TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Spinning News
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Spinning News

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
There have been a lot of comments lately about how the media spins every bit of news one way or another - to the left or to right depending on who you watch. Kaleetha mentioned that she is in the profession in another thread, and this has come up in many, many threads as a passing comment. So I figure it should be a topic in and of itself.

Here's my take: Perhaps a better way to say it is that the *national* news organizations and big city newspapers spin everything. We know that the majority of the network news is spun to the left. CNN, MSNBC, are also lefties overall. Fox is spun to the right. Fox isn't spun any more or less than CNN spins their coverage, it's just in a different direction.

I also want to point out that media spin and bias can be as much in what is or is not reported as in how it is reported. It's a really fine line sometimes, and I think that line is much more apparent at this point in time in the US than at any other time. I think part of that is due to the divisiveness in the political landscape, and the other part is because of "independent media" (i.e. radio shows with blatent bias and blogs which make a point of showing that bias), and honestly because of Fox News. Because Fox has a different spin, it makes the opposite spin pretty obvious (to me, at least).
post #2 of 17
Great post and thread.

Have to admit, now talk radio spins more to the right.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv
Great post and thread.

Have to admit, now talk radio spins more to the right.
Part of the reason for that is Air America. They tried to consolidate the real liberal talk shows into one radio station. Unfortunately for them, it is failing miserably as far as bringing in revenue. It's hardley viable in most markets, if it hasn't been canned already. And really - who can blame the advertisers? Why would you want to advertise on shows that are very anti-corporation?
post #4 of 17
what do you mean when you say they spin right or left? is this meaning politically?
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by huggles
what do you mean when you say they spin right or left? is this meaning politically?
Yes. Liberal (Democrat) = Left, Conservative (Republican) = Right
post #6 of 17
Heidi - I have never understood the left and right thing. How is that determined? Where did that come from? LOL. Maybe its an american thing? I wouldnt have a clue.

As for the media, i try and not pay attention to it, I just want cold hard facts.
post #7 of 17
I dont think any real news is getting out since all news outlets( mainstream ) are owned by three companies...
post #8 of 17
if you want to read an excellent book on the topic I recommend "Bias" by Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS insider. It will open your eyes, not only to media bias, but the fact that many news outlets are actually cherry picking facts from stories, and thus censoring/filtering the news before it gets to the public. It is scary and eye opening at the same time.
post #9 of 17
I have never noticed that Network news spins the news to the left. I think they give equal and unbiased news coverage to both sides, except for the people at Fox news who are well known to be biased to the Right.
post #10 of 17
Some of you may remember this research. The link is (it's a PDF document) http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Ir..._Oct03_rpt.pdf. The results are interesting. Of course, all polls should be taken with a grain of salt because it is very difficult to phrase questions to eliminate misunderstandings and to make sure your sample size is large enough, but even so, the results can be thought provoking. In this case it was shown that those who got their news primarily from Fox were most likely to believe false things about the war in Iraq (to simplify it) and those who got their news primarily from NPR were least likely to.

Seems to me that the next question an either/or. 1. Do those results exist because NPR does a better job of unbiased reporting and Fox gives biased reporting? Or 2. Since Fox is biased to the right it omits or spins away the negative info about the administration, etc and since NPR is biased to the left in this case they don't spin it out because the truth is enough to satisfy their bias. In other words, if it were a "liberal" in office, would we see an opposite trend, with Fox more likely to expose everything about the administration, and NPR more likely to cherrypick and spin? A good question.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
That study is more about how viewers percieve the "truth", and while Fox viewers may have had more misconceptions, the majority of viewers of other media outlets showed the same misconceptions. Don't "spin" that study to make Fox any more biased than it is. Here's the full chart of the 3 misconceptions they asked about (2003 study, if there was a direct link between Iraq & Al Qaeda, WMDs actually found, and if world opinion supported the war in Iraq):

Fox: 80%
CBS: 71%
ABC: 61%
NBC: 55%
CNN: 51%
Print Media: 47%
PBS/NPR: 23%

What that study shows me is not that Fox is so outright biased as compared to the others, but that either a) people aren't really paying attention to the news regardless of who they watch, with the exception of those who watch or listen to PBS/NPR (as I know that CBS, who we were watching at the time, took every opportunity to say that WMDs were not found, that the world hates the US or at least this policy, and that there were no direct links) or b) none of the news outlets did a good job of reporting that information.

Taking the viewers out of the equation is important when looking at bias. Viewers are unreliable, as every viewer brings their own perceptions and opinions into it. Surveys like the one above did not, as far as I can tell, quantify how much the respondents actively watched the news, how often they watched the news, or what their level of education is. All of that plays into how they will perceive the "truth".

A more recent report, from December 2005 from UCLA, shows that the media bias is real.

http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/page.asp?RelNum=6664

Quote:
While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
That study is more about how viewers percieve the "truth", and while Fox viewers may have had more misconceptions, the majority of viewers of other media outlets showed the same misconceptions. Don't "spin" that study to make Fox any more biased than it is. Here's the full chart of the 3 misconceptions they asked about (2003 study, if there was a direct link between Iraq & Al Qaeda, WMDs actually found, and if world opinion supported the war in Iraq):

Fox: 80%
CBS: 71%
ABC: 61%
NBC: 55%
CNN: 51%
Print Media: 47%
PBS/NPR: 23%
I didn't spin the study. I took the two opposite ends and compared them, which is perfectly legitimate. Of those looked at, Fox viewers ranked worst and NPR listeners/PBS viewers ranked best, consistently. What am I spinning? Are you implying that I deliberately omitted information in order to give a false impression? If that had been my intent, I wouldn't have posted the link to the source material at all.

I realize that study is limited in certain ways, as all polls are; I even tried to put a caution at the beginning of my previous post. It is perfectly true: human responses can be unreliable. However, given that there was a definite trend there, it is worth discussion. Certainly, your conclusion is one possibility. That there is actual bias creating (or contributing to) this result is another. Misinformation can be spread in subtle ways, perhaps even unintentionally. For instance I know Fox did this, and I think I saw it on CBS as well, where they would talk about Al Qaeda and the fight against terrorism with a banner across the screen saying "The War on Saddam" or some such. Is it surprising that many people ended up connecting the two in their minds despite there being no evidence of such a connection? Especially if you are like many TV watchers and pay more attention to visuals than to the details of what is being discussed.
post #13 of 17
What the second study tells me is that they ranked media bias based on their sources. That's hardly fair.

I guess I'd also like to make a correction: I'm a trained journalist graduating this May. I've worked at two papers in a variety of situations. So I'm not what you'd call experienced in major media. Given that, I've decided my true love is graphic design and I'll be moving into that this summer.

I think there's a distinction between print media and broadcast media. Honestly, I can see where bias is easier to find in broadcast because they are limited by what they have video for. A newspaper has more time to find different sources.

I'm sticking to my guns that the AIM of media is not to spin news. Several posts have mentioned an "agenda." I'm at a loss for what that agenda would be or how it would be accomplished. Every major media source is at odds with one another... they aren't cooperating. The goal of every news source is to have the story BEFORE the competition and (basically) one-up them. It's kind of nasty, really, which is why I don't take to it very well.

I wish everyone could come to some of my journalism classes. I wish you could see how hammered on we are to make sure that we present stories fairly and accurately. I had an entire class just on the ethics of reporting. It's not as simple as don't identify a person's race if it has no bearing on the story, it gets into how you associate with people before, during and after to story, if you should accept gifts, how far you should go to get a story...

Back to the agenda... if the "agenda" is to oust Bush or make trouble for lawmakers.... that's what we do. We have a saying that we are hard on lawmakers no matter who they are or what they do because we are the ones that call them to task, making the general public aware of their activities. News sources were just as hard on Clinton as they are on Bush and as they will be to his successor.

I think I'll stop for now.....
post #14 of 17
I may be ignorant or naive - but I think it's all about ratings and getting advertisers. Sensationalism sells!
post #15 of 17
Bingo!
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
I also think there is a huge difference between print media and broadcast media.

First, what Linda and Fran said - it's much more advertising oriented and more competitve for that advertising. For instance, in the Denver area there are 2 newspapers which are now owned by the same company. Not really much competition since the $$ ends up in the same hands. (Also, it is widely known in this community that the Post is more liberal, and the News is more conservative, particularly on their Editorial pages and columnists that appear in each.) However, there are 5 local English channels and 2 Spanish channels competing for much the same audience and the same advertising dollars. At least the 5 and 2 are competing with each other. National news broadcasts are the big three networks competing with CNN, Fox, MSNBC, et al that broadcast 24-7.

In print, it is there forever. If they mess up, there is no refuting the intension. Granted, with how easily everything is recording it is pretty much forever in broadcast media as well. But it seems that print media are more scrupulous about their sources, finding multiple sources to corroborate, and verifying the veracity of the source. I guess that goes back to the amount of competition in the broadcast media to be the first to report it.

Also, in print there is a specific section to put opinions, the Editorials, and beyond that are columns which are also an avenue of expressing opinion. In broadcast news, particularly the networks, they don't have that opportunity. I think that is perhaps one reason why the position of the staff is more likely to seep into broadcast news more often than the print media. Perhaps it isn't intentional, but sometimes I do think it is. The whole CBS debacle with the forged documents is a case in point of that. They liked the story, wanted the story, wanted to paint Bush with that brush stroke. That the sources behind the story were bad didn't make a lot of difference until they were called on it. Even if they didn't know how bad the sources were, it shows a lack of checking their sources.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb

Also, in print there is a specific section to put opinions, the Editorials, and beyond that are columns which are also an avenue of expressing opinion. In broadcast news, particularly the networks, they don't have that opportunity. I think that is perhaps one reason why the position of the staff is more likely to seep into broadcast news more often than the print media. Perhaps it isn't intentional, but sometimes I do think it is.
I'd agree with you there. Not being a broadcast person myself, I'm not sure how much leeway they get with stories, but I'm sure that with the Dan Rather case, they had the story and wanted to get it out there fast enough that no one else could beat them too it. Consequently, they didn't check their facts enough.

As for liking it... any journalist would like it. It's a good story!! Too bad it turned out not to be true... but any newspaper or network would have run it... although perhaps they would have done more background.

If anyone is really interested in learning about current stories and the mistakes reporters make (for the media watchers among us) I'd reccommend Romenesko's column from the journalism "think tank" Poynter Institute.

http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45

He raises some very interesting issues on there.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Spinning News