Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Media is Non-Biased, Right? (Part 1)

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The Growing Backlash Against Liberal Media Bias
Conservatives also find hope in the growing number of citizen journalists and watchdog organizations engaged in the journalism business
By Cliff Kincaid -- Bio and Archives 
October 30, 2015
If you think media bias is bad now, brace yourself.
It’s no secret that students these days are being taught to be biased in the direction of the “progressive” point of view. The trend in journalism “education” is even more pronounced.
For example, Burlington College in the People’s Republic of Vermont offers a degree in “media activism,” symbolized by a clenched fist. The college says, “The degree is conceived explicitly for those who want to become media activists. Through technical training rooted in history and theory, students are encouraged to apply media making technique, craft, and art to issues of advocacy, activism and social change.”
One of the courses toward the media activism degree at Burlington is called “Historical Activism and Social Movements,” in which “Students will examine the social, economic, demographic, and political reasons that drive people into the streets demanding change, and the organizing and media making strategies which make it successful.” The course will “examine the much discussed contemporary movements (Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring, and European Austerity Protests) as well as historical and lesser known examples (Black Power, WWI, abolition, anti-corporate globalization and anti-colonial struggles).”
We found a similar course, “Media Activism and Social Movements,” at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
What is clearly missing is any discussion in these course descriptions of the Tea Party movement of grassroots conservatives as a development of interest or study. Instead, these courses are consumed with the idea that “social change” comes exclusively from the left and moves the country in a “progressive” direction.
The Tea Party movement, however, has been a tremendous force for social change in the United States‚ against the power of socialism. That’s one reason why so many Tea Party groups were targeted by Obama’s IRS.
As a result, the American Center for Law & Justice is representing dozens of Tea Party, conservative, and pro-life organizations in a federal lawsuit against the IRS.
Media disregard basic elements of professional journalism.
Tea Party organizers are now running for Congress. Becky Gerritson, President of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama, is a candidate for U.S. Congress in the very conservative 2nd district. She’s trying to take the Republican nomination for Congress away from Rep. Martha Roby, a John Boehner loyalist.
Left-wing activist groups increasingly make up the ranks not only of students but professors. Last year we reported on a feminist professor of communications at the University of Michigan who wrote a column in a socialist newspaper about the academic basis for hating Republicans. Susan J. Douglas had begun the column with the statement, “I hate Republicans” and declared that “marrying a Republican is unimaginable to me…”
When the media disregard basic elements of professional journalism, such as reporting who, what, when, where, why and how, the result can only be desperation on the part of news consumers, eager for alternative sources of news and information.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tapped into this discontent when he aggressively attacked news media bias at the CNBC Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night. “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” he said, noting the personal attacks on the Republicans. “How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?”
As we discussed in our recent column, “The Vindication of Reed Irvine,” the Republican presidential candidates who attack the media, or are attacked BY the media, are going up in the polls.
Look for Senator Cruz to benefit from his masterful response to the CNBC “journalists” who moderated the Wednesday night debate.
He summarized the questions they were asking of the candidates this way:
•“Are you a comic-book villain?”
•“Can you do math?”
•“Will you insult two people over here?”
•“Why don’t you resign?”
• “Why have your numbers fallen?”
Cruz is now asking people to “join me in declaring war on the liberal media agenda and taking back our country to deal with the substantive issues the people care about.”
Public disgust with media bias is one reason why Internet-delivered television systems, such as Roku, are growing in acceptance. Viewers can buy a Roku device for under $100 and bypass cable and satellite systems like CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News. But the real attraction is that independent conservative groups are able to take advantage of the technology and develop a channel, for a relatively inexpensive price, and compete for viewers. Roku is the future of television. It gives people true freedom of choice.
Conservatives also find hope in the growing number of citizen journalists and watchdog organizations engaged in the journalism business.
The Center for Medical Progress, which is releasing the Planned Parenthood videos on the harvesting of baby parts, describes itself as “a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances.” The group has made national news and has sparked the creation of a House select panel within the Energy and Commerce Committee for the purpose of investigating abortion practices.
James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, who almost single-handedly took down the Alinskyite ACORN organization, has recently been exposing questionable, if not illegal, conduct by the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. He wrote the book, Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy.
These are a few of the groups promoting real “social change” that the liberals won’t highlight in their courses on “media activism.”
Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of the AIM Report.
Cliff can be reached at cliff.kincaid@aim.org
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"Media Bias: Going Beyond Fair and Balanced"
In "Media Bias: Going beyond Fair and Balanced," Vivian Martin uses the works of Tim Groeling, a political scientist at the University of California, to discuss the selection bias in television networks.  “Groeling is hoping to advance scientific (and public) knowledge beyond this mush with research he used to demonstrate selection bias in television networks’ decision to run or withhold the results of presidential approval polls” (Martin 1).  A good example of media bias is how the media is presented in the 2008 Presidential elections. 

Groeling collected two data sets of the “unobserved population”; in-house presidential approval polling by certain networks, and the networks’ broadcasts of such polls on evening show news.  The results were pro-Democrat bias.  CBS was less likely to report a five-point drop in approval for Democrat, and a rise in Republican gain. FOX News showed a significant pro-Republican bias in what they showed in their Special Report program. As Groeling states, “People can identify all the news that journalists saw fit to print, but it’s more difficult to determine what they choose to ignore” (Martin 1).  People can only make a decision on more of what they see, than what they do not.  
Tim Groeling’s work is one of the few social scientists to research and discuss partisan bias in the media, because most “scholars hate the word ‘bias’ because they feel like they’re entering the ideological fray,” says S. Robert Lichter, head of the Center for Media and Public Affairs (Martin 2). Journalists’ efforts are becoming similar in which Barack Obama was targeted for more negative statements than John McCain in early to mid-2008.  Groeling observes that the context of news making and newsworthiness, cannot be ignored during these disproportionate coverages.  The same sources and experts are used blatantly, and quotes are used from the same journalists.  If a source doesn’t fit what a story is supposed to promote, they rely on standard comments and preconceived ideas. What occurs is the tendency for everyone to see a story in the same way.  News stories also come out the way they do from the interplay of campaign logistics and journalist pressures from competitors to break out into front pages or evening news.  
Abortion is another constant battle with lopsided coverage of media bias.  Nancy Myers discusses in “Hitting a New Low in Bias” the coverage of one of the top news stories of abortion: the murder of Florida’s abortionist, David Gunn.  “The truth is, to be pro-life is to be anti-violence. No one who is truly pro-life could ever advocate or engage in violence, whether shooting an abortionist outside an abortion clinic or tearing an unborn child apart inside that clinic.  But for the media, that truth doesn’t fit their fiction of what ‘pro-life’ means” (Myers 1).  A form of censorship, not one mainstream pro-life spokesperson was interviewed and quoted.  Instead, 'kooky', inarticulate individuals were shown to promote the idea that anti-abortionists are wrong in their campains.  "Abortion Bias Seeps into News" describes how the business ethics of reporters are now to promote their individual preferences and opinions rather than to allow a story to be fair and impartial.
"Events and issues favorable to abortion opponents are sometimes ignored or given minimal attention by the media" states David ShawBias against abortion becomes forced upon the reader to relate with the opinions of the media.  The national coverage of David Gunn didn’t even focus on the death of an abortionist, but the acts of the Pro-Life Movement.  “…pro-life activity leads to violence” (Myers 1).  Myers states that “many in the media, particularly the broadcast media, increasingly feel about such quaint, old-fashioned constraints as truth and objectivity.  All too often they succeed in distorting the truth…”
Francesca Massey
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