Archive for the ‘media manipulation’ Tag

Hated by Merkel, Soros, and Obama   2 comments

Brad and I have been wondering about Hungary because BBC News and DW keep mentioning them, so I finally went in search of something about them. Generally whenever state-owned media call another country “fascist”, I’m skeptical and I found out why. I don’t know enough to say that I believe this article 100%, but my daughter and I both experienced Germany’s idea of “freedom” and came away from the experience appreciating America more, though also more sensitive to the tyranny that seems to be growing here as well.

Source: Hated by Merkel, Soros, and Obama

Trump Media   1 comment

This is 4th in a series.

So has Fox essentially endorsed Trump as my friend claims? Umm, no, but kind of yes.

Fox News commentators clearly do not like Donald Trump, but … given his accusation of bias in their coverage of him, they appear to have gone overboard to counter the claim. A quick read of the online front page shows a lot of Trump-centric reporting. Within those articles you find hints that the reporters are puzzled by Trump’s ascendancy, but I found very little evidence that they think a Trump presidency is a good idea.

Just to reiterate – Trump is not a conservative on pretty much any issue. I will not be voting for him. If he were the only candidate of any party on the ballot, I would write someone in.

But he is newsworthy, especially now that he is winning primaries. I do think that some of the reason he’s winning those primaries is the media coverage of him. There’s a lot to be said for name-recognition. He’s the primary (not meant as a pun) reason that I plan to vote in the Alaska Presidential Preference Poll next week. I have to change my party affiliation to do it. I’ll be a Republican for two hours like I was back in 2012. I plan to vote against him, if for no other reason than to help show that Alaska isn’t as insane as New Hampshire. I will be so disappointed with my fellow Alaskans if I am proven wrong.

In analyzing the news coverage from CNN, Fox and PBS, I have to say I see a lot of media manipulation from CNN and PBS. They don’t like Trump, but they sure want to make it seem that Trump is acceptable to the broad spectrum of conservatives (not necessarily Republicans) in this country. He is not. When we talk among ourselves, we keep asking the same question — “What the hell is wrong with the voters of … (name that GOP primary state)?” CONSERVATIVES are not the ones voting for Trump. So why does he keep winning GOP primaries?

Firs, the GOP has not the American conservative party. It represents business interests which are, by and large, moderate progressives. They want money from the government to help them advance their commercial interests. The struggle in the GOP right now is that the business interests thought that they could woe political, fiscal and social conservatives into the party and that we would vote without thinking, but the Internet has made us all more informed these days and those political, fiscal and social conservatives are becoming very dissatisfied with the GOP. Many actual conservatives stayed home for the 2012 election because they didn’t want to vote from Romney and they couldn’t vote for Obama. For whatever reason, they have not elected to vote 3rd party … yet. I think that time is coming.

So, others are voting for Trump, mostly in a wave of populism by voters who don’t ordinarily vote in GOP primaries. These are the people who might be considered moderate, who have little interest in actual politics, but they saw their health insurance costs increase by 25-40% with Obamacare and they see their college-graduate offspring unable to find jobs commensurate with their education and they are angry and want change. They see Trump as a change agent — regardless of whether they would actually want the change he would bring about. They aren’t sophisticated voters who study the issues before they go to the polls. They are voting emotionally.

Moreover, at the risk of making a provocative statement that I might have to defend — it seems almost as if the coverage of the latest Trump moment acts as campaigning for him. Is it possible that the liberal press prefers Trump to be the GOP nominee because then the Democrats can pretty much nominate anyone they want and be assured of a win?

I don’t know. I don’t really care much anymore. I’m probably voting Libertarian in the general. I think if the GOP nominates Trump, the GOP won’t be around to nominate anyone in 2020. They’re the Whigs circa 1856, about to slide into the dustbin of history. But hey, don’t worry. I suspect the Democratic Party is not far behind them. Especially if they nominate Bernie Sanders, they don’t have a long time left. Whether the nation just decides it needs new political parties (or none, please!) or there simply isn’t a nation in the 2020s will be an interesting thing to observe … from a state that has natural resources that can be sold on the open market so that the federal government isn’t all that necessary for our survival. Remember, we’re $19.3 trillion in debt and President Obama wants Congress to pass a budget that would add more than $9 trillion to that debt over the next 10 years. The prediction that there might not be a nation to elect a president becomes more and more believable with every year that passes.

Fox News is Biased   1 comment

This is 3rd in a series.

“I am so disappointed that Fox has jumped into Trump’s pool,” a friend said. “I rely on them for a right-of-center balance to CNN and MSN and now …. What part of ‘Trump is anything but a conservative’ do they not understand?”

It should be noted that no media outlet today reports “straight” news. I don’t think broadcast ever did. My parents didn’t realize that Walter Cronkite was slanting their news for decades, but an analysis of his reports on Vietnam in comparison to the actual history of the Vietnam conflict shows that he was. If he did it just on that one subject, I have to conclude he did it on many other subjects.

http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/104635

When Fox News was created, the management team admitted that they were deliberately creating a news network to counterbalance the left-of-center bias of CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Before we had cable, I would watch network news while on the exercise machines at our health club. I’d been watching CNN for years and then I stumbled onto Fox one day and immediately saw the bias of its editorial segments. Being a former news reporter, however, I quickly analyzed their news coverage and determined that they weren’t manipulating the hard news, but they were definitely peddling conservative-adjacent opinion during those segments.

It made me much more aware that CNN was doing the same in its opinion pieces, only their editorial emphasis was decidedly left of center. I’ve already shown that I think CNN manipulates the news in recent years and I’ve shown why I believe that. Their opinion segments moved hard left during the during the first Obama term, but when they saw a huge drop off in viewership, they corrected to a more left-moderate position. You now hear occasional criticisms of Obama on CNN. I think they’re too few. If the CNN reporters were worth their salaries, they’d be paying more attention to things that the American public finds suspicious — Bengazi, Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice — these are just a few examples where CNN just basically ignores the news they don’t want to deal with.

But, so does Fox. It should be said that Fox shows its bias all the time — but it’s honest about that and I can respect it for holding to its position that it is a counterbalance to the other networks. I’d rather a biased, but honest news source than a biased, but dishonest news course. Fox’s coverage may seem extreme to a liberal, but that’s because liberals tend to refuse to listen to contrarian facts.

As I said, you can get balanced news — mostly, by watching more than one network. My next post will be on my friend’s statement.

 

CNN’s Liberal Bias   1 comment

This is 2nd in a series.

Back in 2008, X declared that he got a thrill up his leg whenever he heard Obama speak. X is a commentator and commentators are allowed to be biased — they’re dealing in opinion — but it sort of set the table for CNN’s “news” campaigning for Obama. Conservatives switched the channel in droves and Fox became the #1 news station in cable because of it.

But it’s eight years later, so certainly things have changed. I will admit that CNN has returned to more moderate reportage, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have a liberal bias.

 

I chose to look at just one issue – guns. CNN has an anti-gun bias, so I knew when it started the series that it would not be balanced.

http://www.kctv5.com/story/31294730/local-gun-ranges-offer-shooting-classes-specifically-for-kids

A balanced approach would have taken that paragraph that said police departments think it’s a good idea for kids to be trained in gun handling and placed it after the Brady Center statement that this makes kids too comfortable with guns so as not to seem to contradict the gun range or the police. It is not CNN’s job as a news agency to insert its reporters’ political bias into news stories.

Here’s another one. The pastor says he supports the 2nd amendment, but he’s also for “common sense” control  measures and he preaches to his congregation that God agrees with him. One man’s common sense is another man’s tyranny.

http://www.kctv5.com/story/31271818/god-and-guns-leawood-pastor-takes-on-two-dicey-issues

I’m assuming he’s found those verses in the Bible that support his position. For the record, I read my Bible a lot and I haven’t and neither has my pastor, who has a PhD in New Testament theology. Speaking of my pastor, who I think owns a gun or two, nowhere in the CNN article does it mention that the good pastor is violating the law. Assuming his church is a federally-recognized non-profit, he has agreed not to talk about political issues from the pulpit. That gate swings both ways. My pastor can’t speak out against the government from the pulpit and Pastor Hamilton should not be able to carry water for the current administration from the pulpit. Maybe CNN should do another series on how some churches try to dictate the politics of their congregations from the pulpit while others do not.

Here’s another one.

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/12/us/cnn-guns-project/gun-shop-owner.html

The article is entitled “The gun shop owner” and has a photo of one looking a bit skeptical, but the reporter apparently didn’t talk to any gun shop owners. The story is really about a suicide prevention group trying to obligate gun shop owners into playing social worker when they sell guns. Saying “they support gun rights” doesn’t mean anything. If this group supports the right to own a gun that is locked up in an armory where you can’t use it, then they don’t support actual gun rights. And, yeah, the program is targeted to gun shop owners, so interview a couple of them and show us what they think.

The entire series is online. What I noticed was that the positive gun stories were very short segments often “balanced” with much longer segments that were negative of guns and many were followed with commentary that tried to make the positive gun stories seem like a really bad idea.

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/12/us/cnn-guns-project/

If you’re a liberal who is afraid of guns, you’re not going to see anything wrong with CNN’s coverage of this issue. It’s just one issue. I could have targeted two dozen. If you’re a conservative who grew up around guns and carries concealed, you will very much see a problem with CNN’s coverage on this issue.

And that’s what I mean by liberal bias at CNN. Yes, there are conservative sites that are equally biased on the subject of guns. Their bias is pro-gun and many CNN viewers will insist they are inaccurate in their view of the facts. But here’s the thing — if you live around guns and are not afraid of them, you can judge for yourself what it true about a subject you have personal experience with.

Search Engines Manipulate Voters   2 comments

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/elections/using-search-engines-impacts-voter-decisions?utm_source=JR-email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JR-email&utm_source=Journalist%27s+Resource&utm_campaign=1213686eaf-2015_Sept_1_A_B_split3_24_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_12d86b1d6a-1213686eaf-79931141

I already knew this, which is why I often skip to the bottom of the first page or to subsequent pages, but when I told a friend that I did this, she insisted that my practice led to “nutjob, fact-less sites” and that I was better off sticking with the “best” sites at the top of the page.

This friend is a social worker and very liberal-progressive. She finds a lot of resonance in those “best” sites and considers anyone who doesn’t agree with her to be slightly imbalanced. My friend is not ignorant. She does a lot of research. But she has a false belief that she is being told the truth and refuses to look outside her bubble for contrarian facts.

I, on the other hand, often read those articles at the top of the page, but I don’t believe them and go looking for the contrarian facts because I believe that you really don’t know the facts if you haven’t read them all.

One of the things the article brought out is that low information voters are greatly influenced by SEO rankings. So there’s a push here in Alaska — and I presume elsewhere — to force everybody to vote. This manipulation of SEO rankings should concern us greatly if everyone — even the ill-informed — will be forced to vote.

 

Media Perception of Religion   Leave a comment

Statistically, conservative evangelical Christians are far and away the most generous people in the country … not just giving money to causes, but also giving time. The Southern Baptist Convention funds state-based disaster groups that are often the first responders to crises like Katrina and the World Trade Center attack. The World Health Organization actually sent a team to a section of Tanzania where there was an unexpectedly low rate of HIV, only to find that a Christian missionary team had spent the last 20 years evangelizing among the villagers, so that the majority of about 10 villages were Christians who had only one wife and didn’t sleep around.  Slightly more than 50% of American scientists say they believe in God as a metaphysical concept.

And, yet, America’s largest identifiable voting bloc — that of evangelical Christians — are overwhelmingly portrayed by Hollywood as hypocritical, sexually abusive, hostile to science, and psychological inhumane. Since the late 1960s, Hollywood has portrayed Christians in unflattering ways, branding them as ill-informed, intolerant, fanatical and wicked people who are not in touch with reality.

Think:

  • Warden Norton in the Shawshank Redemption, quoting Bible versus while mistreating inmate and pilfering money
  • The fanatical preacher in Contact, who blows up an interplanetary spaceship because he hates science
  • Mrs. Carmody from The Mist — just your average Christian housewife waiting to uncork some pent -up repression.
  • Mother from Carrie (choose your version) – a garden variety Pentacostal nutjob child abuser

Christians tend to get excited whenever a faith-themed movie is announced. We hope it will finally portray us or the Bible accurately and respectfully, while at the same time, we know it won’t.

NOTE: I did not say “fear” it won’t. We KNOW it won’t. We hope for better, but we no longer are surprised by what Hollywood feels free to do to our most precious stories and history.

Which is not to say that Muslims are not also portrayed in stereotypical ways — when they’re not featured as terrorists, they are depicted as misogynistic brutes with backward and mysterious customs. I’m just choosing to focus on Christians because I know from personal experience the truth of what I am writing.

When Hollywood attempts to do a “Christian” film, they give us Noah, depicting the Biblical figure as a crazy, irrational nut who is so fixated on modern-day problems like overpopulation and environmental degradation that his wife has to threaten him with divorce to keep him from killing his grandchildren.

Faith on television hardly gets any better treatment. Contemporary television goes out of its way to paint moving, sympathetic portraits of everyone from bullied gay teenagers to sex addicts and Mafia wives, but somehow can’t find any empathy for men and women of faith.

This misrepresentation of Christianity and Christians has wide-ranging effects. For a secular audience, it is much easier to passively watch a 90-minute movie than interview members of a congregation or attend a religious service to get facts straight. Under the 1st amendment to the US Constitution, Hollywood may legally portray religions in a negative light, but the aftereffects can be harmful in shaping public opinions about religion or its followers.

The typical Hollywood writer, according to media commentator Ben Stein, is from a large Eastern city, often of Jewish background, who grew up being taught that people in small towns hated him and were out to get him. When he gets a chance, he attacks that mythical small town on television or in the movies. He’s not writing reality, but portraying the point of view of a small, extremely powerful section of the American intellectual community, resulting in a popular national culture waging culture war on a way of life that is still widely practiced in the same country. Affection for small towns and small town values (like faith) runs very deep in America, but the mass culture of the country hates small towns and their related values, so spews their view onto television and movie screens, showing nothing but contempt for a fairly large part of the population. People are told that their culture is rooted in sickness, violence, and depravity, which gives them little confidence in the future of that culture. They feel ashamed of the country and come to believe that, if their society is in decline, it deserves to be.” (Stein, 1976).

Media Manipulation Mash   Leave a comment

Media manipulation currently shapes almost everything you read, hear and watch online.

When I was working on my degrees, we feared the government propagandist and the hustling publicist. They were serious, but known threats. Vigilance kept them in check and they were the exception rather than the rule. They exploited that the media was trusted and reliable. Today, with our blog and Internet-drive media cycle, nothing escapes exaggeration, distortion, fabrication or simplification.

 

 

And, no, the European press is not immune to this syndrome, nor is PBS, the Blaze, or Huffington Post.

Every media outlet can manipulate you and most do.

Today news is selected by what readers are clicking rather than the importance of the topic or event. The news cycle is so fast the coverage is never complete. Dubious scandals scuttle election bids and knock billions from the market share of publicly traded companies. News organizations frequently report on their own reporting in “unfolding stories.” Media manipulation is the status quo.

A couple of nights ago, a reporter told us breathlessly about what was going on in the White House as the president decided what to do about Yemen. As she stood there in in blue coat and white gloves before the lit-up White House, my son (16) wandered in and said “If it’s so cold she has to be that bundled up, why is there no fog coming out of her mouth?”

Smart kid! Observant! And, Alaskan! We know aboutt talking outside in the cold. My point is, if the media are playing that sort of game with the setting of news-coverage, just imagine what they could be doing with the content.

I could spin the bottle on media manipulators and hit many familiar names and faces, but let’s start with Michael Arrington, the former editor and founder of the popular blog Tech Crunch.

“Getting it right is expensive; getting it first is cheap.”

Arrington made $25 million from that fact, but others do it too. Ever wonder why Gawker headlines have just enough of the story to grab your attention, but not enough to satisfy your curiosity, so you click on the headlines? Did you know they are partially funded by those clicks?

The Bush administration knew how to use the media. The Obama administration is even better at it. While newspapers and traditional broadcast must worry about libel laws, so will not touch some stories, campaigns understand that blogs don’t have the same concerns. While some bloggers strive to present news from perspectives never covered by traditional media, the courts consider them opinion … hence libel laws are not in force (yet).

Media manipulation exploits the different between perception and reality. When my parents were heads of the household, they trusted Uncle Walter to give them the straight scoop. Walter Cronkite lied regularly about the Vietnam War — so regularly that my parents (on opposite ends of the war debate, btw) caught onto him. Today, we get our news individually, which removes the checks-and-balances of your spouse or kids calling “crap” on the broadcast you’re watching together. That individual consumption and opinion-based news means all the barriers that made the traditional media somewhat reliable have broken down. Yet, the old perception remains. If a random blog is half as reliable as a New York Times article that was fact-checked, edited and reviewed by multiple editors (who each have a political agenda, btw), it is twice as easy to get coverage on. So manipulators play the volume game. If they can generate enough online buzz, people will assume that where there is smoke there is fire and the unreal becomes real.

There’s no consequence for burning someone. Facebook and Twitter will help destroy a reputation (or make one), and there’s nobody to blame. There’s no cost to the media organization so long as they have advertising dollars to keep the doors open. The politicians and corporations who pay them to manipulate you (or provide the content) can point their finger at the media, but nobody really gets blamed. It’s all hidden in smoke and mirrors and perception is accepted as reality.

And, the solution to that?

I don’t know that there is an easy one. One pundit I read said he believes it would be solved by readers paying for the news, but I don’t think so. I get some good things from the Blaze, but it’s one organization’s view of the news, which doesn’t necessarily mean it is wholly true.

I think the solution lies with us — the readers/consumers — but saying that doesn’t mean it will be easy.

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