Is Russia Laughing at us?
By: John Rodriguez
This past Sunday, President Trump posted several tweets regarding Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election. Specifically, the President tweeted a dismissal of any collusion between his administration officials and the Russians. He also laid blame and pointed the finger at previous government officials to include President Obama for lack of action. President Trump’s “hottest tweet” was about the Russian’s possibly “laughing their asses off” at the U.S. government’s failure to contain and eliminate the Russian security breach. In this article I will compare how two popular news sources (CNN and Fox News) provided coverage of the Trump “laughing their asses off in Moscow” tweet, to determine if there are biases in media.
The CNN article titled “Trump: They are laughing their asses off in Moscow over Russia investigation” focused on Trump’s behavior toward the Russian situation and Rep. Adam Schiff comments on both Trump and Obama. Maegan Vazquez frames the news article to be more of a traditional news by stating complete facts, but it eventually becomes an advocacy when she indirectly offers her own opinion. Had she just posted Trump’s tweets and provided background information on them it would have been labeled as traditional. However, Vazquez picked and chose tweets that labeled Trump as unknowing and having bad intuition. For example, Vazquez makes it a point to disprove one of Trump’s old tweet where he claimed Russian involvement was a “hoax” (Vazquez, 3). Vazquez then states, “Trump took Vladimir Putin’s word that Russia did not interfere in the election,” not sure how this is related to his tweet about Russia laughing their asses off (Vazquez, 3). Another example of this article is an advocacy instead a traditional news source is when Vazquez quotes other leaders thoughts and ideas. For example, Vazquez refers to Rep. Adam Schiff comments on Trump’s State of the Union address which state, “The President claims vindication anytime someone sneezes,” (Vaquez,3). Again, not sure how this relates to Trump’s tweets on Russia, but one can assume that to pander to all viewers CNN had to also attack the opposing side. She also briefly refers to Rep. Schiff older comments on the Obama administration not placing enough sanctions on Russians for the breach in security. By picking and choosing different quotes from different people means there is a framing going on. Because the article attacks both the right and the left one can assume the news network takes a more centralized stance. I would argue Vazquez’s article is a little more biased against Trump because there is an uneven amount of critiques for both sides. It would make the most sense to stick to an even amount of critiques or eliminate all advocacy altogether if CNN wants to remain “moderate”.
The Fox News article titled “Trump says Russians ‘laughing their a—s off’ over US collusion probes,” focused on Trump dismissing any collusion with Russia, Trump criticizing Rep. Schiff, and mocking journalist A.F. Brandco. Joseph Weber attempts to frame the news article to be a traditional news source by only stating complete information on the 13 indicted Russian nationals and Trump’s tweets (Weber, 2). However, Weber later turns the article into an advocacy by defending Trump’s claim that he had not colluded with Russia as opposed to quoting Trump’s tweets and leaving it at that. For example, Weber refers to General McMaster comments on Crooked Hillary colluding with Russians and Trump not being involved (Weber, 5). General McMasters quote clearly has nothing to do with Trump’s tweet on the Russians “laughing their asses off”. It would appear the quote is meant to discount any possible doubt in Trump not colluding with Russia. Another example that demonstrates this article is an advocacy news article is the fact Weber supported Trump’s retweet, mocking CNN report A.F. Brandco (Weber, 3). By picking and choosing references and quotes to defend Trump’s actions and not simply state the tweets themselves makes this article an advocacy. Based on Weber’s choice of quotes a reader could assume Weber is pandering toward the more right-leaning citizens because he does not critique any of Trump’s tweets. But Weber takes it a step further and mentions Trump’s retweet mocking Bradnco.
Now, both news sources attempted to provide objective news but eventually turned to advocacy news. This can be attributed to news networks being as Alex Jones states “businesses,” meaning that these companies need to maximize profit to increase shareholder value. For example, CNN’s viewer base is mostly moderate with a lean to the left, therefore, they must create articles that pander to these viewers to make a profit and keep their base. FOX News instead, panders toward more conservative viewers to make a profit and must do the opposite. Another comparison I drew between these articles is that they both read the same tweets but reported differently on them. Trump’s tweet on Adam Schiff blaming the Obama administration for Russia meddling in the 2016 election was depicted as a satire toward Adam Schiff by FOX. While CNN saw Trump’s tweet as a direct attack against the Obama administration but allowed it because it was based on fact. Both news media sources used this tweet to help further their framing, but in different ways. If media is to improve and be more “objective” meaning 100% fact with few biases or “Iron core” as Alex Jones calls it, journalist need to put aside personal beliefs and profit motives to make the news more traditional.
Vazquez, Maegan (2018). Trump: They are laughing their asses off in Moscow’ over Russia
Weber. Joseph (2018). Trump says Russians ‘laughing their a—s off’ over US collusion probes.