Showing posts from August, 2016

A Fox in the Hen House

When I was a sophomore at Arizona State University, my English teacher assigned a research paper that was a significant part of our grade. I only remember two of the requirements. First, it had to be relevant to my major (journalism). Second, I had to cite reputable, scholarly sources to back up my thesis. When I met with my teacher and told her my idea: American mainstream media demonstrates a liberal bias when reporting the news, she strongly encouraged me to choose another topic. "You won't be able to prove it," she told me. As it turned out, she was wrong. I not only earned an A on my paper, I convinced her I was right.

Now, can I convince you?

I'm not Biased ... YOU Are! 

Let's start with those who see things from the other side of the spectrum...with what is probably the most popular stance on the issue today:

Turn off FOX News!

You've seen this bumper sticker, right? Or one like it. Most of them suggest people who watch FOX News are crazy, stupid, inbre…

I'm Ready for my Close-up

When Norma Desmond famously declares “I’m ready for my close-up” at the end of Sunset Boulevard, she’s full-on crazy pants and headed for a padded room, which means she’ll probably never know how "those wonderful people out there in the dark" truly see her.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been labeled “crazy” during this election season (it’s attached to Trump more often, while other adjectives plague the former First Lady) but how they are truly seen by the public depends to a large extent on the “close-up” photos shared by the media.
Today we are going to talk about images and how they can be used to manipulate people into viewing a political figure either positively or negatively.
Say Cheese!Let’s start with photos our candidates love to share – the ones on their bio pages. For a politician, nothing says “I love this country!” more than having their photo taken in front of the stars and stripes. 
Can’t you just hear the fireworks? 
The Eagle’s triumphant cry? 
The L…

Man Bites Dog

News this weekend included floods in the gulf coast, a fire and knife attack on a Swiss train, an elderly woman who was accidentally shot by police in Florida, and a Washington woman who crashed her car upside down into a Starbucks drive-thru.
So why were these stories in the news? And what stories might have been rejected so these stories could be featured?
Newsworthiness is the term I learned back in J school that expresses all the possible components of an event that could qualify it for coverage by the media. Today I will define each term, give examples and then talk about how they might be manipulated to create bias.
Newsworthiness isn’t an equation or a checklist. An event doesn’t have to meet three out of seven criteria to be considered newsworthy, for example. Neither does ONE element typically make something newsworthy. It’s usually a combination of these elements that has to be judged by editorial staff. On a slow news day, the top story might be a police officer chasing down b…

The Blog in my Eye

How long has it been since you’ve read what Jesus said about hypocrisy? You know, the speck and the log thing? Go ahead and read it now. I’ll wait.
When you read it, did you picture yourself with the log in your eye, or someone else?  Because when we talk about hypocrisy or fairness or bias, I am afraid that I mostly picture myself as the victim rather than the perpetrator, all while knowing these things about myself: I make mistakesI change my mindI don’t always have all the factsI haven’t experienced everythingI can be stubbornI am not always fairI am not always honest
If nothing on that list applies to you, then feel free to skip this post. Next week I’ll go back to talking about THOSE OTHER GUYS who write BIASED stuff. But for today – just for today – I want to talk about MY bias. (For you, that’s your bias, by the way). I am not trying to be condescending. I know we all know we have biases. I’m only hoping that seeing it in ourselves first will help us be more honest in analyzing it…