If the Bush Administration had said that the President has the authority to authorize drone strikes against American citizens on US soil without due process, Democrats, the Media, and the Left (I repeat myself) would call it an abuse of power and be screaming for his head. However, since it’s the Obama Administration, Democrats, the Media, and the Left simply call it Tuesday.
Category Archives: Media – What Bias?
It’s common knowledge that prevalent media bias has led modern journalists to lack basic research skills. I’m fairly certain that it’s no longer part of any college journalism curriculum and it’s sad that, even in the digital age, Katie Glueck couldn’t even consult Google or Wikipedia.
What is the media’s responsibility with neutral, objective reporting? There seems to be an unwritten belief that media must be unbiased and objective. But where does this idea come from? Is it better to have a news outlet like Fox News which claims to be “fair and balanced” yet is center-right, or to have a news outlet like MSNBC which makes neither claim to neutrality nor bias, yet is center-left? It can be safely said that media bias is likely a reflection of consumer bias.
At some point in our cultural history, the idea of objective news reporting was created. Whether this idea was created as a way to further democracy in the Western world, or as a way to manufacture consent and control the masses (Herman & Chomsky, 1988), will probably be debated for centuries. Conventional wisdom in America is that Fox News has a center-right, or conservative, bias and that its “Fair and Balanced” tag line is more of a marketing tool than an ethical guideline. This same wisdom claims that major media outlets such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and “the paper of record,” The New York Times have a center-left, or liberal, bias.
Yet, despite the claims of liberal media bias, research does not fall in line with popular belief.
“Whether the news media have a liberal bias has interested politicians, journalists, scholars, and the public. Many seem to believe that a political bias exists. According to a … survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (2002), 47% of those who answered a question on media bias believed news organizations in general are politically biased in their reporting. In comparison, 35% of respondents disagreed” (Lee, 2005, p. 43).
Whether news media contains more liberal or conservative bias is indiscernible and a topic of debate among scholars (Lee, 2005).
What does this all mean? Meaning is in the ear of the beholder, literally. “…[P]eople‘s perceptions of trust in media and bias in news are related to their political predispositions” (Vraga, Tulley, & Rojas, 2009, p. 71). Thus, there is not a whole lot that journalists can do to reduce perceived bias by consumers. However, this does not mean that perceived media bias has to remain forever. Media literacy education may be the answer.
Media literacy education is designed to help consumers understand how media is constructed and consumed. It does this by teaching people “how to decode contextual media messages in film, music, television, corporate advertising and communications technology to understand better the range of influence and impact the media have on their lives” (Vraga, Tulley, & Rojas, 2009, p. 71). Does media literacy education really work?
“[The] findings lend partial support to the idea that news media literacy can affect perceptions of the media. While exposure to a news media literacy presentation decreased perceptions of bias in the subsequent news story, it did not appear to increase trust…. The analysis of the very liberal and conservative clarifies these results: these groups reported different levels of bias and trust based on their political predispositions. When dealing with the media and political issues, political ideology plays a central role in how individuals respond to a media message, as well as to a presentation about the media” (Vraga, Tulley, & Rojas, 2009, p. 77).
Clearly, the claim of objectivity, or lack thereof, matters little to news media consumers. Does news media have to be neutral and objective? I think not. What is important, however, is that consumers are knowledgeable regarding what they are consuming and how to best interpret and understand it.
Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing Consent. New York: Pantheon Books.
Lee, T.-T. (2005). The Liberal Media Myth Revisited: An Examination of Factors Influencing Perceptions of Media Bias. Journal of Boradcasting and Electronic Media , 43-64.
Vraga, E. K., Tulley, M., & Rojas, H. (2009). Media Literacy Training Reduces Perception of Bias. Newspaper Research Journal , 68-81.
Don’t worry about Iran’s nuclear program, but if you meet a tea-party supporter waving some placard about the national debt, try not to catch his eye and back away slowly without making any sudden movements, lest he put down his placard and light up his suicide belt.
As a follow up to what I posted about hate speech from the Left, Uncle gives us a detailed look at the creation of the narrative.
Looking for something to write about, I found this article on Fox News: Black Tea Party Activists Called ‘Traitors’. What I find interesting is the liberals are constantly accusing conservatives of hate speech and in fact want to further restrict the 1st Amendment via the fairness doctrine and other “hate speech” laws.
And yes, hippies, I know what you’re thinking – “But Fox News leans right so the story is biased!!!” In defense CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC all lean left and all claim that the Tea Party movement was created by and is only inclusive of racist, cousin-humping rednecks.
While thinking about President Obama’s 2008 campaign promises and what he’s failed to do over the last year, and then thinking about all of this talk on “health care reform,” it sparked a memory from my Communication Theory class at the University of Utah. Ernest Bormann’s Symbolic Convergence Theory, which focuses on what Bormann calls Fantasy Theme Analysis, can be used to see right through President Obama’s health care reform message and every other piece of ideologically driven policy that he has presented. Em Griffin, a noted Comm Scholar, while discussing this theory in his book says:
Sharing common fantasies transforms a collection of individuals into a cohesive group. Symbolic convergence occurs when group members spontaneously create fantasy chains that display an energized, unified response to common themes. A fantasy theme analysis across groups can reveal a rhetorical vision that contains motives to enact the joint fantasy. (Rhetorical and socio-psychological traditions)
To explain why this theory is legit, Griffin continues:
Bormann’s theory has roots in both the scientific and rhetorical traditions.
Bormann maintains that the sharing of group fantasies creates symbolic convergence.
During symbolic convergence, fantasy chain reactions build community or group consciousness and transform a collection of individuals into a group.
Fantasy themes voiced across many groups create a shared social reality, labeled a rhetorical vision.
Okay, so let’s take this one step at a time. A small thought of “Hope and Change,” with a catalyst of “Yes We Can” was all that was needed to propel Barry O into the White House. The fantasy of Hope and Change transformed a collection of voters into a cohesive group of supporters. Got that? When an energized, unified response (Yes We Can) to a common theme (Hope and Change) was created, a symbolic convergence happened for all Obama supporters – they could be the means of bringing change to the country and the agent for change was Barry Sotoro Barack Obama.
Another useful tool is looking at how President Obama frames his issues. When framing as issue there are three levels:
Level 1: expression of overarching values, i.e. fairness, responsibility, equity, equality
Level 2: general issue being addressed
Level 3: details re. policy, tactics
Level 1 is the most important because it is the most difficult to change! During the 2008 campaign, the level 1 expression was “Hope and Change.” Once this fantasy theme started to snowball, “[various groups] spontaneously create[d] fantasy chains that display[ed] an energized, unified response to [a] common theme,” Hope and Change. Now, Obama is trying to do the same thing with health care reform but he doesn’t have a catchy phrase so he needs to use overarching values – “everyone will be covered;” “costs will be held down;” “we will control the eeeeeevil insurance companies;” etc.
When you can see through the rhetoric and understand how he uses it, his message falls apart and doesn’t hold any water. The problem is that many in congress are actually giving in to this empty suit, while a majority of the average American citizenry, has gotten wise to the man behind the curtain.
To learn what President Obama’s Safe School Czar wants to teach your children, click here. Warning, it WILL make you sick to your stomach but you should know what The One could be putting in the hands of your children. By the way, you’re not getting any of this from the MSM.
So, because the West Point graduates don’t cream their shorts over the president the way that Chris Matthews does, then West Point is an “enemy camp“?