Archive for the ‘news’ Tag

Billy Graham Got An Upgrade   2 comments

Image result for billy grahamThis morning as I drove to work, the news was filled with the “tragedy” that Billy Graham, the evangelist, had died at 99 years of age. “Oh, so sad,” one commentator said.

No! Billy Graham got an upgrade. He’s no longer living in this messy world with pain and lies and evil. He’s with God — a relationship he worked to sustain partially for 85 years is now his fully.

Enjoy the next eternity of life, Billy. My husband and got to hear you preach once, in Anchorage, in 1984. The thing I remember about that crusade was a story you told about a man who said he was “just a pastor” and how you responded that there was “no such thing as just a pastor”. You went on to say that while you accepted your calling as an evangelist, one of the things you regretted was that it meant you couldn’t be a pastor, which you actually considered a higher calling. Since I hadn’t grown up listening to you and really didn’t know you all that well, I was amazed by your humility.

If there is a tragedy in you passing, it is that future generations will not get to hear you preach in person … this side of the veil anyway. We face a world that could use your wisdom. But you’re beyond that now, and I’m sure well-shed of this life.

 

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

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.

 

News Bias #1   3 comments

This is a series. Check out the links at the bottom

I stated in a Blog Hop recently that CNN has a clear liberal bias. I was promptly confronted by a fellow blogger who disagrees.

That’s fine. As I told her, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However … it might be worth a survey to see what I mean. While I’m at it, I’m going to probably survey Fox too, just to be fair and balanced.

To be clear, I don’t have cable television. What I know of CNN broadcast these days is what I catch at friends’ houses. I read it online and, if I have time, I watch the video clips. I think it might be easier to see the bias when you’re reading it. But it’s somewhat plain in the broadcast version too. We still had cable during the 2008 Presidential election and we cared because the governor of Alaska was a Vice Presidential nominee. At the start of the election season, I considered CNN to be the balanced choice among the three main cable networks. By election night, I no longer trusted them to give us actual facts.

It’s a fact that how ignorant you are often is a function of where you live. I know Alaska because this is home. So when CNN started reporting things about Sarah Palin, particularly her actions as governor, I was skeptical and did some research. Part of this was prompted by my left-leaning East Coast sister-in-law who would call with “gotcha” items she’d seen on CNN. It might have been beyond the skills of the average office-worker (though I doubt that), but I trained as a journalist and worked as a reporter and the State of Alaska has a lot of information online where CNN reporters could have checked their facts … and clearly did not.

“She slashed the education budget ….” Well, no, the Legislature, drunk on the rising price of oil and commensurate rising revenue, proposed a 30% increase in the state education budget. Alaska’s governor has line-item veto and Palin held the education budget at a modest 3% increase over the year before because, she reasoned that the price of oil was going to go down eventually and Alaska would be in a better position to absorb that drop if our state budget wasn’t bloated. She put the unspent revenue in savings and that is actually what Alaska is using to fund the Parnell-bloated government in these days of low low oil prices.

“She charged victims for rape kits ….” I checked with a friend who worked in the Mat-Su Health Center and then with another friend who works in the local hospital. It is standard operating procedure for hospitals to charge rape kits to the patient’s insurance and then the 20% deductible is picked up by a state fund. Apparently this doesn’t just happen in Alaska. It’s SOP across the country. It may seem uncaring, but those kits cost about $400 and someone has to pay the bill.

“She increased taxes ….” Well, actually, she lowered taxes and fees on ordinary Alaskans while giving the oil tax system a long overdue overhaul that the people of the state had been demanding all through the prior Murkowski administration. As it was, we were still collecting lower taxes on the oil industry that Norway and only slightly above California.

From the start of my investigation until Election night 2008, I investigated 87 separate items of “What the heck are they talking about?” having to do with Alaska. In six instances, the allegation turned out to be almost completely right. That left 81 instances where the facts were discoverable online and CNN got the facts wrong or distorted the facts to make it seem that Palin, and by extension Alaska, was out of control and just plain crazy.

I gave CNN a pass at the time and said that they were unaware of their liberal bias and probably were just filtering the facts through their distorted lens of conservatives. I’ve since admitted they have a decidedly liberal bent that is obvious to anyone who isn’t themselves a liberal.

When I trained as a journalist, I was taught to balance a story and to fight my bias. I didn’t have much bias back then (a test I took in Political Science class said I was a moderate), but I always hit pause and said “Are my facts balanced? Do I use any emotion words that have no place in a news story? Am I being manipulative or just reporting the facts?” Reporting balanced news is not an easy task and it’s become increasingly rare for reporters to do it.

Next post will be a run-down of recent stories that show CNN’s ongoing bias. Yes, it is the view from the libertarian end of the political spectrum, but here’s something for the liberals to understand —

You are not moderates and when you completely agree with a news article or a news network, that is a sign that the network is not balanced and that the reportage you’re viewing is probably not accurate. I recognize that, which is why I read a variety of news sites — even sites that I almost always completely disagree with, like PBS, because I feel capable of filtering what they are saying through my common sense and deciding for myself what seems true and what does not. I’m therefore not bothered by being confronted with contrarian news. If you’re bothered by it, you might want to consider that your presuppositions need to be challenged.

Other articles in this series

News Bias (this article)

CNN’s Liberal Bias

Fox News is Honestly Biased

Trump Media

Posted February 25, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Media, Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Ratings Are Important   Leave a comment

Neil_CavutoA commercial medium wants to sell ad space or time to businesses with products or services for sale. To make that sale, they need to be able to tell potential advertisers that their messages on the air, in print, or on the monitor screen will be viewed and heard by large numbers of consumers. And that’s where ratings come in.

Nielsen program ratings for cable news channels for April 2012:

  1. The O’Reilly Factor – Fox News — 2.87 million total viewers
    2. Hannity – Fox News — 2.075 million total viewers
    3. Special Report with Bret Baier – Fox News — 1.778 million total viewers
    4. On the Record with Greta van Susteren – Fox News — 1.722 million total viewers
    5. Fox Report with Shepard Smith – Fox News — 1.688 million total viewers
    6. The Five – Fox News — 1.674 million total viewers
    7. America’s Newsroom – Fox News — 1.272 million total viewers
    8. Your World with Neil Cavuto – Fox News — 1.252 million total viewers
    9. O’Reilly Factor (11PM) – Fox News — 1.22 million total viewers
    10. America Live – Fox News — 1.191 million total viewers
    11. Studio B – Fox News — 1.113 million total viewers
    12. Fox & Friends – Fox News — 1.082 million total viewers
    13. Happening Now – Fox News — 1.029 million total viewers
    14. The Rachel Maddow Show – MSNBC — 985,000 total viewers
    15. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell – MSNBC — 931,000 total viewers
    16. The Ed Show – MSNBC — 875,000 total viewers
    17. Hardball with Chris Matthews – MSNBC — 744,000 total viewers
    18. PoliticsNation – MSNBC — 712,000 total viewers
    19. Piers Morgan Tonight – CNN — 567,000 total viewers
    20. The Situation Room – CNN — 548,000

Notice that programs owned by News Corporation dominate the first 13.  The next five are NBC Universal programs and the bottom two in the top 20 list are Time Warner programs.

Bill O’Reilly has five times as many viewers as Wolf Blitzer. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing nor should it be considered evidence that Rupert Murdock is Satan. Ratings just show what people are watching. When I worked in newspapers as a journalist one of the things I learned was that advertisers often couldn’t care less about the politics of a program so long as their advertising gets seen. Advertisers do not, therefore, exhibit much influence over the news they advertise on. Viewers actually exert a lot of control with the power of their remote control.

Rupert Murdock is not a conservative by American standards, but Fox News Network has a strong right leaning bias. Some of that can be attributed to Roger Ayles, the CEO, who is a conservative, but more of it is attributed to who viewers are tuning into. Apparently viewers like Bill O’Reilly more than they like Chris Matthews, so advertisers, wanting their ads to be seen by the most people, buy advertising where the viewers are. If Murdock were to replace Ayles with Hendrick Hertzberg (for example), Hertzberg would do well to note the ratings of Fox’s media stable and not mess too much with a winning formula because Murdock is all about making money and Bill O’Reilly brings in more advertising dollars than Wolf Blitzer.

 

Would those advertising dollars shrink if Hertzberg made O’Reilly modify his message? Yes, probably. How do I know? Look how high in the ratings Neil Cavuto is. Neil is not the most entertaining person to watch, but people are tuning in, so it has to be something other than his scintillating personality. His message is compelling and viewers are tuning in for that.

I’m not making a judgment about which message is better or whether you can trust Fox News to give you better information. I am saying the viewers seem to prefer FOX’s message over what is offered at MSNBC and CNN.

A Look at the News   Leave a comment

There are three major news networks these days — CNN, MSN, and Fox News. It depends on who you talk to whether these are liberal-bias, conservative-bias, or middle of the road. And plenty of people will sneer at the Fox News motto of “fair and balanced.”

In the run up to the 2008 election, the highly popular governor of Alaska was the vice-presidential candidate. I’m not going to rehash that campaign. Water under the bridge. But I would note that the news media all reported extensively on Sarah Palin and on Alaska. It was this coverage that ended my long belief that CNN was a middle of the road network that offered the most honest coverage.

Alaska is a subject I can claim some expertise in, so of course, when I heard things that made no sense with what I knew, I researched it. It’s what I do, right? There was the story that Sarah cut the state Department of Education budget by 30%. That seemed unlikely since there wasn’t a huge furor over it in Alaska at the time. Remember, I live in Alaska. It should have been front-page news here. So I fact-checked it. It was easy to do. A lot of Alaska’s public records are on line and most of the newspapers had covered it, but they hadn’t covered it as “Sarah Palin destroys education” but “As Sarah Palin maintains fiscal sanity during record oil revenues” .

In 2007, oil prices were booming and the State of Alaska was benefiting from that. The Legislature, in a organism of ecstasy at $90 a barrel oil, had submitted a budget that increased the Education budget by 30% and Sarah, calculating on a budget set for $65 a barrel had red-lined the increase and held spending at previous levels. Sarah did not cut the budget. She just refused to let them increase it.

NOTE:  This turned out to be incredibly prescient. Parnell allowed the budget to increase with the price of a barrel of oil. Now the price of oil is $50 a barrel and our state budget is set for $110 a barrel. Alaska is running a deficit. Unlike other states, we have savings accounts to cover us while we bring spending under control. We have those savings accounts (in excess of the Permanent Fund) because Sarah held the line on spending when we were rolling in revenue. Had Sarah remained our governor we probably wouldn’t be going through this crisis now.

There were several other claims about Alaska by CNN during that campaign that were easily fact-checked and turned out not to be true. I went so far as to forward two of them with links to the actual information to the CNN reporter (Solidad O”Brien as I recall) and received a canned reply. After about my third fact-finding foray, I decided — for the first time — to give Fox News a chance. I’d always heard that they were entertainment based and fake conservative. I’d seen some interactions between Alan Combs and Tucker Carlson years before that I hadn’t been impressed with. But I knew one thing. I knew that CNN was getting facts that were readily available to anyone with a standard search engine wrong and that meant I needed a new broadcast news network.

I was leery, so I googled anything that sounded fishy to me for quite some time and, for the most part, Fox’s news coverage is fair and balanced. Now, I’m not talking about their editorial policy. I’m talking about their news coverage. You don’t have to believe me. Here’s a study by an international outfit that looked into it.

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/01/06/study-is-fox-too-balanced-

But here’s the thing — I’m not at all sure we should be getting all of our news from a single cable channel or even several. And I’ll explain why in my next post.

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