Article Comparison: Beto O’Rourke’s Senate Campaign Against Ted Cruz

After his recent visit to Southwestern’s campus, I thought that it would be interesting to examine and compare how Texas Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke’s, campaign is portrayed differently in the media.

The first article that I examined was published by Slate recently following a poll by Quinnipiac that showed the race between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz looks like it will be “too close to call.” The author, Jim Newell, recognizes that the source of this poll is reputable but immediately follows this statement by saying “it’s also very hard to believe.” Newell then goes on to explain why Democrats are too hopeful in this race and uses several facts, statements, and quotes from experts to support this. While this article is fact-based, it simultaneously seems very opinion driven, and the author makes it clear that he believes that it will be nearly impossible for O’Rourke to beat Cruz in this election.

On the other hand, an article by CNN discusses why people love Beto O’Rourke and why he could be setting a standard for other politicians in the future. Interestingly, the CNN article is framed in a similar manner to the way that O’Rourke runs his campaign. O’Rourke places a large emphasis on personal connections and being a down-to-earth candidate, and the article is written through this lens to help highlight this. For example, the author, Eric Bradner, begins the article by taking readers on a trip starting with a detailed and anecdotal description of Beto and his family in the van hitting the road to make it to a town hall in one of the many Texas counties that O’Rourke is trying to visit during his campaign. It is clever of Bradner to use the same method to appeal to his audience as O’Rourke uses to appeal to his, and I think that while this shows a great deal of creativity this doesn’t necessarily achieve balanced journalism. The article does do a good job, however, explaining the situation and the stakes that come with this big election in Texas this year, and the article describes several pledges that O’Rourke has made as a part of his campaign so that readers get a good picture of what this guy is all about.

Slate’s article looks at the facts and probability of O’Rourke to succeed from a skewed and specific viewpoint while the CNN article looks at why people love him and what he has to offer. Both of these articles had different goals and focuses, and they were framed in different ways to achieve this. It is also interesting to note that the CNN article includes quotes from O’Rourke whereas the Slate article includes quotes from experts to negate the Quinnipiac poll results. At the end of the day, both companies recognize that this is a significant political event that deserves to be written about, but they go about this in two different ways. Slate evaluates the rocky road to success that O’Rourke has ahead of him, and CNN evaluates what O’Rourke is doing in his campaign and trying to achieve.

Works Cited

Eric Bradner, “Why Democrats everywhere are watching Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign in Texas,” CNN, April 14th, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/14/politics/beto-orourke-texas-senate/index.html

Jim Newell, “The Beto Bubble,” Slate, April 19th, 2018. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/beto-o-rourkes-uphill-texas-challenge-against-ted-cruz.html

I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who has not. -Miranda Yannon

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Article Comparison: Beto O’Rourke’s Senate Campaign Against Ted Cruz

Media Bias: The Huffington Post

        The White House Correspondents Association dinner has caused outrage and praise due to Michelle Wolf’s performance. She performed a roast of Donald Trump and his White House staff. Before the roast even took place, there was the potential that the dinner was going to be controversial because of Wolf herself. She is a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, a show known for its criticism of Trump and conservatives in general. Wolf received criticism from both liberal and conservatives media outlets. Multiple journalists and public figures have demanded that Wolf apologizes to those that were the center of her jokes.

        This article was posted by The Huffington Post, notorious for its liberal viewpoint on politics. The article was posted by Michelangelo Signorile, a liberal, LGBT+ activist, Editor-At-Large for The Huffington Post, and host of his own radio show “The Michelangelo Signorile Show.” To find this article the reader must go to the politics section and then go to the Donald Trump subsection to read it. The article is critical of how mainstream media reacted to the dinner. It was aimed at how conservatives reacted to it as well as how moderate liberals reacted. He specifically called the conservatives reactions as “troubling hypocritical,” due to comments that the President has made but has not received repercussions because of them. Confirmation bias is very present in this article due to the constant implication that Wolf’s performance was not bad because Trump has made controversial statements. He also framed the reactions of those who were being insulted and certain groups of the audience. He described people around him “were laughing generously in response to many jokes,” and said that Jeff Zeleny called the performance an “embarrassment” because he was sitting “near White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House officials who sat on the main table on the stage.”

        Even though this article was an opinion piece, it was an example of bias as well as immaturity. By saying what Wolf said was okay because Trump has made controversial statements shows that it is okay to go down to the tactics that people of their opposing parties use. By saying how he and his peers reacted to the jokes had implications that if they believed it was funny and harmless than everyone else should feel the same thing.

        Another problem with the piece is that he did not present any other quotes that  supported the side he stood with. He used multiple tweets and quotes from those offended and used himself as support for his own feelings towards the dinner. Signorile used a total of twelve quotes and tweets of those who were offended and did not use any that supported Wolf and her performance. By only using quotes of those being offended he framed them as overreacting to the situation.

        This article was not difficult to find political bias due to the confirmation bias, and framing being very prevalent. Because of this, it is easy to make the conclusion that this article has bias towards conservatives

 

 

 

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-signorile-michelle-wolf_us_5ae644f1e4b02baed1bb544d

 

Media Bias: The Huffington Post

Liberal Bias in CNN Article

Any time president Trump skips or chooses not to attend an event, the media has a frenzy. His choice in not attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, to hold a political rally was no exception. With an article titled “Trump assails White House Correspondents’ Association amid Michelle Wolf controversy”, CNN writer Brian Stelter covers some of the controversy following Michelle Wolf’s speech at The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, and president Trump’s reactions. The article talks about the speaker at the dinner, and the controversy it has caused. It also goes on to mention some of Trump’s responsive tweets to the event. While the article could have been over the correspondents dinner and the speaker Michelle Wolf with all the mixed review it was getting, CNN did not miss an opportunity to portray Trump in a negative light. Author Brian Stelter dropped quotes such as “Trump chose to skip both dinners, breaking with decades of presidential precedent, and instead hold a political rally”. Through writing this Stelter was expressing that Trumps already controversial presidency continues to cause controversy in the fact that he does not do what former presidents have done, and what is expected of him. Also showing some of Trump’s tweets where he calls Michelle Wolf  “the filthy ‘comedian’ totally bombed”, this article makes Trump seem critical and aggressive. At the end of the article Stelter reminds the reader of the fact that Trump attended the associations 2011 dinner where both Meyers and president Barack Obama harshly criticized Trump in their remarks.

CNNs portrayal of Trump is no surprise to its average reader. CNN is known for having a more liberal view in politics, and usually for disagreeing with much of what president trump says and does.Throughout the article you can see the bias towards the liberal ideals that CNN tends to have. The article begins with stating that “The White House Correspondents’ Association is the newest front in President Donald Trump’s long-running war with the media”. With this opening line you can already see that CNN as a media platform itself, is saying it has a long- running war with president Trump. Basically portraying itself as an opposing force of the presidents. This “liberal bias” as put in Hertzman and Gilens “Corporate ownership and news bias” creates a non objective point of view that can sway how the reader sees information. The best articles are objective and have no personal influences. They state facts from both sides, and do not lean more to the left or to the right. This CNN article is obviously not pro Trump and uses his most recent tweets to show his worst sides. Even the use of “assails” in the title portrays a negative side of the president.

Citations:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/29/politics/white-house-correspondents-association-michelle-wolf-statement/index.html

https://moodle.southwestern.edu/pluginfile.php/155852/mod_resource/content/0/Gilens-hertzman.pdf

 

Liberal Bias in CNN Article

Media Bias Trump and North Korea

On Friday, April 27, 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and South Korean leader Moon Jae-In shook hands and then stepped symbolically over the military demarcation line to the North Korean side to commemorate the start of a process to try to officially end the Korean War with the help of China and the U.S. Additionally, the leaders expressed their commitment to attempt to reach the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. This was a historic milestone in the hostile history between North and South Korea.

In an article titled “After North Korea triumph Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, not Obama,” Harry Kazianis lays down the assertion that Donald Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize because of his “tough stance against a nuclear North Korea and his success in winning approval of international economic sanctions against the North at the United Nations.” However, throughout the article, Kazianis makes it clear that he favors Trump and jumps at any chance to disparage former President Obama resulting in an obvious ideological bias.

From the first sentence of the article, “the meeting would never have taken place if not for President Trump. And for this achievement, President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize,” the author makes it clear what his personal stance is. Throughout the rest of the article, Kazianis repeatedly displays the attitude that Trump should pretty much be given sole credit for this achievement. This can be seen in numerous statements such as Trump “has successfully de-escalated the biggest of threats: the possibility of a war with North Korea where nuclear weapons could have been used in mass, with millions of people dying as a result. This is no small accomplishment” that glorify Trump and devalue the roles of other contributors such as the leaders of North and South Korea. Ultimately, this presentation of ideas isn’t just biased, it’s also unrealistic and not even completely truthful.

In addition to a biased retelling of Trump’s contributions to the summit, Kazianis also uses this article as an opportunity to criticize and belittle the accomplishments of the former President Obama. Although the article could have been written successfully without a mention of Obama, the author presents a strong bias against Obama which seems to be the sole reason for his inclusion of Obama in the article. Instead of having a valuable conversation and looking at contributions realistically, the article attacks Obama various times in an almost childish manner. Kazianis writes comments about Obama that are filled with compept and add to the conflict frame such as “President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for… um … for … well, for giving good speeches and having big plans for making the world a more peaceful place” or “For all these reasons, I say give President Trump the Noble (this was a typo in the article) Peace Prize. And if it were possible, maybe the Nobel Institute should strip President Obama of his prize and give that to President Trump as well.” These comments don’t necessarily add to the political discussion or offer valuable insight, but instead display blatant bias and a lack of objectivity, and add to the current hostile polarized political climate in the U.S.

Finally, another interesting thing I noticed about the article is that although it repeatedly discusses the summit as a great accomplishment of Trump, Kazianis reveals serious doubt of the success of it multiple times. Kazianis writes numerous comments about the summit that contradict themselves. For example, Kazianis questions whether “there ever be a real peace treaty between the divided Koreas and the U.S.?” and then proceeds to answer his questions with a rather curious that praises Trump’s accomplishments, but also seems to doubt the long-term success of them (while also disparaging another leader): “we don’t know – but we’re a lot closer to one now than we were before President Trump took office. And realistically, I bet Kim will never try to open his country to the world in any meaningful way.”

Because of the obvious ideological biases of this article, I think it could be beneficial to conduct an experiment to measure the effects of this type of bias. A random group of participants could be selected and then surveyed to measure their political attitudes. After filling this out, people would read either an article with a large amount of bias, such as this one, or an article with a more objective narration. Then, political attitudes could be measured again to determine if articles that are written with a lot of biases contribute to political polarization. In other words, it’d be interesting to see if reading an article like this would cause people who dislike Trump and favor Obama to lean more left after their views are attacked and visa versa (i.e., if people who favor Trump feel even more strongly after reading an article that validates their views).

 

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/04/27/after-north-korea-triumph-trump-deserves-nobel-peace-prize-not-obama.html

Media Bias Trump and North Korea

Exploration of Journalistic Bias

Last semester, I remember encountering an article, just after President Trump was inaugurated, which stood out to me more than any other article I have ever encountered. At the time, before taking this class, I was unaware of the specific and abundantly prominent journalistic biases that dwelled in it. However, as I have learned more and more about how bias in journalism is structured and committed, I felt compelled to revisit this article with a viewpoint I did not previously have. This article is entitled: “Agitated Trump lashes out at McConnel, Ryan, Obama, Clapper and the Media”, written by Matthew Nussbaum. In this article, I will identify two prevalent and central types of journalistic bias known as conflictual focus and what Michael Parenti identifies as “pack journalism”.

To begin, one must instantly identify the kind of article this is in its entirety. From the beginning to the end, this article clearly possesses a purely conflictual focus which blatantly reveals personal bias within nearly every sentence. Factually speaking, virtually every line in the article, with an exception to a few quotes that also entirely encourage the focus of conflict, is based on opinion and personal discussion, a journalistically dangerous flaw that inhibits the substance and relevance of a report. In addition, these very opinions seemed to possess an inevitably personal spin, which are predominantly negative towards Trump and all affiliated personnel involved. With purely subjective remarks such as, “Trump’s relationship with Congress, which was never strong to begin with, seems to be deteriorating rapidly,” the entire body of the article is riddled with predisposed and largely personal claims. This in mind, the use of labeling, contextual assumption and fallacious reasoning are clearly included by Nussbaum primarily to influence focus on the negative, which was enabled and rooted directly from the concept of conflict itself.

Besides the fact that this article has clearly been categorized as a conflict-fueled report, I began to shift my focus to the less obvious. In his article, “Who Controls the News? The Myths of Independence and Objectivity,” Michael Parenti introduces the idea of “pack journalism” as being “the inertia of opinion” primarily facilitated by “institutional [and national] unison” regarding a given topic. In other words, journalism outlooks are primarily greatly influenced by what is publicly believed to be the perception of the issue. This ubiquitous phenomenon is contemporarily implemented on a grand scale in journalism as it incorporates additional forms of bias such as ownership and ideological bias, and nearly all are present in this article. From the day Donald Trump became President, the public reactionary belief has primarily been identified as negative. To this day, most of the news feed we see about President Trump is some kind of mistake he made or slur he committed, each one possessing a gravely negative and shameful tone. Over time, negative public opinion about Trump and his administration has ceased to halt in power, causing this widely influential perception to permeate within the lines of articles such as this. To identify a pattern of behavior in light of this, Parenti additionally states the fact that “with cyclical effect, [journalists] find confirmation for the material they report in the material they have already created.” Matthew Nussbaum suffers greatly from the impact of this repeating behavioral phenomenon simply because the public focus at the time was, and continues to be, the negative aspects of Trump’s presidential course. Therefore, this article served as a reinforcement to what was probably a previously personal belief not only to intentionally direct the conflict focus on Trump, but to also obliviously contribute immensely to the trend-following journalistic environment and culture at the time. However, I am perceptive enough to surmise that it was not entirely all Nussbaum’s fault. Journalists are subject to corporate and ownership bias in instances such as these. The priority of journalism and news companies is to make money and accumulate loyal viewers, which is not always achieved on a moralistic standard. Loyalty is primarily obtained through satisfaction. Most journalistic firms merely offer to the public supposedly “professional” accounts of what is already believed, at least by the majority, to be true. This in mind, the idea of an ideologically supportive article is welcomed with open arms to nearly anyone. Furthermore, this aids in polarizing political groups, both partisan and nonpartisan.

These concepts in mind, I can say for a fact that it will not be difficult to identify bias in articles such as these in the future. As mentioned earlier, these articles are abundant and welcomed in our contemporary world of journalism and news feed. It takes merely a deeper dissection into the substance of an article to truly understand the intention, classification and power behind it.

Citations:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/24/trump-twitter-storm-attacks-241983

Parenti, Michael. Inventing Reality: The Politics of the Mass Media. New York: St Martins Press, 1986. Accessed on April 30, 2018

I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unware of anyone who has not.
-Sam Ramon

 

Exploration of Journalistic Bias

Media Bias #2 Fox on Planned Parenthood

Fox is known to lean towards the conservative side and their stance on Planned Parenthood clearly supports that. Jeanne Mancini’s article, “Sorry, Planned Parenthood, your Radical Pro-Abortion Culture War is Failing”, is clearly anti-abortion and presents a bias story on Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Cecile Richards. Specifically, the article examines her recent book that mentions the culture of having to apologize for abortion. Fox news, considers her pro-choice stance radical and morally wrong. This article presents statistics that supposedly prove that the majority of Americans do not support abortion and that the pro-choice movement is failing. Moreover, Fox cherry picks what statistics to include and what not like the fact that abortions are a small percentage of what Planned Parenthood does. Planned Parenthood mostly provides birth control, STD screening, sex education, etc. to those who cannot afford it. Instead this article paints Planned Parenthood as baby killers.

In class we discussed how news platforms can portray certain groups as being bigger than they actually are such as, disbelievers in climate change. Here Fox makes it seem like the vast majority of America think abortion is morally wrong. They include statistics such as, “78 percent of Americans said that our laws can protect both the well-being of women and the lives of the unborn rather than choose between them”. When you actually click the link of the study they’re quoting the first thing that comes up is that they found that 51% of Americans are pro-choice, 44% pro-life, and 4% unsure. Technically, more Americans are pro-choice but its almost 50/50. Fox news skewed the data to make it seem as though the majority of Americans were pro-life. This is a clear bias in that Fox is not providing accurate information by leaving out important facts. This article only picks out statistics that support their stance. The tactic happens on both sides and contributes to the polarization as well as miseducation of the public.

Throughout the semester we have discussed what consequences bias media brings, including polarization, miseducation, inaccurate information, etc. It seems to be a common thing for news sources to choose what statistics they include and which they do not resulting in a bias presentation of news. Although they do include the studies they pulled from, I’m assuming that most people do not go and read that study. People trust that their news sources are providing them with accurate data. Therefore, when news sources use statistics to support their bias people take the partial picture as the whole. This leads to the misunderstanding of issues as the public tends to go to one source for a story and then considers that to be the whole story. In reality, articles such as this Fox one choose what side to support and base their story on that rather than presenting  a full and accurate image of what is happening. Statistics are taken as fact thus they are very compelling and appear to be unbiased. Ironically, they are being manipulated to create biased news stories.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/04/03/sorry-planned-parenthood-your-radical-pro-abortion-culture-war-is-failing.html

Media Bias #2 Fox on Planned Parenthood

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