Exploring Bias #2

For my exploration in bias, I will be investigating the article, “Pacific Life Yanks Ads After Tucker Carlson’s Dig That Immigrants Make U.S. ‘Dirtier’.” In this article, the author discusses the repercussions of some comments made in Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. Carlson reportedly said, “We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer, and dirtier and more divided.” This shows both sides of a contentious issue around immigrants today. On one side, Carlson argues that immigrants should not be permitted in this country while on the other, a company removes their sponsorship from his show because his comments do not align with their company’s views.

Although this article tries to seem unbiased by displaying both sides, the author formatted it in such a way that it displays a conflict frame. This happens in two main ways, substantive debate and heated conflict (Atkinson 2017, 36). Substantive debate is showcased in the article as the author places Tucker Carlson’s comments in between the reactions of people to those comments. Heated conflict is shown by the harsh language used by Tucker Carlson in his attempt to garner reaction from the public. He claims that the liberal population is “weaponizing social media” in order to strip him of his sponsors. Heated conflict, in this case, is not the author’s fault in the article, as she is simply quoting Carlson. Carlson’s words do, however, emphasize the substantive debate put into use by the author, further increasing the conflict felt within the article.

In addition to that, Carlson mentions a concept used in Jones’s book, Losing the News, though not necessarily in the same context. He brings up “media watchdogs.” In Jones’s book, the media serves as a democratic watchdog. This entails making sure the government is held accountable (Jones 2009, 49). Carlson, however, interprets the term as people are trying to police the media, though in a negative light, “it is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed ‘media watchdogs,’ weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech.” As we discussed in class, the media serves as a watchdog, but it is also the individual’s responsibility to critically analyze the media we are given (Kovach and Rosenstiel 2011). There is bias in the statements made by Tucker Carlson and covered by this article, and it is our job to ensure that the media we receive is taken actively instead of passively.

Works Cited

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

Jones, Alex S. 2009. Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kovach, Bill and Rosenstiel, Tom. 2011. Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pacific-life-pulls-tucker-carlson-ads-immigrant-dirtier-comment_us_5c144fede4b049efa7526386

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Exploring Bias #2

Exploring Bias: ABC News

Media bias can take many forms. When one first thinks about media bias, they probably consider the biases that create calls of ‘fake news’: ideological, racial/class, or selection bias. However, there are many biases that seem less offensive and hurtful, but are just as powerful. For my second ‘Exploring Bias’ post, I will be evaluating the bias of an ABC news article that is not politics-centric. The article was written soon after the new ‘Captain Marvel’ trailer had dropped. It gives an overall description of the trailer and why it is so important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I chose this specific article for several reasons. After seeing ESPN tweet the trailer, I realized how important ownership is in media. I was genuinely so surprised to see the trailer on ESPN’s timeline even though we had read the Gilens-Hertzman article about corporate ownership. ESPN, like ABC News, is a Disney-owned company; Disney also owns Marvel. Disney is one of the large business conglomerates that controls multiple news organizations in various media spheres. When looking strictly at the ABC News article, ownership bias is extremely clear in numerous ways. For a start, this article about the Captain Marvel trailer is one of many articles about Marvel on the ABC News website; ‘Marvel’ is its own subcategory.

A second reason of obvious ownership bias is the trailer placed at the top of the article. The trailer is included in a segment pulled from ‘Good Morning America’, an ABC News product, which features anchors talking about the film as well as an interview with Brie Larson, the lead. This slightly relates to what Gilens and Hertzman discuss in their article; media companies with TV programs as well as newspaper (or online newspapers) programs cover the same news and they sometimes overlap. This also furthers the ownership bias because Good Morning America is a product of ABC News, which is owned by Disney, who owns Marvel.

When analyzing the words and phrases the author uses in this article, ownership bias is still prevalent. The title of the article starts off by praising the trailer and upcoming movie as “featur[ing] incredible action”. This is one of several praises used by the author to influence the reader into thinking the ‘Captain Marvel’ trailer is amazing. Throughout the article, the author details the developments in the plot that the trailer has made. Likewise, a couple tweets are embedded, both from the ‘Captain Marvel’ Twitter account. These tweets encourage the audience to engage with the tweets and follow the Twitter account, benefitting Marvel, Disney, and ABC News. Personally, the most interesting part of the article is the disclaimer at the very end. It states “Marvel Studios is owned by ABC News’ parent company Disney”. I have never noticed this disclaimer at the end of any articles I have read but I think it makes the ownership bias obvious. While ABC News might be required to state their affiliation to Disney and Marvel, many regular citizens might not know the connection without reading this disclaimer.

Due to the non-political nature of this article, many biases are not present. However, the ownership bias demonstrated by the author and by ABC News is apparent. In order to understand this bias, one must have previous knowledge of which companies are owned by which and the effect that has on news. Understanding ownership bias is key to being able to effectively analyze a news source.

 

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Culture/captain-marvel-trailer-features-incredible-action/story?id=59595751

Gilens, Martin, and Craig Hertzman. “Corporate Ownership and News Bias: Newspaper Coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.” The Journal of Politics 62, no. 2 (2000): 369-86. doi:10.1111/0022-3816.00017.

 

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

Exploring Bias: ABC News

Exploring Bias #2- Wisconsin Democrats v. Republicans

The Huffington Post is a politically left-leaning news source and like other news media, it is not free from bias. I will be analyzing the bias present in the article, “In Stunning Power Grab, Wisconsin Republicans Pass Bill Weakening New Governor,” published on The Huffington Post by Kevin Robillard. This article comes after what was already a heated midterm election and adds to the long-term feud between the Democrats and Republicans.

The first type of bias in this article can be noticed in the title. Lance Bennett is his book, News: The Politics of Illusion, speaks about a journalistic bias that favors “dramatic and personalized aspect of events over more complex- and potentially more engaging- underlying political realities.” The dramatization bias can be seen in the title, “In Stunning Power Grab..” The author chose this title to use the dramatics of it to engage a reader and have them believe the event was more dramatic than it actually may have been. It also alludes to the fact that Democrats may believe Republicans are power-hungry and do not want the other parties to have any power.  

Throughout the article in addition to dramatic bias, the article shows bias in heated conflict and polarized forces, like Atkinson discusses in her book Combative Politics. The author states, “Wisconsin’s lame-duck, Republican-controlled state Legislature passed on Wednesday a host of measures designed to kneecap Gov.-elect Tony Evers, other Democrats elected to statewide offices and hurt the Democratic Party in general.” This is the first sentence of the article and he immediately pins the Republican party and Democratic party against one another. The author is using language in this sentence, and throughout the article, to make the Republican party look like the bad guy. It also uses the verb “kneecap” to add to the heated conflict. He uses this type of language to make it seem like all the Republican party is worried about is hurting the Democratic party.  

All through the article the author, Kevin Robillard, continually pins Republicans against Democrats like they are rival sports teams instead of political parties doing what they think is best for their state and country. This is continually adding to the bias of heated conflict and polarized forces. Near the end of the article the author states, “What didn’t flip was Republican control of the state Senate and Assembly, thanks in large part to the gerrymandered nature of the legislative districts.” This quote again shows that the author wants the reader to believe that this event is even more dramatic than it actually is. The article is taking advantage of the fact that his readers are already angry about the lost election and want to blame everything that is going wrong on the other political party, creating very polarized forces.

This conflict frame of dramatization, polarized forces and heated debate, is just adding to the already deep divide we have among political parties in our country. This type of bias is hard to recognize for either side because it tends to agree with what Democrats, or in another case Republicans, already believe.   

I have acted with honesty and integrity and am unaware of anyone who has not.

Ronni Winter

 

Works Cited

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/in-stunning-power-grab-wisconsin-republicans-pass-bill-weakening-new-governor_us_5c06e268e4b0680a7ec9a289

http://www.lanahanpublishers.com/politics_and_gov.asp

https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo25681072.html

 

Exploring Bias #2- Wisconsin Democrats v. Republicans

Exploring Bias #1- Sending Troops to the Border

In today’s news media it is almost impossible to find a source that is free of bias. I will be looking at the article “Trump sending 5,200 Troops to the Border in an Election-season Response to Migrants” by the New York Times and analyzing the bias present in the article.

There are a few different types of bias in this article by the New York Times. One of the main types is ideological bias. The New York Times has not hesitated to critique President Trump in the past and point out that they do not agree with his ideology and agenda. This article is not absent of this. Throughout the article the authors repeatedly call the president “Mr. Trump” instead of President Trump, which shows a bias of ideology. The authors also write, “The rare use of the active-duty military to bolster Mr. Trump’s campaign message has intensified criticism that the president is using the military for political gain.”

The New York Times is using ideological bias in the fact that their ideology does not agree with use of military. President Trump is not necessarily using active duty military for political gain, rather he is using it because he believes military action will solve the border dispute.

Like Atkinson points out in Combative Politics, there can be bias in how a journalist chooses to frame their article. This is definitely present in this article. The authors use bias in the framing of this article by framing in heated conflict.. The authors use heated conflict in the framing of their sentences by using heated words, like in this quote, The military buildup is the culmination of Mr. Trump’s efforts in recent weeks to appeal to his most fervent supporters and to focus the nation’s attention on the migrant caravan.”

Throughout the article the authors use more heated conflict by choosing to use words like, “massing,” “seized,” “warning darkly,” “aggressive,” “dwarfed,” “shatter,” and many other heated words. The authors also choose to always refer to the soldiers as “armed soldiers,” again, to add to the heated conflict of the border issue.

In addition to using this heated conflict, the authors choose to frame their article with polarized forces. As I stated before the article continues to call him Mr. Trump instead of President Trump. This is adding to the issue of polarized forces by alluding to the issue of many Democrats who have claimed Donald Trump is, “not my president.” This framing pins Democrats and Republicans against one another.

As we can see it is very difficult to find an article that is free of any bias, especially an article about such a hot top topic like immigration. The bias in this article forms a specific debate that the author wants to put forward. They want to make the issue seem as aggressive as they can and they want to pin Democrats and Republicans against each other and that is why the used the specific framing that they did in this article.       

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

Ronni Winter

Works Cited

https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo25681072.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/us/politics/border-security-troops-trump.html

 

Exploring Bias #1- Sending Troops to the Border

Exploring Bias #2 – Trump and his Family

Since his election in 2016, not only does the media focus its attention on Trump, but it also scrutinizes his family as well. The attention surrounding his family surrounds a wide array of subjects from fashion, events, and controversies. The first family, throughout American history, continues to remain a central figure within American political and societal news, with this tradition continuing with most recent Trump family. Recently, an article published by Esquire, not only mentioned a few controversial within the Trump family, but delved deep into many of the issues under debate in a less than objective manner. Jack Holmes, in his article surrounding the Trump controversies, suffers from an obvious ideological bias through his use of language and supporting evidence.

In the article “The Trump Family Is Strangling the American Republic With Conflicts of Interest”, Jack Holmes utilizes language within his article that clearly indicates a left wing ideological bias of the news coverage at hand. The first, and extremely important, indication of an ideological bias lies within the language of the Headline. Holmes’s use of the severe “strangling” not only implies an important issue at hand, but it incites urgency and violence within its tone.[1] The significance of this particular language in the headline implies a level of bias throughout the article’s entirety. True to its implications, the article contains a vast amount of words, phrases, and sentences that undoubtedly point to a heavy left leaning bias. As a central point of focus, Holmes begins his identification of scandal within the Trump’s through the analysis and scrutiny of Donald Trump Jr. In an effort to undermine and trivialize DTJ, Holmes refers to him as ‘Junior’ frequently throughout the article.[2] This unsubtle taunting DTJ receives throughout the article allows for a clear example of the word choice and language used consistently throughout the article in an effort to criticize and rebuke the actions and efforts of the Trump family and administration. Although this taunt may seem severe, harsher manifestations of the authors clear criticism and disdain amply litter the articles entirety.

Not only does Holmes utilize language to portray his severe criticisms, but he provides plenty of evidence and examples to indicate and reaffirm his own ideological beliefs. The articles contents contain an inordinate amount of cited references to support each and every one of his controversial claims. The use of each of these references, although based in fact, clearly indicate the intention of persuasion of not only convincing the audience of its authenticity, but also of imparting his negative perception of the Trump family and administration. A prime example of his utilization of negative influencing evidence, lies within Holmes’ reference to the verification of the Saudi journalist murder conspiracy. A clearly linked article provides the textual evidence to assert his negative implications on Trump’s association with a prime suspect. The use of language also ties directly into the overall persuasion of Holmes’ left leaning biases. Although the evidence, all piled together, does imply an ugly association to corruption and other controversies, his utilization of insults and strong language solidifies the complete distaste for Trump and his family within the article.

While analyzing and interpreting the ideological bias within the article, the indication and influence of corporate ownership became not only apparent but clarifying. As articulated and verified by Gilens and Hertzman “The financial interests of media owners influence not only newspaper editorials but straight news reporting as well” (383).[3] The Esquire news branch stems from the already left leaning men’s magazine, also named Esquire. The ownership and content also presented within the magazine, clearly indicate and illuminate the overall reasoning behind such a divisive and nonobjective article.

Objectivity, as defined by Alex Jones, “means playing it straight without favoring one side when the facts are in dispute, regardless of your own views and preferences” clearly articulates the boundaries that surround objectivity. (82)[4] Although, many, if not all, or Holmes’ facts stemmed from fact, the clear disregard for impartiality discredits and delegitimizes the credibility of the overall article.

[1] https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a25393233/donald-trump-jr-conflict-of-interest/

[2] https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a25393233/donald-trump-jr-conflict-of-interest/

[3] Gilens, Martin and Craig Hertzman , “Corporate Ownership and News Bias: Newspaper Coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.” 383.

[4] Jones, Alex S. “Losing the News.” 82.

 

Exploring Bias #2 – Trump and his Family

Exploring Biases

Election season is upon us and as Beto O’Rourke gains popularity across Texas, reporters are in a frenzy to predict what this will mean for the state. Democrats and Republicans alike are crunching the numbers in hopes of gaining insight into the implications of the popularity of such a blue candidate in a red state.

Buzzfeed writer Lissandra Villa is one of such people who have not only joined the Beto wave but is also curious about the effects his campaign could have, not just in the senatorial election, but in down-ticket elections as well. Her article is riddled with political calculus as she describes different factor and the implications it could have statewide and into the future. In addition to this framing, her left-wing bias is made apparent due to her only mentioning Republicans twice in her entire article and maintains her focus purely on Democrats. Villa claims that the Democratic Party has hopes that this push for Beto

“could eventually turn Texas blue.”

She continues her methods of political calculus when she says that the O’Rourke campaign is not just affecting his own race, but “may have a long-term legacy for the [Democratic] party in Texas.”

From this point, Villa shifts her focus to other Democratic campaigns and the downstream effects that the O’Rourke campaign has brought them. She quotes Diane Trautman, a Democrat running against an incumbent for county clerk, who says “My race, of course, is at the bottom of a very long ballot, so this excitement that he generates… is turning into voter engagement. And that has resulted in more people being interested in all levels of government.” Villa then moves into more political calculus by claiming that a “high energy” candidate at the top will help Democrats across the ballot. Throughout the article, Villa makes predictions that the popularity that O’Rourke has built will carry the Democratic Party through the election, and even if they do not come out ahead it will begin shifting the tide more in favor of a blue state.

The author also barely touches on the opponent of O’Rourke, Ted Cruz. She only mentions his name in regard to the senate race and his run for the presidency. From here Villa continues to show her Democratic bias from shifting away from talking about Cruz and once more explains how amazing it is that this senatorial race is so close and the implications this will have for Texas. She says

“Maybe, just maybe, this is the year Democrats have a chance at winning a statewide seat for the first time since 1994. And that hope, however slim, has impacts all down the ballot.”

Throughout this article, Villa repeated the same points, that Democrats are finally creating a foothold in Texas. By continually repeating the same pints she showed her ideological bias and her obvious favoring of one candidate over the other. Despite this piece being over the senatorial race, there was no polarizing forces and no use of the conflict frame, which is extremely interesting given that this is typically applied in order to show one candidate as superior over another. Instead, Villa put all of her time into showcasing the positive effects that Beto O’Rourke has had for Democrats and the possibility of a blue Texas through the use of political calculus.

Due to the breadth of political calculus that was utilized during this article, I applied Atkinson’s criteria for the conflict frame from Combative Politics. This allowed me to expose her ideological biases even further.

Exploring Biases

Exploring Bias in the Midst of a Media Frenzy

In this past week, Brett Kavanaugh has caused a frenzy in the media. Here is a story with so many layers that reporters can take it and run, despite their biases, and can come back to as different aspects are thrown into the frame. I was able to evaluate the breadth of the conflict frame through applying Atkinson’s criteria from Combative Politics and through this means I was able to see that the ideological bias in this article runs fairly deep, despite it being so subtle.

Eric Bradner and MJ Lee from The Washington Post took advantage of this as they reported on the events from Thursday’s hearing with Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford. This article begins somewhat tame by simply laying down the commonly known facts” that Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault and that he has denied the allegations. However, the authors begin to take creative freedom and apply colorful language to key in on the reader’s sense of pathos. They use phrases such as

“extraordinary Senate Judiciary hearing turned into a bitter, partisan brawl”

to create the atmosphere that the hearings took place in before further building up their story. This quote also sets the foundation for the authors to build a conflict frame around this article in order to pique the reader’s interest and vilify the Republican party.

Due to the upcoming midterm elections, this article is laden with political calculus, attempting to lay out all the possibilities that this hearing could lead to, and polarizing forces that show the authors ideological bias. The most apparent usage of political calculus is when authors say this hearing “could have major implications in November’s midterm elections, with polls showing female voters abandoning the GOP.” They contrast this with what they saw as Trump’s political calculus, which they showcased through a screenshot of one of his tweets from Thursday evening. It read “Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”

Using this tweet from the president is also a polarization tactic because of the emotions he alone evokes. The conflict frame continues to build with quotes like “Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas used their time to assail the Democrats” which creates a violent image that evokes a negative emotion towards republican “attackers,” so to speak. With this quote, the Bradner and Lee directly exhibit their ideologies through taking a defensive stance on the Democratic party and Blasey Ford. The article further utilized polarization as it created an “us vs. them” mentality through powerful quotes from senators such as when Graham said “Boy y’all want power. God, I hope you never get it,” which was directed towards the Democrats. This tactic was also used when quoting Kavanaugh as he called the entire hearing a “circus” in an effort to minimize the severity of what was happening. By noting that Kavanaugh directed all his anger at the Democrats instead of the accuser herself, this article further revealed heightened tensions between the parties while putting limited emphasis on the actual accusations themselves.

This article chronicles the tensions between political parties far more than it does the actual case and accusations themselves. This showcases the medias use of the conflict frame when reporting on current events in order to make a story that would take one page go on for six, all while keeping the reader’s interest and feeding ideologies, even subtle ones, into their mind.

read the article here (Linked)

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

Maya Clausen

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/27/politics/brett-kavanaugh-hearing/index.html

Exploring Bias in the Midst of a Media Frenzy