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

Article Comparison: Rex Tillerson Resignation

The two articles I have chosen cover the resignation (or firing), of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.  This was major news about two weeks ago when President Trump tweeted the firing of Tillerson, and the appointment of new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  While this is a simple topic, it will give me a better look into the different language used by the two sources.  I have chosen to look at articles from CNN, a liberal source, and Fox News, a conservative source.

The two articles first cover the breaking news of the resignation, and then dive into the relationship between the President and Secretary of State.  CNN generally favored Tillerson and his stance, as they attacked Trump for delivering the news via Twitter.  Fox News phrased it as a more peaceful transition, and something that was inevitable and for justifiable reasons.  There had been rumors that Tillerson was on his way out of the position, which both articles were quick to mention.  The CNN article was more analytical of the resignation, as they went on the mention the relationship between the two and the timeline of how Tillerson found out.  The Fox News article mentioned their disputes, but then wrote about Tillerson’s tenure as Secretary of State and all of the trips and accomplishments he made.

The CNN article clearly shows the event through a conflictual perspective.  While Fox News mentioned the conflict, CNN highlighted the unprofessionalism from Trump by firing someone through a tweet.  There was little conflict in the Fox News article as they noted the disagreements the two had, but they framed the resignation as a more peaceful process that was for the better for both sides.  The Fox News article used terms such as “transition”, “replacement” and “take over”.  The CNN article used terms such as “firing”, “dismissal” and “termination”.  While these are all accurate, CNN’s coverage wants the reader to see instability and unrest in the White House.  To emphasize the different in language, the first place to look is the title of the articles.  CNN’s article is titled “Trump fires Tillerson, taps Pompeo as next Secretary of State”, while Fox News’s article is titled “Rex Tillerson’s career as Secretary of State under Trump”.  These two headlines have very different implications, but they cover the same event.

The articles had various sources within the government, but the CNN article put in a picture of Trump’s tweet, as they do in many other articles about the President.  While this seems relatively unimportant, it continues to emphasize the President’s use of Twitter, and how he is handling his presidential business through social media.  CNN wants the reader to see Trump’s tweets and paint the image of Trump and a twitter page.  The more this picture is portrayed, the more readers will think that Trump and his staff are unorganized and run through a website instead of official methods typically used.

CNN Article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/13/politics/rex-tillerson-secretary-of-state/index.html

Fox News Article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/03/22/rex-tillersons-career-as-secretary-state-under-trump.html

Article Comparison: Rex Tillerson Resignation

Media Diary

For my media diary from March 20th-27th, I recorded my news sources.  My sources, or source, was Twitter.

While this is pretty narrow and bland, for a college student it is easy to access.  The convenience of the source is the primary reason for why I use Twitter.  While other online sources are easy to access, I rarely find the time or desire to search through longer articles about news topics that don’t directly impact my busy schedule.  Twitter, even with the increased word count, is brief and to the point.  In addition to the brief tweet, many journalists or users add links to longer stories or summaries of the event which I can then read more in depth if i’m interested.  It is also convenient because I keep up with my friends and baseball news through the source, which puts everything in one place.  I recognize that my knowledge could be enhanced by referencing multiple news outlets, however I can keep up to date efficiently using just one site.

In addition to the convenience of Twitter, sometimes branching out to new types of news outlets can be challenging.  Finding certain sources you like can be difficult and tough to find sometimes.  If you read exclusively from Fox News or The New York Times, you are reading a particular type of perspective, which is not different from using Twitter.  In order to be more completely well rounded, it is necessary to find multiple perspectives which can be daunting and quite difficult.

Twitter definitely effects how I have developed my political views, as seeing the same type of view everyday has definitely had an effect.  A lot of my friends are very politically active not just on Twitter, but at their own universities.  A lot of my friends go to school in Boston, Massachusetts, where there are oftentimes protests or gatherings for a certain political cause.  Seeing my friends involved in political events has given me a unique perspective on particularly social issues.  Massachusetts and New England in general is more liberal, which is definitely seen through who I follow on Twitter.  While I have not completely adopted some of my friends political views, I have certainly taken notice to what their views are and what type of people I have surrounded myself with.

The potential problems from only using Twitter are that i’m confined to just those that I follow.  Twitter has a separate news section, however what I most frequently see is from the same people who generally share the same sources or types of news.  My friends are more concerned with social issues compared to anything economic or more deeply political.  Although I am a political science major and am informed on general political events, I could be following up on these types of issues more frequently.

Media Diary

Media Bias in NYT Article

Two troubling topics have surrounded the Trump administration in recent days, as he has received criticism for his handling of the shooting at a Florida high school, and the verdict of the Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.  In an article from the New York Times, authors Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman mesh the two stories into a critique of President Trump’s responsiveness and overall temperament since the events.

The article, titled “Trump’s Evolution from Relief to Fury Over the Russia Indictment”, analyzes his Twitter posts as well as his visits and conservations with state and local officials in the Parkland, Florida region.  The article has little groundbreaking news, and is more a recap and analyzation into President Trump’s tweets.

The New York Times is a noteworthy publication, with a reputation of leaning to the left on many issues, especially regarding Trump and his interactions.  While this doesn’t represent bias in and of itself, it should give the reader an idea of what type of writing it is.

The first couple sentences in the article have a sarcastic and comical tone, as the two authors are quick to mention his Florida estate, golf, and television, all within the same sentence.  These have been points of criticism from the left of the president, as many believe he is away from Washington too much.  The next paragraph dives into President Trump’s social media posts, calling the posts a “Twitter tirade that was unusually angry and defiant even by Mr. Trump’s standards.”  This type of language shows clear bias and opposition against the President.

Transitioning into the Russian collusion investigation, Rogers and Haberman discuss what has been said from the Trump administration and Trump himself.  They spend five paragraphs refuting stances and positions taken by the Trump administration.  In summary of this portion they essentially recap positions taken by Trump, and spin the narrative to frame his as guilty or hiding something.  This type of approach is aimed to create distrust.

An argument could also be made that the authors used the conflict approach here.  Instead of recapping the investigations and its findings which showed that meddling took place but not directly with the campaign, they decided to focus on inaccuracies of the investigations and how the findings could still lead to collusion.

There is also clear journalistic bias because of where certain information was presented.  The first portion of the article, where most will only read until, mentioned only negative things about the President, which created the perception that he wasn’t handling the two events in an acceptable manor.  The overall picture that readers will take away is that the President was at his Florida estate, not playing golf only because it would be insensible following the shooting, watching TV, and going on a “Twitter tirade”, “outburst”, “eruption”, or was “lashing out”.

Referencing the journalistic pyramid of what readers capture, this is at the top.  At the very bottom of the article, the authors finally mention his meetings and visits to officials and survivors of the school shooting.  They described an interview from the major of Parkland Christine Hunschofsky where she talked about her conversation with President Trump.  She said she was “struck by how affected the president had seemed by his hospital visit.”  This is the first attempt for readers to see the President in a positive light, however most readers will not even see this information because it was placed at the bottom of the article.

Overall the article clearly portrays the President in a negative light, and taking away the end portion, never details him as somebody caring or responsible, even in the wake of a tragedy.  This type of language adds to the conflict surrounding Trump and how he handles different types of events.  This added conflict is strategic in making readers believe that Trump is essentially unfit for office and is irrational.

In order to analyze this bias a study must be conducted.  An interesting study would be to look specifically at the two topics mentioned in this article (shooting and Russian collusion) and ask how you think the president is handling the situation.  Take a group of moderate voters and get input on how they think President Trump is handling these two situations, and then take another group of moderate voters, make them read this article, and get their input on his actions.  Theoretically the group that was shown the article will have less favorable opinions compared to the group that is not shown the article.  This is a very simple study, however it directly shows how one article can have an impact on an opinion.



Media Bias in NYT Article