rest of the media as a whole have a particular agenda. How can one news organisation be for and against Bush at the same time? One possibility is when the news presents opinion from both sides of the spectrum.

However, there are times when the news program really have an agenda. One particular news program I find to is CNN's Lou Dobbs program and his 'Exporting America' piece which I really find very objectionable, more so than even some of the more extreme Fox news.

News as a business
Unless the government funds the news without any strings attached, there is a tendency for the news to cater to their audience. For many people, they watch the news that they 'like' meaning, news that suits their view points and opinion. So to capture the market the news would have to provide viewpoints for these people. That is one reason why Fox is to the right, because its target audience are people from the right.

Ultimately, try to pick several sources, a source from the right another from the left and another preferably from a foreign news sources to get an internationall perspective.
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