Article Comparison: Trump on “Fox and Friends”

In his first interview in a long time, Donald Trump did a 30 minute, over the phone interview with the hosts of the Fox and Friends show. He took control of the interview, ranting on various topics and allowing the hosts to get in few questions and comments.

An article written by a reporter from Fox, known to favor Trump, the writer opens his article by stating it was “just like the good old days” when Trump would speak whatever was on his mind. The article recognizes a few of the problems in his interview, such as his admittance that Cohen represented him in the Stormy Daniels case, citing some of his comments were cited by federal prosecutors as justification for the FBI raid on Cohen’s home. The writer of the article was ultimately on the side of Trump, supporting his attack on the DOJ and “their failure to prosecute Comey”. The writer also stated that he wished Trump did more interviews as “they provide insight into his thinking and his temperament.” He ended his story by remarking that the most fundamental takeaway from the interview is,”The president is ticked off at a whole lot of folks.”

An article covering the interview by NBC focused on the self-incrimination that Trump’s interview gave in the Stormy Daniels case and highlights how his words run contradictory to his past statements about the case. The article has quotes from Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Ms. Daniels in the lawsuit, that express his intent to use Trumps statements in his case against Cohen and “expects federal prosecutors to do the same.” The article gives details about the case, such as the $130,000 hush money Cohen paid Daniels, the pseudonym that Trump used in the non-disclosure agreement, which he himself never signed, making it invalid. The article also mentions potential future negotiations between Trump and Mueller’s respective teams.

The differences are clear: Fox’s article expressed support for the president as well as insulated him and his claims while doing just enough probing of his controversial statements to appear unbiased in the eyes of the public, while NBC’s article focused heavily on how he took over the interview and his controversial statements served as a foil to his innocence in the Stormy Daniels case, providing much context for how it affects the case.

 

Fox Article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/27/fuming-on-fox-trump-slams-doj-comey-democrats-media-in-morning-marathon.html

NBC Article: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-confirms-cohen-represented-him-crazy-stormy-daniels-deal-during-n869241

(This comparison was posted on May 1, 2018, contrary to what the WordPress feed says)

 

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Article Comparison: Trump on “Fox and Friends”

Exploring Bias: CNN on Trump’s typos

Earlier today, CNN released a story (not labeled as opinion) entitled “Hopefully, the typos don’t kill us all” in which a writer, Z. Byron Wolf, pointed out a typo in one of Trump’s recent tweets, that says “Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.” The tweet was supposed to say “had”, and was deleted and corrected fairly quickly. Byron states that it was a clerical error, and says, “We all make mistakes and no journalist, in this era of reduced copy desks, should be sanctimonious about typos.” That should be the end of it, it was a typo, it was corrected, and no harm came of it.

Byron takes the opportunity to blow it out of proportion – claiming that the typo could be seen as a threat to national security, while giving himself liberty to mock the president and his previous typos in tweets, as well as his general intelligence- “the President’s questionable relationship with grammar has been troubling to the pedants out there for some time”. He starts his rant by saying “theoretically, this typo could have real-world consequences.” In applying the moniker of theory to his story, it divulges itself from fact and loses credibility, instead being a piece of mockery and speculation.

He even cites another story from a CNN reporter titled, “Trump Misspells A Lot of Tweets: Should You Care?”, and says himself, “The short answer was not really. Trump often deletes tweets and re-posts corrected versions.”  If we shouldn’t really care about typos, why is Wolf making it seem like typos could be the end of our nation and what is the point in writing this story besides an opportunity to pander to their audience? He signs off with a tongue-in-cheek quip that says, “Apologies for any typos in this post. It is unlikely they will affect national security.”

Additionally, at the top of the article is a video from CNN by Jeanne Moos, which takes viewers through CNN’s “Donald J. Trump Presidential Typos and Misspellings Hall of Fame”. In which she makes fun of Trump’s typos and repeats clips of him saying how smart he is, while giving screenshots of Twitter memes and jokes at Trump’s expense, which have no reason to be in a video, let alone a subject of focus, from a major news network.

 

 

 

CNN Article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/01/politics/the-typos-could-kill-us-all/index.html

Exploring Bias: CNN on Trump’s typos

Exploring Bias: CNN Article on Russia Collusion

CNN certainly has a long history of refuting President Trump’s statements, and the article by Chris Cillizza is no different.  The article, titled, “This Donald Trump answer on Russian collusion is a real doozy”.  While I don’t intend to discuss the specific of the ongoing Trump-Russia debate, it is clear to see what CNN and other liberal news media believes.  The situation has been ongoing since the 2016 election, and this article was front page on CNN’s website, along with numerous others covering the issue.  In what seems like endless perpetual news about something in the past, CNN continues to cover the story at extremely high rates.

This article is pinned as analysis of Trump’s response to the charges, and dissects his message down to each word.  While the Russia collusion scandal may be newsworthy, deep analyzation of a statement is extremely unnecessary.  Cillizza is classified as a political reporter, covering the White House and other congressional affairs across the country.  It is very clear that instead of political reporting, this article’s purpose is to bash Trump and reaffirm liberal thinking.

This is a prime example of agenda-setting, as Cillizza’s article has one specific purpose, to continue to smear the President and his statements.  It reinforces beliefs many readers of CNN have, and acts as a tactic to increase disgust in Trump.  While agenda-setting is generally seen in more in-depth articles to provide a point of view on a news issue, this article is something entirely different.  Instead of legitimate political reporting, this is clear defacing of Trump and serves no actual purpose instead of setting an agenda.

Throughout the article there is an undertone of satire, as Cillizza makes sure to emphasize that the statement made was idiotic or moronic.  Here is a direct quote from the article that shows sarcasm and mockery of the statement.

“Trump’s answer runs 121 words. It’s eight sentences long. He uses the phrase “no collusion” four separate times — not to mention references to “no coordination” and “no nothing. And there’s a “witch hunt” thrown in for good measure!”

This type of “journalism” has no place on a reputable news outlet like CNN.  This is clearly framed to direct attention away from the content of the statement and the actual issue.  There is a distinct bias in this article and it is very clear that the author is extremely partisan.  While bias exists in virtually every aspect of media, outright slander towards the other ideology is overtly unjust.

Towards the end of the article, he outlines all of the legal issues the President might face, and ends his article on another satirical note.  “In the face of that hugely complex thicket of legal, criminal and political issues, the President of the United States just keeps shouting “No Collusion.” Make of that what you will.”

This is another example of extreme bias, as he is clearly indicating that Trump is not being straightforward or intelligent about his responses.

While this type of journalism is certainly prevalent, especially from outlets that take a definite stance to one side or the other, it is very irresponsible and does serve any further purpose than bias and agenda-setting.

 

 

CNN article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/27/politics/collusion-donald-trump-answer/index.html

Exploring Bias: CNN Article on Russia Collusion

Article Comparison: Dealing with North Korea

In this comparison I am looking at two articles dealing with North Korea, and how to dealing with the state and Kim Jong Un.  The first article is by David French of the National Review.  The National Review is a long time conservative publication, dating back to the days of William F. Buckley during the 1950’s.  The second article is by James Griffiths, writer for CNN, called “North Korean defectors say unification requires closing a cultural chasm”. Both of these articles focus on the talks with North Korea, and why the situation is more complex than it seems.

In French’s article from the National Review, he takes a very skeptical approach towards potential denuclearization and peace between North Korea and its opponents.  He argues that North Korea agreeing to South Korea and the United States’s terms is not logical, partly because it has gained political validation through establishing greater military power.  Why would Kim Jong Un give that up?  French argues that it would be idiotic to give up the only thing giving you power amongst other nations: deterrence.  North Korea has successfully built a nuclear program to combat the regional powers of East Asia and beyond.  Backing down is not an option for North Korea and Kim Jong Un.  French hints towards potential peace, but denuclearization is not in the vocabulary for North Korea and its opponents.

The second article by James Griffiths focuses on the stories of North Korean defectors to South Korea to illustrate how difficult closing the bag between the two will be.  The stories share the same feelings of skepticism, even though they want the talks to continue to progress for the sake of the two countries.  The article focuses on the deeper integration of the two states and how it will take more than just talks to solve the deep cultural differences of North and South Korea.  The stories presented by defectors add a personal twist to the Griffiths article; one that appeals to the ethos of the reader.

Both articles are in agreement that talks between the two sides are deeper than what appears on the surface.  However how they get to that point is very different.  The National Review article uses logic to get its point across, while the CNN article uses personal stories.  This is significant because conservatives generally take a more logical approach while liberals are more accepting to emotional perspectives.  The articles turn to different framing methods and cater to the typical readers of each publication.  Logos will appear to more conservative readers, while ethos and pathos will appear to liberal readers.  The French article also focuses on historical differences between North and South Korea, which differ from current defectors’ stories.

The one interesting point French makes is towards Trump.  He is very critical of Trump’s position and is referring to him as a “sucker” for believing North Korea will agree to terms and follow through.  Agreements have been made in the past, but not followed through.  The CNN article does not mention Trump, however, based upon the typical CNN reader, they are not Trump supporters.

The two articles reach many of the same conclusions, however they have completely different ways of arriving there.

 

CNN Article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/29/asia/north-korea-defectors-seoul-intl/index.html

National Review Article: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/its-time-for-real-talk-about-north-korea/

Article Comparison: Dealing with North Korea

Fox News versus Huffington Post: Michelle Wolf Analysis

The two viewpoints presented by Fox News and Huffington Post present a somewhat ironic twist (taking into account recent narratives). Whereas it has been the prerogative of each network to either defend the tenets of free speech (Fox) or argue against bullying sentiments (Huffington), in this conflict the prerogatives have switched. This leads to an interesting dynamic as we examine the hypocrisy surrounding the frames into which the two articles adopted.

To provide context for the articles, the object of discussion centered on the comedian Michelle Wolf, who performed at the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner. In an event which is meant to bridge the (often tense) gap between the executive branch and the media, Wolf was invited to provide light-hearted revelry for all in attendance. While it was understood that she would likely reserve her best stingers for Trump, the general idea was to bring the crowd closer together through laughter. Instead, Wolf spent the majority of her time in stage lambasting the current administration, with an emphasis on Trump (who was not in attendance), and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who was). In regards to Sanders, Wolf took issue with not only her political affiliation, but also her integrity and appearance, describing her as “an Uncle Tom, but for white women”, and being resourceful in the way “she burns facts, and uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye”.

Tomi Lahren, speaking as a representative of Fox News, adopted a belligerent viewpoint in which she criticized Wolf’s actions as representative as a larger ‘leftist problem’. Functioning immediately on the defensive, Lahren condemns the hypocrisy with which the ‘left’ engaged in the bullying of a woman who had no choice but to sit there and take it. After adopting a condescending tone, Lahren ended her statement with the concept that “Donald Trump didn’t create the leftist media’s ugly side. He just exposed it.”

In analysis of Fox’s article, Lahren appears to be utilizing the type of blunt rhetoric which is generalized to the GOP base, with the perception that by ‘speaking facts’, she will present a newsworthy article, and uses attacks on liberal media to cover any fallacies within her own statement. Even as a conservative viewer, I found this tactic to be half-hearted to the point where I questioned the reasoning behind adopting this line of presentation. Lahren’s statement, for all its supposed veracity, reads as that of petulant child, and therefore fails in its attempt to sway viewers who were not already aligned with her viewpoint. The priming effect is evident in this article, as it is unlikely Lahren would have adopted such a vociferous viewpoint had her audience consisted of mainly moderates who had not already subscribed to her views.

Amatulli, writing on behalf of Huffington Post, utilizes social media to reinforce her views, which she states in the opening sentences of the article. She takes aim at the White House Correspondents’ Association, which released a statement distancing itself from Wolf’s statement in the aftermath of the dinner stating that “some journalists wonder [sic] whether the group actually backs its own press-freedom mission”. Amatulli discusses the importance of free speech, and validates her point through the inclusion of ‘experts’, i.e. other media journalists who happen to support Wolf’s initial statements as representative of free speech.

While the article was certainly less aggressive than Lahren’s, Huffington Post subscribed, as it often does, to the notion of substituting the opinions of a few for the consensus of a majority. Little information about the speech was provided, and some statements were completely false, such as stating that Wolf also insulted former candidate Hillary Clinton (when Wolf did not mention her name once). By drawing upon the opinions of others, the author manages to both put forward an agenda (i.e. the press should be able to criticize Trump freely under the first amendment), while at the same time removing herself from direct responses by claiming the opinions shared are those of ‘some journalists’, and failing to mention her support of the opinions she shares.

 

Both of these articles, in the context of the our media class, fail to adequately live up to the expectations set by validated journalism. Knowing this, I made sure to select these articles to demonstrate the dangers presented by opposing viewpoints which do not necessarily acknowledge or seriously engage with one another. Lacking credible sources, articulate progression of the story, and logic which is sketchy at best, each of these articles serve as stellar examples for the types of opinions which should not be seriously entertained in the search for a moderate (‘less-biased’) perspective.

 

Fox Article: http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/04/30/tomi-lahren-final-thoughts-michelle-wolf-white-house-correspondents-dinner-jokes-about

 

Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/journalists-rebuke-of-michelle-wolf-doesnt-celebrate-press-freedom_us_5ae70b2fe4b02baed1bc4dd8

 

Transcript of Wolf Speech: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/30/17301436/michelle-wolf-speech-transcript-white-house-correspondents-dinner-sarah-huckabee-sanders

Fox News versus Huffington Post: Michelle Wolf Analysis

Media Bias: HuffPost on CAM Program

The current Trump administration has taken a hardline approach to immigration and has taken their next step in preventing immigration. Today, the Trump administration decided to end the Central American Minors (CAM) program which allowed legally residing Central Americans to bring their children into the United States. The abrupt ending of the program today leaves just under 4,000 Central Americans unable to seek asylum in the United States, even though they were being processed for admittance. I seek to analyze the anti-Trump biased coverage of this event from HuffPost through analysis influenced by Blur.

The article, “Trump Left Nearly 4,000 Applicants For Central American Refugee Program Stranded”, initially explains the situation. Elaborating from my summary above, HuffPost highlights that these immigrants are escaping some of the most dangerous places in the world and that Trump’s recent move rejects people that were going through the processes of being considered for the program. The article then explains how this move has real-life consequences and tells the story of a family from El Salvador. After giving the move a human face, the article describes the CAM program in further depth including specific numbers of people who have come to the United States under the program. The explanation of CAM is filled in with explanations from people whose work is intertwined with immigration, all of whom explain the severity of the Trump administration’s decisions. Finally, the article concludes repetitively with a message of danger for these immigrants.

In analyzing this article through the lens of Blur, HuffPost engaged in some of the tactics described by Kovach and Rosenstiel. These tactics make clear that this HuffPost piece is a work of journalism of affirmation or “media that builds loyalty less on accuracy, completeness or verification than on affirming the beliefs of its audiences” (Kovach & Rosenstiel 2010, 34).

Firstly, HuffPost engages in the journal of affirmation tactic of cherry-picking. The use of cherry-picking evidence is obvious in who the sources in the article are. There are a total of five quotes in the article, all of which came from people who, like the author, are unsupportive of Trump’s decision. Elaborating on this point, the article cherrypicks in explaining the situation itself. There is no mention of what Trump or anyone in his administration officials said in regards to this decision. In leaving this piece of information out, the article is engaging in the process of cherry-picking as outlined in Blur which fails to explore the other side of the issue.

Secondly, HuffPost is engaging in the tactic of explaining people as bad or evil. Though this article never explicitly calls Trump evil or bad etc, the use of evidence portrays Trump as evil. The lack of providing quotes from Trump or his administration sets the stage for this. The audience is unable to make their own opinion of Trump or see his or his administration’s perspective. The opening sentence alone portrays the Trump administration as evil as they are rejecting children from “three of the countries with the highest murder rate in the world”. As the article continues, the sources used in the article continue using a tone that portrays trump and his team as evil. The family story used in the article describes the lengthy application process which they are nearly completed with and how the father bringing his family here was to protect them. “Then Trump ended the program. Omaro’s family… they’re stuck in El Salvador”.  This tactic as described in Blur “has nothing to with understanding or even analyzing the political scene… it’s strictly about affirming the audiences preconceived beliefs” (Kovach & Rosenstiel 2010, 137). It is problematic to use these tactics of cherry-picking and the fallacy of evil men because while affirming the audience’s beliefs, it never engages the audience in a critical discussion of what is to be done but rather who is to be blamed.

Works Cited

Foley, Elise and Roque Planas. “Trump Left Nearly 4,000 Applicants For Central American Refugee Program Stranded.” HuffPost, April 30, 2018. Accessed April 30, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/central-american-minors_us_5ae1f199e4b055fd7fc9608a

Kovach, Bill and Tom Rosenstiel. Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury, 2010.

I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who hasn’t. TC.

Media Bias: HuffPost on CAM Program

Exploring Bias #2 – Ohio Gubernatorial Race

A clear example of bias that I wanted to explore was found in the Fox News article entitled, “Left Battles Itself: Sanders, Warren wings face off in Ohio primary.” The article itself focuses on the gubernatorial races that are occurring in a number of states in the coming week but specifically references Ohio as that race occurs next week. The article is from Fox News, arguably considered to be the source for partisan news from the Republican party. Through my readings of Fox News for previous blog posts, I believe I have developed insight into who the reader of Fox News is and how this relates to its articles, as one of the most important thing for journalists is readership.

From the offset it was clear that there was ideological bias in the article. The article is intended for the republican market as Fox News is largely considered to be a republican news source. It was created by leading Republicans and is currently owned by Australian-American Rupert Murdoch who has in the past boasted about his connections with the Trump White House and his access specifically in relation to his weekly phone calls that he has with the President. It is undeniable the ideological bias that exists within Fox News in regards to the Republican party.

The author of the article also refers to the ties that the Republican candidate in Ohio has with President Trump. He also mentions by how many points President Trump won Ohio by in the Presidential election. This is a clear example of ideological, ownership and journalistic bias. The author of the article, journalist Joseph Weber has a history of supporting the Republican party and spreading their message as evidenced by a quick view of his previously written articles. The author whether it be subconsciously through influence of his employer, Fox News as referenced by Alex Jones in “Losing the News” where he argues that journalists are quick to support the views of their employer in the hopes of staying in their positions or through his own ideological views, there is clear bias in the article.

The bias is clear to read throughout the article. Every other line seems to be laced with some element of propaganda in favour of the Republican party, one outspoken example of this is when Weber writes that Dennis Kucinich, a democrat running for Governor of Ohio “hasn’t been elected since 2010, has taken heat for taking $20,000 for a speech before a group sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar Assad.” The negative language that is used by Weber reinforce the ideological bias that is evident throughout. The language is also very different when referring to the republican and the democratic candidates reinforcing the author’s ideological and journalistic bias.

The location of the article is also interesting on the Fox News homepage. It is located under the Editor’s pick section of the website which suggests that the editor sees it as an important story that should be made visible to the readers of Fox News.

Exploring Bias #2 – Ohio Gubernatorial Race