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Posts Tagged ‘media’

TIME to Navel Gaze

It is sometimes difficult to come up with new things to post about when my past themes provide so much material also.

Back in September, I wrote about the differences between the covers of TIME magazine that Americans see and what citizens in the rest of the world see.

Last week saw yet another wonderful example of my previous thesis that the editors of TIME “think the State-side readers are morons.” I can only again surmise that the powers that be at TIME who decide what graces the cover of that magazine think that Americans are not interested in the world at large and only care about what happens in their land between the “sea to shining sea.”

Last week, the covers that appeared on the magazine that people in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific could see looked like this…

Time_LastWeek_International

The cover shows the aftermath of the central square (called the Maidan) in Kiev, Ukraine, after the president of that country, Viktor Yanukovych, fled. This flight was due in part to the mass of protesters who had camped in the Maidan demanded a more pro-Western lean to the country. Yanukovych titled towards Russia and so there was conflict.

The popular uprising of a European country on the doorstep of Russia that includes the overthrow of its elected President is (and rightfully so) big news. The cover of TIME even admits that the drama is not yet over.

So do what those living in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City see on their covers of TIME? This…

Time_LastWeek_USA

They see a cover about an event that happened in October of 2013. Granted, Stephen Brill’s article about how a group of people rescued the technical failure that was heathcare.gov (the on-line portal that allowed people to sign up for President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act) is a wonderful read, but it’s an event that happened a full five months ago.

To sum up, international readers of TIME see what is happening now in the larger world and which poses questions about the future.

State-side readers of TIME see themselves…in the past.

I have a feeling this trend of TIME will only continue.

As a final thought, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who sees this habit from TIME.

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Boston Tidbits

Random thoughts about the news coverage regarding the bombings at the Boston Marathon

Lawbreakers Lawbreaking?

I have written before about my desire for journalists to delete the anonymous source from their reporting.

This article from the Los Angeles Times has following three paragraphs:

The CIA shared all the information provided by the foreign government including two possible dates of birth, his name and a possible name variant as well, an official said

FBI and Russian security services have been conducting interviews separately in the Dagestan area since the Tsarnaev brothers became suspects in the bombings last week, according to a federal law enforcement official.

The officials asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Read those paragraphs again and you will learn that these unnamed officials are providing information to outside sources when they have not been authorized to disseminate such data.

What other federal officials have provided information to outsiders when they weren’t authorized to do it?

Bradley Manning who currently sits in jail…
John Kiriakou who was sentenced to thirty months…
Thomas Drake who had charges against him dropped…

Notice that the above troika were all charged with crimes.

Why is it that none of the unnamed officials in the Times story have to worry about being hauled in front of a judicial proceedings? Why is it okay for an anonymous federal official to blab to Times staff about what the CIA, FBI, and Russian security services knows but it was not okay for PFC Manning to give his material to WikiLeaks?

Is Dick Van Dyke His Role Model?

On a lighter note…

This article from The New York Times has this sentence (on page 2 of the online article)…

Mike Doucette, 27, a chimney sweep who lives on the street, described seeing one brother shot and fall to the ground.

What the Dickens?!? In the second decade of the 21st Century, there are still chimney sweeps? Not only that, but there areĀ  chimney sweeps in the United States of America?

Who knew?

And does Mr. Doucette sing “Chim Chim Chir-ee“?

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I wrote earlier about how I thought it was curious that most media outlets in March were describing the fight in Libya as being between the “pro-Gadaffi forces” and the rebels.

I asked, back then, if the armed forces fighting for a country is called “an army”, why wasn’t this conflict being described as being between the “Libyan army and the rebels”.

Well, with the toppling of Gaddafi and with some bodies recognizing the legitimacy of the Libyan transitional government, I guess it’s okay again to call the armed forces fighting for a country the “army” or “government troops”.

Case in point is BBC News and this October 8 story where the first line is Libyan government troops have moved on the city from two directions.

Notice the armed forces fighting against the pro-Gaddafi forces are not labelled by BBC News as “pro-Mustafa Abdel Jalil forces”, because, well, that would be weird, wouldn’t it?

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The media, regardless of format (i.e., television, radio, etc.), is biased. I am not talking about the Fox News vs MSNBC-conservative vs liberal type of bias. I instead am making the assertion that there is no such beast as an objective news outlet. All news outlets are subjective – there is no way around this fact.

Simply by the mere fact that a radio station airs one story over another or a television program broadcasts one soundbite over another or that a blog forum decides to highlight one thread over another means that a choice has been made and that choice was not objective, but was subjective. A news outlet cannot air or print everything so choices are made on what to promote and those choices are subjective.

Now, some news outlets may strive for objectivity but it is an unattainable goal. However, while some strive, there are some outlets that do not. It is therefore left up to the media consumer to decide whether a story, program, or thread is striving for objectivity or is driving towards another agenda.

I have two examples I wish to highlight.

The first comes courtesy of an article written in the October 17, 2010, edition of The Washington Post (page B3 for those who want to read the dead-tree version). Entitled “5 Myths about Sarah Palin“, this piece lists and debunks five misconceptions about the 2008 Republican nominee for Vice President.

That’s all well and good, but the reader should note who the author is. Matthew Continetti is an associate editor of The Weekly Standard, a conservative periodical. It should come as no surprise that an editor of a conservative magazine would seek to defend a potential presidential candidate for 2012 and so maybe the debunking of “myths” is not being done for an objective “let’s-educate-the-population” motive.

In addition, Mr. Continetti is the author of The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star. Now it really should come as no surprise that a man with a book about shoring up Sarah Palin would take to the pages of the Post to continue to shore her up.

Kudos to the Post for printing the facts at the end of Continetti’s piece about where he works and what his latest book was, but it’s at the end of the piece where it can be lost to the reader.

Example Number Two comes from a commercial I heard on a radio station. The advertisement was for a television program called Energy Now. The commercial spoke about how the program would deal with energy issues affecting the country.

Energy Now is produced by Clean Skies Network, LLC.

Clean Skies Network is run by the American Clean Skies Foundation.

Accoring to Sourcewatch.org, American Clean Skies Foundation was founded by Aubrey K. McClendon, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy.

Chesapeake Energy happens to bill itself as the second-largest producer of natural gas.

Oh, and they also happen to run a television program devoted to energy issues. If you see stories touting natural gas and dismissing other forms of energy, one should view them a high degree of skepticism.

It’s rough being a consumer of media in the 21st century. One should always know the sources of the media they consume.

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