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.

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Exploring Bias #2 – Ohio Gubernatorial Race

Exploring Bias #1 – Trade Discussions between America and China

I have decided to explore bias in the New York Times SELRES_80bb222b-920c-45c8-9a17-19b508a3a08fSELRES_96eb9483-563a-43b1-bbf9-c16a3d94584darticle SELRES_96eb9483-563a-43b1-bbf9-c16a3d94584dSELRES_80bb222b-920c-45c8-9a17-19b508a3a08ftitled, “China Is Set to Take a Hard Line on Trump’s Trade Demands.” I found this article particularly interesting as international trade agreements, although they do not necessarily gain much news attention, they are definitely worth educating oneself about. The New York Times is a very well-respected news source with many journalists turning to it specifically for unbiased news, however I would argue that the New York Times as many other news sources is guilty of showing bias in its work. It is very difficult for any organisation to exclude bias completely and the article I have selected has some clear evidences of bias.

The article itself refers to American trade with China, specifically in relation to President Trump and President Xi Jinping. It mentions the President’s previous job as businessman, something which is frequently referred to in articles about his presidency, I believe that this is an example of bias as the subsequent referral to companies owned by President Trump leaves the reader to question the President’s motives and intentions in relation to the upcoming trade discussions. The article is displayed prominently on the New York Times’ online homepage, I cannot comment on it’s presence in the printed version of the story. The prominence however on the online homepage suggests that the editors believe it to be an important story and from a reader’s perspective will be one of the most clicked articles on the page as it is so well located. At the time of writing this “Exploring Bias analysis” the article had been up for less than 12 hours and had already received 742 comments.

This specific news article is from the New York Times which is a relatively left leaning newspaper. The bias demonstrated in that would be as Parenti describes in “Who Controls the News? The Myth of Independence and Objectivity”, journalists practice a level of self-censorship, they know what is expected of them and what the owners of the media company want. This is particularly evident in the New York Times article as they continue to use negative language to refer to the current Republican President and his administration. Parenti quotes journalist Ben Bagdikian and argues that journalists censor at an “[un]conscious level” this level of bias is not unique to the New York Times rather can be seen in every newspaper article that is being published on a daily basis, bias often infiltrates itself into media on a subconscious level.

The owners of the New York Times, the Ochs-Sulzberger Family are registered democrats. This level of subconscious bias reflects down into the newspaper, those that are hired by the newspaper would tend to follow the same path in regards to political views or would merely right that way as that is what the newspaper would expect of them. Clear Ideologic and Ownership bias is exemplified in this article. In “Losing the News” by Alex Jones it is mentioned throughout the importance of excluding bias from journalism, whilst embracing bias, journalists lose their journalistic integrity. Although it is not disputed that the New York Times is a reputable news source by allowing bias to be integrated into their news it discredits it as reliable news.

Exploring Bias #1 – Trade Discussions between America and China

Article Comparison: Kim Jong-un’s Visit to China

The articles that I am comparing both focus on the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un’s visit to Beijing and his meeting with the President of China, Xi Jinping. The news organisations that these stories come from are The Times of London and Fox News, both of which place a different spin on the story. The title of the Fox News Article is, “China reminded Kim Jong Un who’s boss during mysterious Beijing meeting, experts say” and the title of the Times of London article is, “Trump hails Kim Jong-un’s China visit as a breakthrough.”

The opening paragraph of the Fox News article refers to a hypothesis made by Fox News with the wording being vague with ‘likely’ being mentioned. Fox also mention in a later paragraph that China had rejected numerous meetings with North Korea until President Trump and the United States involved themselves, this suggests that the United States was an important factor in the meeting and places an international twist on what should be an east Asian focused story. The sources used in the Fox News Article are limited, there are only two sources, Yun Sun, who runs the East Asia program and the China Program at the Stimson Center and Pang Zhongying, a North Korea expert at Renmin University in Beijing, these two sources are not well known internationally therefore the average reader would not necessarily view their information as reputable and ground breaking. Furthermore the fact that the article itself calls them experts would expect them to be recognisable names in relation to International foreign policy yet it seems unlikely that the two named sources are.

The Times of London article has very positive language with the word “breakthrough” in the title. Rather than focusing on the United States as the successful party the article rather compliments international attempts at diplomacy, this is a very different frame than the Fox Article which focuses more on the successes of the United States as a diplomatic body. The only source used in the Times of London Article is Sarah Sanders, the White House Spokeswoman, this is a reputable source however everything that is said by a spokeswoman has to be approved by the President and therefore it is unlikely that she would say anything that may criticise him, consequently using a spokeswoman as a source does not necessarily add a dissenting opinion to the article.

Even though both of the articles covered the same events the way in which they were framed varied depended on the article, one prioritised American ingenuity whereas the other lauded international diplomacy. Furthermore in both of the articles neither of the sources seemed to offer any dissenting opinions nor offer expert opinions.

I found it particularly interesting looking at the different ways in which the same story can be presented from different news organisations. Different aspects of the story are highlighted and different elements are added as secondary parts to the article. This all ultimately is due to the fact that news organisations present their articles to their readers who vary depending on where in the political spectrum you fall. Even though news is supposed to be impartial, it is ever obvious that in this polarised world, news is the farthest thing from impartial that there could be.

Article Comparison: Kim Jong-un’s Visit to China

Rebecca’s Article Comparison

The articles that I have decided to compare both cover the same news story, the shooting that occurred in Florida this past week and the comments that President Trump’s administration made about the shooting being a “reprieve” from the bad publicity that currently plagues the administration.

Whilst both of the articles covered the general facts of the event, they focused on a number of different subtopics.

The Daily Mail used their article to promote other news stories that they had broken about the Trump Administration such as Rob Porter who allegedly abused his ex-wives. This deflects from the main purpose of the article and exposes you to other stories that are unravelling at the same time as the current one being written about.

The Daily Mail article is more sensationalist in its use of language and choice of topics and refers multiple times to affairs that it is alleged the President had. The extent of the sensationalism in the CNN article was when President Trump’s tweeting was described as “ranting.”

The wording by the Daily Mail article is quite interesting, as the article starts they use phrases such as “Then it was found” and “First it was revealed”, phrases which seem disapproving of the administration, this theme continues throughout and even when references are made to trips which the President is due to take, the author makes sure he passes comment on the fact that the scandals will “resurface.” The wording in the CNN article seems to be unbiased, there are limited clear personal opinions allowing for the article to be very to the point. I found this style of journalism to be particularly intriguing as it shows the difficulties that exist when attempting to write an article from a non-partisan point of view.

The length of the article also varies between the two selected. The CNN articles seems more to the point whereas as the Daily Mail article brings in other stories that are also related it is much longer in length. This is both good and bad, the CNN article gives you the story that you’re clearly interested in, the key facts that relate whereas the Daily Mail article not only gives you the story at hand but others that are related. For a reader this amount of coverage would easily sway you in favour of the author of the piece, one would assume from reading the Daily Mail article that the administration is currently suffering whereas this is not as evident in the CNN article.

The CNN article refers to other news sources and credits them for specific information (The Washington Post) whereas in the Daily Mail article, in addition to the Washington Post being credited in the body text of the article there is a “read more” section with a link to a New York Times article that covers the same story. I believe this to be an admirable quality of both articles to credit other sources as it gives the article more strength and reaffirms journalistic integrity.

I found it particularly interesting that the CNN article ends with a comment on gun control, that the President is to hold “a session with high schoolers” whereas this is not mentioned in the Daily Mail article. This is due to the fact that both articles are attempting to appeal to different political demographics and consequently cover different subtopics under the main topic.

Articles Used:

CNN: www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-parkland-florida-shooting-reprieve-bad-publicity-white-house-a8218746.html

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5411007/White-House-official-says-Florida-shooting-reprieve.html

Rebecca’s Article Comparison

Rebecca’s Media Diary

This past week there have been lots of stories of great importance and significance that have had significant media coverage. Due to this I engaged in a larger than usual number of sources and consequently received my news from the following sources:

  • BBC News
  • Sky News
  • CNN
  • The Times of London
  • New York Times
  • ABC
  • GBC
  • The Guardian
  • Twitter Moments
  • El País
  • Specific twitter accounts such as @BBCBreaking

I try and read a large array of different media sources from a number of different countries, however the vast majority of these sources are online sources, ranging from online articles to specific twitter accounts. It is quite difficult to receive physical media sources at University whilst ensuring they remain reputable, on occasion I read local news sources such as the Williamson County Sun yet I was not able to do this this week.

The reason I accessed most of these sources is because they are very user-friendly. The vast majority of them have mobile phone apps which is where I view them. It is easy for me to access these forms of news whilst walking between classes or eating my lunch. The news is easily digestible. On the few occasions I have read full articles it has taken more time and concentration. I also receive push notifications on my phone from a number of these sources as well, this allows me to get the gist of a certain news story and if I am interested in it I will then research it further and search for a more extensive article on reputable news sites such as BBC News or The Times of London. At times I have the Sky News channel on as white noise whilst I study, this allows me to be immersed in the news whilst listening selectively to what interests me.

As I have personally selected these sources, the vast majority of them reflect my own personal political opinions, especially the accounts I follow on my twitter accounts. I accept that this might not necessarily expose me to many opposing view points I do try and ensure that if I am interested in a story I read around the story and read that specific story on different platforms. I know that there will be clear biases in the articles and I do try and read the articles with an open mind accepting that authors do not write without preconceptions.

I believe that compared to the average individual I do use a large number of varied sources. The fact that I read news sources in different languages increases the awareness that I have. I spend more time involved with different forms of media due to all of the different ways in which I engage with media. The surge in popularity of social media has also allowed my access to different points of views. This has allowed me to develop my ability to recognise the differences between reputable and un-reputable sources of news, distinguish between biases both internationally and politically and access viewpoints that without specific forms of media (twitter etc.) I would not be aware of.

Rebecca’s Media Diary