Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The role of Political Bias in American media has grown larger and larger in the past decades with the introduction of the cable news networks. The three major networks of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News make up what is now a spectrum of advocacy Journalism.
There has been a long debate through out the years about how the news media in this country leans. Largely it has been called a “Liberal Machine”, this dating back to coverage of the Vietnam War during the Nixon administration. During the time lots of Journalists, including renowned broadcaster Walter Cronkite, began to way their opinions against what seemed like a largely un-winnable War. However that was a time when you only had small amount of nightly newscasts from the three major networks of the time. Yet when we now move into an era of twenty-four hour news networks, the lines begin to blur.
Advocacy Journalism is the type of reporting and story telling that begins with a pre-set amount of believes, usually political, by the Journalist or commentator. This type of Journalism has always had a place in the media, however from its roots it remained mostly in newspapers, and it was there mostly to satisfy the publisher. However in the past few years we have seen the emergence of the ultra-partisan commentators. These select few inhabit the primetime spots of there respective stations, whether it be Glenn Beck on Fox News, or Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. These new ultra partisans have begun blurring the lines between news and commentary, even to the point where stations have gone out of their way to try to distinguish this line. Yet this act seems futile with all the notoriety going to these commentators, and the movements that they can start. With zero liability to whether or not what they say is true, because they are safe guarded by the “Opinion Aspect” of their shows.
The Invention of the twenty-four hour news channel by Turner Broadcasting that spawned CNN, gave way to an lofty idea. An Idea that you can find away to take all the days events and spread them throughout a day, all the while keeping your viewers involved. However what this does ultimately is create a need for revenue, because the founding principle of any broadcast station is to collect advertising dollars to cover costs and turn a profit. However when your repeating the same news over and over throughout the day, you wont be able to retain your view audience for more then a few hours. This is where the second invention of the twenty-four hour news channel came in, the “opinion shows”. Before these types of shows were held to talk radio through out the land, with guys like Rush Limbaugh, gearing partisan debate. Now they are on primetime and the at least two of the Networks have picked sides, with MSNBC on the Left, and Fox News on the right. CNN falls somewhere in the middle with a current campaign to remove most of its Advocate Journalists from it’s programming. According to Nielson Media ratings Fox News top three cable shows, O’Reilly, Beck, and Hannity combine for nearly nine million voters.
The after effects of this kind of journalism is that the facts are spun in any which direction these commentators feel best suites their arguments. This leaves the viewer possibly comforted because the arguments being made align with their political ideas, but this type of coverage devoid them of get the true facts as they are intended to be delivered via the true craft of Journalism. They interweave this miss-information with arguments against the opposing side, thus enabling the tensions to rise between the two sides. As a result you see this overly angry protests, crashing of town hall meetings, and sometimes even violent actions occurring. This comes with the smear tactics, and the derisive talk that originates in large from these shows, and the blogs that support them. This is where the larger problem comes into play, that with this growth in division it produces a government not able to provide the necessary legislation, because when debate and compromise is no longer encouraged that it becomes a game of defeating everything the other party is trying to accomplish. The problem is only growing, for as long as the ratings are high, they will continue this partisan arguments, and the viewers are taking it all in.
The politicians are playing right into it as well. They often go on these shows to answer questions, never once denouncing these programs for what they do. Because when they are no longer on the show, the hosts have the free will to tirade and scorn anyone that would go against him/her, or the show. However there seems to be a middle group, a possible silent majority, because these commentators and newscasters have been thrown into such a paradox, that in a recent Time Magazine poll Comedy Centrals John Stewart was voted most trusted newscaster in America. A man that runs a satire news show, is trusted more then any other of the major news networks, or public networks.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
With only eight days remaining in the semester caffeine becomes second only to oxygen, as the life blood of students hurrying to finish their final projects. Review sessions are popping up all over campus, and those who slept through that lecture all semester, feel their heart rate quicken as thoughts of that accumulative final hangs over their heads.
It is also at this time where individuals look at the events of the past year and how it shaped them as students. Whether it was surviving the daunting freshman year, getting admitted to their respective professional program and at the same time finishing those all important Pre-requirements. In this time, for some, is a countdown to an end of a college career as graduation invitations are placed in mailboxes.
“It’s been different,” Kara Reisdorph, a freshman business major, said. “I think overall the first year has been pretty challenging.”
Reisdorph grew up in Missoula and decided to stay to attend the University. She described these final weeks of the semester as difficult, and finding new ways of finding her way through the gauntlet of tests to which she is self described as having difficulty in normal test settings.
But for those who have braved the years of pre-professional, like Tim Kempff the future is now, with the entrance into the School of Education. Kempff is an Early Education major and is found his career solidified with his first step into a classroom. Where the children of the fourth grade class turned to him as teacher, and not a student, nervous he took a deep breath and begins his short lesson with them.
“Excited the first time I got into the classroom,” Kempff said. “[I] got excited for my future career all over again!”
However there are some students that rise above the call of academics, and answer the call of their country, and Junior Jennifer Bush knows this all too well. Bush on top of her classes at the University, is a National Guard Reservist in the 379th Engineering Battalion stationed at Fort Missoula.
“They help pay for school, but it gets overwhelming, and [I] worry about getting though school without getting deployed,” Bush said.
For most students the only focus is on getting through the next couple of days. Their remains many students, like Bush, who have to struggle everyday with the thought of being pulled out of class and sent to the frontlines.
For seniors the tension is constant, yet it’s not solely confined to thoughts of graduation, but what, if any, jobs will be available to them. In one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, seniors with any form of degree, know all too well that any job is worth taking.
Chris Williams, a senior photo-journalism major, was hard at work on his final video project, which will be the last of his college life. Williams sat at his computer desk, eyes glued to the computer screen examining every possible frame as his documentary comes together. His mammoth dog, whose distinctive odor filled the tiny apartment, lay at his feet. His desk was littered with tapes and digital disks.
“I’m really excited, learned a lot from the [Journalism] program,” Williams said. “I’m just looking to get out there and do my thing.”
Williams main focus in journalism has always been the outdoors, the wallpaper on his desktop and posted all over his apartment, are photos he has shot of the outdoors. This only excites him further about the internship with Backpack Magazine, in Boulder, CO, this summer.
“This internship is a dream come true for me, I only hope that I can do well enough there to make it a permanent position,” Williams said.No matter the circumstance every student faces many challenges every day, whether it’s as simple as getting out of bed, to sitting down to the biggest test of the semester. Yet with all the obstacles that come with college life, most are able to overcome and succeed. That above just getting a degree, most has a belief that at the end of all things that they are happy, and a hope of a better tomorrow.