Article Comparison #1

For my first article comparison, I am comparing two news articles, “Michael Cohen says Donald Trump knew hush payments were wrong” from CNN and “Former FEC commissioners: Trump-Cohen ‘hush’ payments not necessarily a violation” from Fox News. Both of these articles cover the hush money given to Stormy Daniels and another woman who had an affair with Donald Trump. They both debate whether the money counts as a campaign finance violation, though they take completely different sides, both committing sins of omission along the way.

In the article from CNN, it reads like an interview with Cohen and his views on working with President Trump but does not discuss the possibility of it not being a violation. The other article from Fox, however, rarely quotes Cohen directly and instead focuses on downplaying the severity of Trump’s actions.

In the first article, the situation is framed as being “wrong,” while using Cohen as a character witness for Donald Trump. He said that “Trump directed him to make the payments because Trump ‘was very concerned about how this would affect the election.'” By using this quote, the author puts it in the context of campaign finance violation while only ever mentioning the exact term when saying that Cohen plead guilty to the charge. The author skirts around the actual issue of what might make this a problem for Trump. I see the purpose of this article as a way to establish more distrust towards President Trump than to make accusations about him breaking laws. In addition to Cohen’s reports on working with Trump, they also mention his deals with Russia. The article states, “Trump repeatedly denied any contact between members of his campaign team and Russians. At least 16 Trump associates had contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign or transition.” By stating Trump’s claim then immediately debunking it, the author is instilling the idea that Trump cannot be trusted. This article is a way of stacking sources against Trump and building up to an offense he could be tried for in the future. It does not suggest that Trump is guilty of one particular thing, but rather that he has a history of lying about his actions in general.

In the other article by Fox News, they immediately address the worst case scenario and confront the issue. The evidence used in this article greatly contrasts to the other article. They draw on the word of former FEC commissioners. They say “there would have been a lot of pressure for Cohen to plead guilty due to the more serious financial charges he was facing related to his business dealings.” This piece of evidence from an authority on the matter seeks to invalidate the idea that Cohen and Trump are locked together. The author uses this as a strategy to separate Trump from the guilty party. In addition to that, they aim to separate the transaction from the election.  The author describes Trump as a “well-known celebrity, and celebrities face these claims all the time.” At the very least, the article tries to prove the legality of Trump’s actions without discussing if they were ethically wrong in any capacity.

The two articles both have a fair level of shortcomings. If someone only read the CNN article, they would only obtain the information that reaffirms a belief that Trump is untrustworthy. This can build into overestimating the effect that these actions might have on Trump’s presidency, like believing it is an impeachable offense, even if the action in and of itself is hard to prove. If someone only read the Fox article, however, they would not receive all the facts on Cohen’s outlook on the situation or on quite the severity of the actions. The Fox article only aims to affirm that the actions were not necessarily illegal and do some damage control. Both articles leave out important perspectives and do a detriment to the set of people that will only read the one article.

Works Cited

Article Comparison #1

Article Comparison #2 – Trump and The Trade War

Recently, in a meeting with China’s president Xi Jinping, Donald Trump expressed his belief that the trade war would come to an end sooner rather than later. The two articles I analyzed discussed many, if not all, of the same issues and controversies surrounding the trade war with China. The two articles come from CNBC and The Washington Post, and both unravel and examine the different political and economic impacts surrounding the recent meeting between Xi and Trump. Both articles, while presenting a factual representation of the event, focus a little too heavily on the conflict frame with a slight watchdog perspective as well.

In the CNBC article, “ ‘I am Tariff man’: Trump Threatens to Restart Trade War if China Talks Fail” Jacob Pramuk, the author, uncover and delves deep into the strained relationship between China and Trump. The construction of this article, although clearly articulating the events, quotes, facts, and official statements, focuses a little too heavily on the tense relationship between Trump and China. The contents of the conflict remain clearly overshadowed by the interesting and entertainment worthy disdain portrayed within the trade relations between Trump and China. The actual headline of the article, as stated earlier, clearly reflects the media’s focus and portrayal of this trade conflict. The use of language tactics also clearly strengthens this not-so-subliminal implication of tension between our leader and China. Words and phrases such as, “sparked concerns” and “threatened” clearly indicate a conflict between the two leaders. [1]

Similarly, The Washington Post article, “ ‘I am Tariff Man’ Trump declares, as China talks show signs of sputtering” authored by Damien Paletta, also clearly frames the conflict between Trump and China. In an almost identical manner, This Washington Post article presents and articulates the facts and issues surrounding the trade war with China to highlight the strenuous relationship between Trump and China. As we also saw with the CNBC article, this article also presents a captivating and clearly contentious headline to indicate a conflict within its contents. Where the CNBC article presented direct pictorial Twitter quotations from Trump himself, this Washington Post article paraphrased Trumps tweets which, either advertently or inadvertently, led to a heightened presence of combative language. This article presented similar words and phrases such as “threatening” while also introducing new and increasingly more antagonistic connotations such as “slap” and “abuse”.[2] The language utilized within both articles clearly presents a conflict frame that focuses on the negative relationship between China and Trump. In effect, their intense focus on the conflict frame overshadows the real-world implications of the trade war throughout the US and the world.

While the main focus of both articles surrounds the conflict between Trump and China, each article also analyzes and patrols the political fallacies and insinuations, about the trade war, published by Trump and the White House. Trump, according to the CNBC article, continues to publicize and promote the positive effects of the tariffs upon the US economy. In reaction to this claim, the CNBC article clarified the inaccuracies and mentioned the negative effects inflicted through tariffs as a way to halt and highlight the mis/disinformation from the White House. Similarly and dissimilarly, to emphasize the confusing and potential mis/disinformation from the white house, the Washington Post article casted skepticism upon all claims made about the trade deal that originated within the White House. Utilizing interviews with economic experts and conflicting reports from the White House, the Washington Post strives to patrol the political entities from promoting potential misleading and volatile information to the media. Each article, by acting as a political watchdog, allows readers to understand and interpret, on their own accord, not only the impacts of the issue at hand but also clarify the confusing and conflicting information provided directly within the White House.

After analyzing these two similar articles, a clear perception that the article, although providing some information, focuses its contents on conflict and criticism rather than economic or societal implications. As noted by Atkinson “This is the information most Americans say they want from the news—an explanation of how legislation will affect people like themselves and resolve problems” (28).[3] The watchdog aspect of both articles provides a helpful insight into the confusion and mis/disinformation surrounding the trade war, yet the articles gloss over important societal and economic implications within American and worldwide society. Graber and Dunaway mention “Media… interpret the events’ meanings, put them into context, and speculate their consequences… The kind of Interpretation affects the political consequences of media reports” (10).[4] After comparing both articles to Graber and Dunaway’s explanation and interpretation of the media watchdog, it becomes clear that these articles effectively achieve steps one and two, yet fail to speculate the consequences on a deep and meaningful level.

Overall, both articles identify and unravel the conflict in a manner that focuses their attention solely on conflict and criticism. The articles nearly mirror one and other in content and analyzation representing the media’s lack of news coverage diversity and a general blind focus on Trump. To the credit of both articles, the trade war and the tension between Trump and China remain important and necessary news information within society. In the end, both articles generally inform, provide new insightful information, clear up confusion, and criticize the trade war story. Yet despite all this helpful commentary, each article falls short on providing insightful implications and consequences of the aforementioned events.





[3]Atkinson, Mary Layton, “Combative Politics.”28.

[4] Dunaway, Johanna and Doris A. Graber “Mass Media and American Politics.” 10.

Article Comparison #2 – Trump and The Trade War

Article Comparison 2: Funeral Framing

Former President H.W. Bush’s passing has caused heartache and reflection of his presidency throughout the country. Many gathered to honor the late President in Washington today and along with all the of the sorrow that filled the room were also the memories of the former President. Two news sources, ABC News and Fox News, reported from different perspectives of the funeral. In their vastly opposite accounts from the funeral, one can see how ABC News decided to take a more emotional take on the event while CNN stuck to reporting more of the memories linked to policies he made within his time as president.


At the beginning of ABC News’ article, written by Roger Fortune, the emotions took over the dialogue of the news piece. Fortuna began by describing the “echoing footsteps” heard throughout the event and how people from “all walks of life” went to celebrate the life of the deceased President. When Roger Fortuna used this diction, one can see how the emotional pull of the event was the highlighting feature in the report. The piece goes on to describe how the President liberated Kuwait from the Saddam Hussein’s controlled Iraq. This seems to be the only factual statement throughout the article. Roger Fortuna reported on the emotions of the funeral attendees and how stricken by grief they were when the casket entered the room. After he takes some time to report on the people’s emotions, he goes on to report the “touching moment” when former Republican Senator Bob Dole “95 years old and failing in health” stood up to pay tribute to his “fellow WWII veteran”. The vocabulary used in this part of the report was aimed to pull at the heartstrings of the audience who read it. The personalization, a framing technique described by Lance Bennett that involves the reporter’s use of emotions more than facts, is evident in the ABC News’ account of the funeral. Personalization, according to Bennett, is worrisome because people do not focus on the facts of the news, but rather, the emotional aspect of the report itself.


The Fox News’ account of the funeral, written by Samuel Chamberlain, was framed in a very different way. The beginning of the article, similar to ABC News’ account, was full of emotion when speaking about the mood of the room. This emotional account only lasted for one paragraph and then Fox News went straight into a rehash of the policies and past roles George H.W. Bush’s had in various aspects of the government. Even when Samuel Chamberlain described the presence of Sally, the former president’s service dog, he tied it back to the Americans with Disabilities Act he created while he was still in office. The rest of the article goes on to speak about the timing of events leading up to the funeral and who was in attendance. This report, shockingly, was a lot less problematic in reporting over the funeral.




Article Comparison 2: Funeral Framing

Article Comparison: Donald J. Trump Foundation

For this article comparison I will be looking at the pieces by both the Washington Post and the New York Times in regard to the most recent updates on the lawsuit and circumstances concerning the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Two years ago, as President Trump was on his election campaign in 2016, his charitable foundation—unsurprisingly named the Donald J. Trump Foundation—spent roughly 3.1 million in charitable donations largely to veteran groups (Associated Press, 2018). This is apparently more than it had spent in the three preceding years combined and prompted some investigation. The investigation apparently yielded results that the charitable donations and existence of the foundation served largely to “to settle business disputes and to bolster [Trump’s] campaign for president, even involving it in a 2016 political fund-raiser in Iowa” (Goodman, 2018). In June of this year, Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump which accused not only himself, but some of his children—Eric and Ivanka most notably—concerning these charges. On Friday, November 23rd, Justice Saliann Scarpulla moved that the case proceed, despite Trump attorney arguments that—as President—he could not be tried for things that occurred before his presidency and that the statute of limitations for this particular case had passed.  Nevertheless, the case has only been given the green light to move forward, so future articles detailing the ruling itself are much anticipated.

I feel that both articles spend about the same amount of time laying out the highlights such as Justice Saliann Scarpula’s ruling, attorney Alan Futerfas’ argument, the reason for the lawsuit, previous rulings regarding presidential culpability in the case of Bill Clinton, Trump’s dislike of the preceding and current Attorney General and his subsequent accusations of political bias against him. Both of the articles seem to follow the inverted pyramid model well, considering that they use the first few paragraphs to cover the origin and content of the lawsuit, the accusations against the lawsuit, the advocating for its dismissal by Trump and his legal team, the tacitness of Trump’s White House representation in this matter and the decision by Justice Scarpulla that allowed it to move forward. For the most part, they do not get into analysis or further expanding on extraneous details until further into the articles, after having explained those key elements.

However, from there is where they start to differ. Following the “meat” of the piece, the New York Times article goes into a more in depth look at the circumstances currently facing Trump and the fate of his foundation. For example, they go into more depth explaining the other lawsuit that has been brought up against Trump for an incident that occurred pre-presidency. This one involves the sexual harassment of Summer Zervos, where it was also ruled that he is not “immune from civil court cases that involve his unofficial activities or actions that took place before he was in office” (Goodman, 2018). Underwood is hoping to win the suit, make the Donald J. Trump Foundation cough up 2.8 million in restitution and keep President Trump from running a nonprofit for the next 10 years. However, this article mentions that the Foundation itself seems to be close to dissolving.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post article seems to go more in depth with the arguments and the reasoning used by both Trump’s attorney and Justice Scarpulla in determining whether the case would be allowed to proceed. Both articles did cite the arguments Futerfas made concerning Trump’s status as president exempting him and political bias fueling the case, but this article went more into the “legalese” and the back and forth between the attorneys and the court justices.  For instance, an area of debate not mentioned in the NYT article centered on whether Donald Trump had been acting as a politically campaigning yet unaffiliated individual when choosing to focus donations towards so many veterans groups or whether he had acted under the provisions of the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The decision Scarpulla came to being that Donald Trump “Mr. Trump was acting in both of his capacities as campaign candidate and president of the Foundation” (O’Connell & Farenthold, 2018).

Additionally, Trump’s attorneys argued that the Trump Foundation had technically never written a check to anything related to his electoral campaign, but Scarpulla retorted that a claim could still be made that Trump “intentionally used foundation assets for his private interests knowing that it may not be in the Foundation’s best interest” (O’Connell & Farenthold, 2018). Scarpulla also shut down claims of political bias and demands that the Attorney Generals be forced to give up documents from their office. She also addressed the lawsuit of sexual harassment that Trump was currently on trial for and how the ruling there would have legal consequences in this particular case.

I noticed a small intellectual discrepancies between the two concerning which of Trump’s children were considered complicit in this lawsuit. The Washington Post article posited that it was his three eldest, Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka, while the New York Times article stated that it was Eric and Ivanka. Also, the WP article would refer to it merely as “the Trump Foundation” while the NYT article would call it “the Donald J. Trump Foundation.” I thought both of these instances could be problematic.

Other than that I found them to be informative pieces which, put together, were quite insightful to the current issue. The fact that understanding the current events necessarily involved an explanation of past events proved helpful to those, like me, who were just tuning in.


Associated Press. “Trump Charity That Gave Away Millions before 2016 Election Did Not Donate Last Year.” Los Angeles Times. November 26, 2018. Accessed November 27, 2018.

Goodman, J. David. “New York State’s Lawsuit Against Trump Foundation Can Proceed, Judge Rules.” The New York Times. November 23, 2018. Accessed November 27, 2018.


O’Connell, Jonathan, and David A. Fahrenthold. “New York State Judge Allows Suit against Trump and His Personal Charity to Proceed.” The Washington Post. November 23, 2018. Accessed November 27, 2018.


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

—Susan Wright

Article Comparison: Donald J. Trump Foundation

An Alarm Bell for Birthright Citizenship

This week President Trump made a pretty shocking claim about his ability to overrule Constitutional law through executive order during an interview with Axios. A number of media outlets took to the story and have stood up to both call attention to and analyze Trump’s claim. For this article comparison I looked at an article from CNN and one from MSNBC. Both articles had aspects of alarm system journalism while the MSNBC article did more to patrol or act as a democratic watchdog over the Constitution.

The CNN article written by Clare Foran focused mostly on the reactions of politicians and key republicans to Trump’s claim about ending birthright citizenship with an executive order. This article spoke heavily about Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan’s response to Trump’s proposed idea. The article made it very clear that Ryan thinks Trump cannot use an executive order to get rid of birthright citizenship. In addition to this, Foran also pulled on quotes by other key figures like Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump himself. While Trump’s comments/ tweets were largely inflammatory and hateful towards Speaker Ryan, Nancy Pelosi’s quotable moments were based largely in political calculus and the fast approaching midterm elections where she expects Democrats will take back the House. Overall, the takeaway from this article was that alarm bells needed to be rang in response to Trump’s comments. The article also left me with a sense of fear as the reader because Trump truly believes that he has the power to overrule the United States Constitution.

MSNBC article written by Steve Benen included some alarm bells as well, including the exact words of President Trump during his Axios interview this past week. Contrasting the CNN article however, Benen used Trump’s quotes paired his own individual voice to make his case about the dangers of what Trump is proposing. He did not really pull from any other key figures close to the story. The focus of this article was to explain what the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees and to provide an aspect of patrol or watchdog journalism to this story. Benen concluded his article by saying, “stunt or no stunt, that’s a posture worth remembering.” In addition to this, clear patrol journalistic techniques were used as Benen denounced Trump’s claim that the U.S. is the “only country” in the world to grant birthright citizenship; a claim that is completely false as “dozens of other countries” grant this kind of citizenship as well.

Overall, both articles had a very left-leaning agenda as they are both liberal media outlets. That being said, the MSNBC article definitely placed a more critical and skeptical frame around Trump’s threat of an executive order to end birthright citizenship and go against Constitutional laws. In addition, the CNN article relied predominantly on alarm system journalism while the MSNBC article was far more willing to critique and tear down the claims made by Trump. It was blatantly obvious that Benen was much more harsh than Foran was in her writing, providing a more critical report on this current event and less of a mere alarm over the shock value of the president’s comments.

Works Cited:

I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who has not. Ashton Eggers 10.31.2018

An Alarm Bell for Birthright Citizenship

Article Comparison #1: Fox News v. Washington Post

In today’s article comparison, I will be analyzing two articles by Eli Rosenberg (2018) of The Washington Post and Barnini Chakraborty (2018) of Fox News, respectively. Through inspecting the two articles, I will be able to look at the different ways in which the authors present a current event. Because the two authors come from differing news platforms on the typical, political spectrum, I expect to see quite a few differences. Both articles will be presenting information about the recent synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh, specifically about the Jewish doctors who treated the man accused of killing Jewish people in their synagogue.

Both Rosenberg (2018) and Chakraborty (2018) give immense credit to the Jewish doctor, specifically the hospital President, Jeffrey Cohen, who treated the gunman. However, Chakraborty of Fox News tended to avoid any parallels to other racially-charged, mass shootings. She simply recites the facts of the event, including quotes stating that the doctors “put their personal feelings aside to help save the life of the man who allegedly claimed he wanted to “kill all the Jews” as he opened fire at a synagogue and murdered 11 worshipers” (Chakraborty, 2018). This Fox News article draws a heavy emphasis on the factual information of the event, as told by the doctors and officials. In addition, Chakraborty (2018) mentions the gunman’s sustained gunshot injuries, whereas Rosenberg (2018) fails to mention the specific injuries of the gunman, only stating that he was in a wheelchair at his trial. One thing that Rosenberg (2018) mentions that Fox News does not, is a parallel to other mass shootings. That is, the Washington Post article states that “the massacre has drawn some unfortunate parallels with the murder of nine African Americans at a South Carolina church in 2015. That man, Dylann Roof, was motivated by a deep racial animus — something Bowers appears to share with him” (Rosenberg, 2018). This quote makes a fair assumption that most Americans would agree with. Therefore, Rosenberg’s drawing of parallels is effective in providing more background and substance to the article, other than factual information.

Both articles make good use of facts and provide a solid framework for the events that took place at the synagogue. However, one bias is shown in the Washington Post. That is, Rosenberg states that “baseless conspiracy theories with anti-Semitic undertones have been circulating in right-wing media circles — bubbling up all the way to the feeds of a prominent Fox News host and a Republican congressman.” This statement may be plausible, and I’m sure many Americans would agree, however, it is an example of media bias nonetheless. This idea is perhaps the most striking difference between the two articles. Besides the use of parallels by the Washington Post (and the lack by Fox News), this media bias stands out when comparing these two articles side by side. Though Fox News’ article is factually-centered and lacking an implicative aspect, the article itself does not reveal any media bias to me. Since both articles are not opinion based, it would be helpful and less biased if the Washington Post stuck to the analytical and factual side of reporting, despite the emotional bias that the shooting may invoke in all journalistic citizens.

Works Cited

Chakraborty, Barnini. “Pittsburgh synagogue shooter tended to by Jewish doctors and nurses, officials say.” Fox News, October 30, 2018.

Rosenberg, Eli. “‘I’m Dr. Cohen’: The powerful humanity of the Jewish hospital staff that treated Robert Bowers.” The Washington Post, October 30, 2018.

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

Winston Cook    10/31/18

Article Comparison #1: Fox News v. Washington Post

Article Comparison: Trump visits Pittsburgh

No matter what information of breaking news you’re reading about sources will always tell the story differently. News media is not free from bias or conflict framing. There have been several stories about President Trump going to visit Pittsburg after the shooting at a Synagogue in the city and depending on what source you read this information on you will be getting a different framing of the story.

To show the differences between news media I will be looking at two different articles. I will be looking at USA Today’s article, “President Trump to visit Pittsburgh Tuesday to show support for community after mass killing at synagogue” and the New York Times article, “Trump to visit Pittsburgh After shooting at Synagogue.”

In the article by USA Today it starts out by explaining that President Donald Trump will go to visit Pittsburgh on Tuesday after “a gunman left 11 dead in a shooting at a synagogue over the weekend.” They point out that President Trump condemned this shooting as an “evil anti-Semitic attack.”

They then quote President Trump saying, “”Well, I’m just going to pay my respects. I’m also going to the hospital to see the officers and some of the people that were so badly hurt. I would have done it even sooner, but I didn’t want to disrupt anymore than they already had disruption. But I look forward to going to Pittsburgh.”

The article then goes on to use much emotion in describing the attack and President Trump’s trip to Pittsburgh. The authors quote Sarah Sanders talking about how the attack was an “act of evil” while pointing out that she was fighting back tears. They also quote Sanders saying President Trump is, “the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren.”

The article ends by describing more details of the attack and quoting of the shooter during the attack. The authors quote him saying “All Jews must die!” while he was shooting. It then follows with the authors using polarized conflict, like Atkison discusses in her book Combative Politics,  to talk about the issue of President Trump saying there should have been an armed guard present. They say, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, took issue with Trump’s suggestion.”

The New York Times article also starts out by describing President Trump’s trip to Pittsburgh but it is immediately framed by heated conflict. They state that President Trump will go to visit Pittsburgh “making a show of national solidarity in the face of anti-Semitism and hate even as he keeps up a steady stream of attacks on his perceived opponents.”

There is more heated conflict in the article as it progresses. The author describes the question-and-answer session with reporters and points out how they blame President Trump for his “divisive messaging and at lashing out at news organizations as it was as expressing outrage and grief over a shooting that claimed the lives of 11 congregants gathered at their synagogue to observe Shabbat.”

The article then goes on with more heated conflict and polarized forces by pinning President Trump against the media. The author then goes on to say, “The combative nature of the briefing highlighted the awkwardness of the moment for Mr. Trump, who has shrunk from the task of expressing empathy and moral clarity at times of national challenge, and who had to be lobbied by his daughter Ivanka Trump and Mr. Kushner to issue a powerful statement against anti-Semitism after the shooting.”

The conflict frame of this article is more towards separating the people from President Trump than condemning the attacks on the Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Both of these articles use a specific conflict frame to tell the story of President Trump visiting Pittsburgh in their own way. The authors of these articles intentionally use these specific conflict frames to shape the story the way they want it to be seen.

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

Ronni Winter

Works Cited

Atkison, Mary Layton (2017). Combative Politics: The Media and Public Perceptions of Lawmaking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Article Comparison: Trump visits Pittsburgh