Media Distortion and Partisan Politics

Today, an article by CBS leads with the following statement:

Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs.

Here is what the platform in fact says:

The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. It opposes using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations that perform or advocate abortions. It says the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.

As I’ve written in the past, I’m a moderate Republican, or Libertarian who votes Republican.  I believe in a woman’s right to choose.  And in the past year, I’ve grown more and more disenchanted with the Republican Party’s drift to the right on social issues.  But CBS transformed the Republican Party’s statement, that an “unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” into a total ban on abortion.

If that is what the Republican Party meant to say in their platform, they would have said as much, or completed the sentence with something like:  “. . . therefore, we support a complete ban on abortion.”  Even Todd Akin, to the far right on abortion rights, supports the legality of abortion in some very limited cases.  The platform clearly opposes public funding for abortion.  If the Republican Party opposed abortions in all circumstances, I don’t think they wouldn’t even need to bring up the public funding issue, since there would be no abortions to fund.

Romney has stated his position on abortion:

“My position has been clear throughout this campaign,” Romney said. “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

While it concerns me that the media distorts Republican positions, it mishandles the Democratic Party in much the same way.  For example, when President Obama announced his support for gay marriage earlier this year, Fox ran the following headline:

 

Obama Flip Flops, Declares War on Marriage.

Fox switched its headline shortly thereafter to a somewhat less partisan one:

Obama Flip Flops on Same Sex Marriage.

Let’s examine the original headline.  First, the use of the word “flip flop,” which remained in the updated headline, is unnecessarily provocative.  A more favorable commentator might say, “Obama reexamines beliefs and supports equal treatment of gays.”  Or the headline could read, “Obama changes opinion on gay marriage.”  The latter headline, I might add, is value-free and accurate.

And in the case of gay marriage, it is very telling that many Republican commentators view support for gay marriage as destructive to traditional marriage, or marriage between a man and a woman.  Republicans often speak of liberty.  But Republicans who oppose amendments that allow gay marriage seem to place their own moral values over the liberty of individuals to seek the same legal benefits granted heterosexuals.

Democrats, on the other hand, also speak of freedom, but limit that freedom as it applies to business and industry. When it comes to liberty, I am not sure that either the Democrats or the Republicans apply it with any consistency to their party’s platform.  Each side picks and chooses what we should and should not be free to do, just as reporters pick and choose how they present complex issues.

That brings me to the reason for this article.  The obligation of the media is to report on the news objectively.  Editorials are an exception, of course, but even an opinion piece is more persuasive if it provides the facts first, without a partisan filter.  The problem with a straight-up news piece that leads with a distortion of the facts is that everything that follows is subject to question.  Instead of informing and educating, this sort of writer filters the truth and in doing so, loses the chance to change the minds of his or her readers.

If a writer really believes in her argument, she should provide the facts that both support and belie it.  A fearless writer, after all, is unafraid of being proven wrong.  And a civilized debate is one in which the participants seek not victory, but truth.  To me, that best serves the public discourse.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on media distortion and the public discourse. Please be respectful and civil as you analyze the issues.

 



113 comments on “Media Distortion and Partisan Politics
  1. I just had a conversation with my oldest son this morning about this very thing. He is very politically minded and informed but his youth (in college) sometimes gets in his own way. He was making some claims about the GOP platform and I told him he needed to read the source material before making public statements. We must learn to come to our own conclusions using a variety of sources, especially primary ones.

    Should we expect the media to be unbiased? We should but we won’t get it. That ship sailed long ago when corporate companies took over the news and the additional competition from cable, internet, and social media left the news sources fighting for an audience.

    This is why critical thinking skills must be exercised and developed. The truth will never been in a headline or even one article. I have some strong political views but I continue to get my news from sources on all sides so I can determine what the truth actually is.

  2. Love your comment above Kelly. And you’re one of my favorite people to talk to about politics because I know you try as hard as I do to think critically and garner the facts from the as many sources as possible (or even directly from the primary source when that’s practical). And I really like what you said to your older son. We try to teach our children to think for themselves.

    For example, we brought my daughter down to watch the RNC but we also had her watch the DNC (particularly Clinton, as an example of what a woman can become!) . . . and while we try to impart our values (well, my husband and I disagree on a lot of political points) we also try to teach our children how to think and where to go to find the facts.

    I don’t know if we can ever remove our filters. Even what we decide to report on indicates what we think is and isn’t important. But we can try!

  3. It’s gotten to the point where “reporting” forces me to do my own research to find out what really happened. Very disappointing and disheartening.

  4. I knew I liked you for a reason. 🙂 I detest the media for this reason. As students of journalism, we are taught to be objective, discover relevant facts, present them acurately, and write with integrity. All of that seems to be thrown out the window as soon as journalists enter the field. I’m sure it’s a gradual slide into mind-numbing drudgery. I don’t really know anyone who entered journalism with the intention of promoting their personal beliefs. I’m sure there are some, but by and large, most people get into it for other reasons. I put the blame on two parties: the viewers and media owners. Media moguls and politicians are kissing cousins, and there is no time like election time for inflammatory reporting.

    • Aw, so good to see you here my friend! Thank you! And I’m sad that as well as journalists are taught, those lessons go out the window under the pressure of real life practice. And yes–I’m also thinking it’s a gradual slide. And yes: I also blame both viewers and media moguls. For as long as we’re asleep, they will keep feeding us glorious drivel.

      Ha–kissing cousins!

  5. CarolB says:

    I’m glad that you acknowledge it goes both ways. I was a journalism student in college and I worked in TV stations and I never heard anyone say, put your own spin on it or we are for this party. I think that the writers are individuals and they report what they hear. But, if you are wired differently, you hear things differently. My husband and I disagree on most all things political. We can hear the same speech and then disagree on what was just said. When we then hear the commentators from CNN and from FOX, it’s as if they were listening to two different speeches. I am dumbfounded saying that is not what I heard at all. I try to get to the source, check the facts, and I have to go with my gut feeling and not what some talking head tells me the speaker really meant.
    I liked Christie’s speech last night up until he started saying, “liberals think this”. On every point that he stated what he believed, he followed with “liberals think this”. On all of those talking points I disagreed with him on “what liberals think”. He has no idea what I think and I’ve never heard a liberal say the things he was stating as facts. I would have liked him more and respected him more if he just stated his thoughts and the direction he wants to go without trying to bash the other side. Guess that’s politics!

    • Hello Carol, and thank you so much for your comments above! I think what you wrote is true: that we are individuals and we are wired differently . . . that wiring affects how we report on what we see and hear. That reminds me of Fessinger’s cognitive dissonance–our filters often make us unable to perceive what we see in the same way. I’ve been aware of this from an early age, and it really frustrated me in law school, because no matter the issue, there almost always seemed to be two viewpoints on how it should be resolved. The jurists I respected the most were the ones who occasionally crossed the aisle and voted against their party–to me, these were the independent-minded ones.

      Christie’s speech last night struck me as mean-spirited. Often I love him but last night, as my kid sat beside me, I saw it through her eyes and what I saw was a man attacking rather than persuading. I enjoyed Ann Romney’s speech for what it was. My favorite political speech four years ago was Hilary Clinton’s speech at the DNC. I had my daughter watch that one with me, along with Palin’s speech at the RNC.

      I digress. It’s hard to make sense when my kids keep walking into my room for more late night kisses. Goodnight and I hope you have a lovely evening.

  6. Fascinating, well thought out post, El. Politics are tough to address in blogs, I feel, and you do a spectacular job.

    As a health writer, I really try to write without bias by showing all sides of controversial issues, while providing supportive, valuable research and facts. I’ve been frustrated to find some of my favorite magazines sharing non-editorial pieces that feature one small study supporting a particular health claim, without addressing the fact that countless others speak to the opposite. This is just one example of non-editorial pieces being biased, if simply by the omission and single-viewed selection of facts.

    Another thing that irks me: advi-torials—articles that seem like factual pieces, that are funded by products or companies. *sigh* It’s so tough to weigh out fact and fiction nowadays… I really wish many “news,” “health” and “nutrition” books were categorized as editorial.

    The more non-fiction writers seek well-rounded and factual information, the more likely we’ll be to present the same for our readers. I think reading responsibly has taken on a whole new meaning in recent decades… So much of sorting that out is left up to us. I love your conclusion. It’s not always an easy way to function, but I believe it’s the best.

    • Thank you so much August! I’m a bit of a political junkie but have been a little bit wary of wading into the arena, but what the heck, right? LOL.

      I love what you wrote above regarding the omission and single-viewed selection of facts. It happens far, far too often, whether it be in health articles, science or medical articles, or of course political and legal matters.

      Groan re advi-torials–just, groan! I also wish that there was a better demarcation between factual or news articles and editorial or opinion or even advi-torials.

      Yes re non-fiction writers seeking and presenting well-rounded articles to our readers. I’m still thinking about your article a couple of days ago, about the highly-sensitive personality. That informed and educated . . . it made me think and want to learn more. Oh shoot, and of course it made me want to write about it, too.

      Gah! I’m all over the place tonight! Thanks so much, as always, my friend.

  7. Dawn says:

    Love, love, love! Yes – please let us enter into more productive public discourse! Please let our leaders learn how to work together so that more things can be done in order to create a better society for EVERYONE! (That’s my hope and my dream and I’m sticking to it!)

  8. Ed Carr says:

    The Media, as it is, has become another way for people/industry to persuade the American people on issues that affect so many others. They do need to return to giving the facts and ONLY the facts in news reports. Leave the opinions to the other segments. El, you are truly an inspirational woman and I’m glad to have come across your page. Thank you for what YOU do.

    • Yes Ed, absolutely! I agree 100% re the need for factual reporting–how I miss those simple (albeit boring?!!) news reports (no I don’t think they were boring!).

      Aw thank you so much, my friend, for your kind words. You made me grin!

  9. El, You know I stay wide from politics for many reasons. I want to tell you though that your post is great. Your writing superb. You wrote such a clear and concise explanation of your point of view that is so right on. I agree with you about that! If you are going to report something be straight forward. It’s such a confusing forum the world of Politricksters and the main stream media. Thank you for opening a mature and decent conversation on this matter. You rock sister! xo Ella

  10. I love this blog, although I confess to grappling a bit with the final paragraph.

    I prefer news to be reported in such a manner that I have no idea whatsoever the political proclivities as its reporter, so I nodded and cheered as I read. Suddenly seeing references, then, to believing one’s argument and fearlessness about being proven wrong threw me after a piece addressing so eloquently and beautifully why news should be reported objectively and, particularly, the objective words chosen carefully. Where is the “proven wrong” in the straightforward presentation of facts (as they present at the time of reporting), which is what I seek from my news? After a few reads, I think what you are saying is this: that a reporter should be able to present all facts objectively, regardless of what she personally believes. Is this correct?

    In any case, I do not personally believe opinions are made, changed or typically influenced by “debate.” One-on-one or very small group discussions for the sake of discussion and discovery give people a chance to slowly and quietly explore the bases for the own opinions, and that I can support in principle. But I personally dislike debate, especially in public fora, and I dislike being prompted to join in political debate when that is not in my nature nor desire. I research fastidiously and quietly, and listen as I am able, but I am neither interested in persuading in a broad forum nor being preached at or generally being presented with anything other than the facts. Saying “I am voting for Obama” was hugely uncomfortable for me, because there are about a million other things I would prefer to discuss, all of which have to do with personal preference and none of which have to do with my braveness or lack thereof.

    I do enjoy exploring political topics in small scale discussion with friends and friendly acquaintances, but that’s where it stops for me. That is my personal proclivity and doesn’t imply at all I think people are wrong for enjoying political debate. It’s just not my bag, baby.

    Thoughtful, eloquent, gorgeously written pieces like this absolutely are. You’ve written something I’m going to think about for some time to come, and for that I am (not remotely surprised!) but extremely grateful. 🙂

    • Hello my friend! It’s so good to see you here tonight!

      Now, let’s see, my final paragraph (rueful chuckle–the writing of this final paragraph was interrupted by an ambulance visit so I am a little nervous that it’s unclear — let me go reread it). Okay, I think it could have been written more clearly. What I was saying is that even when writing an opinion piece, a writer who really believes in their argument will go ahead and provide all of the facts, even the messy ones, the ones that hurt her final conclusion. In a straight reporting piece (just the news, no opinion), a writer should try to select all of the facts and present them objectively, sans filter (sort of like what August was discussing above . . . what we choose to present in a news piece also can be misleading).

      But in an editorial, a fearless writer will research the issue and present all of the facts AND the best opposing argument. For example, before I published this post, I asked one of my friends who I respect very much, and who I also know to be a staunch liberal, for a good example of right wing distortion. But you already know I’m fearless (silly giggle).

      Now, as far as debating: that reminds me of something my husband always says . . . “Has anyone ever changing his or her mind about abortion about arguing about it?” At this point, he shakes his head and wrinkles his brow and goes back to reading whatever book he’s reading on his iPad.

      Confession: I think I love debating. I loved the courtroom and I often miss it terribly. But I love civilized debating, where you can argue, hug it out and grab a drink (well, a coffee) on the way home from work.

      I thought you did great the other day stating your opinion, and I applaud you for it (but I hope it didn’t cause you too much discomfort). And no one would ever question your bravery, dear friend.

      Smiling at you, and I hope the breeze blows ever so gently as you catch one last glimpse of the blue moon tonight! It’s glorious here on the East Coast!

      • I love your comment just above so much I want to lick it. I know that’s neither eloquent nor intelligent, but it is 100% true. In fact, I personally certify it as accurate. Hugely significant certification, am I right? (Of course I am. About 4% of the time!)

        As for the last paragraph, I don’t know if it was the paragraph or me. I strongly suspect the latter after an exhausting week that fortunately (a) will conclude with time away and (b) did not involve ambulance travel. Either way, it’s flat-out a beautiful paragraph. It was just hard for me to make the transition, somehow; I tried to find a way to say “I loved it and its imagery even as I was trying to sort out all its implications,” but I don’t know if that quite came through.

        I love how invigorated you are by debate, and I love that you have partners your equal in love and acuity at it. I continue to love this post, and your parting comment.

        I’m glad I posted that thing about Obama, even though I had to stop myself from deleting it about 98 times. You probably won’t see many posts like that again!

        Love the way you make me think, love the way you get me feeling, and love you, my friend.

  11. We do not have ‘news’ media any longer, what we have is Party affiliates. While it would be a lovely, perhaps even a joyous thing to say they are obligated to bring unbiased ‘reporting’ to us on the issues of the day this is no longer the case. Hasn’t been for years and thus it falls to us, each of us to read, investigate and determine for ourselves the ‘truth’. The real problem of course is most people won’t investigate for themselves which leaves us with an ignorant electorate.

    The Platforms of the Parties are what they are. If we are honest, they will always be offensive to the other side in one way or another. Over the past 12 years I think both sides have become increasingly more offensive to the other side.

    The position of the GOP has been stated clearly on abortion, you have provided a piece of it, but not the entire very long and detailed, onerous and ugly piece. There are many more very nasty pieces of social injustice in the GOP platform of 2012 (my opinion only). In addition to the ugly social issues there are reasonable economic positions, but many come with a great sacrifice for the middle class and very little for those who have already gained much. Frankly, I find little to celebrate in the GOP platform of 2012.

    Yes, the Democrats have just as many issues and problems but their Platform isn’t published so I can’t rip into it yet, I am sure there will be plenty there to rip them about there was last time. The one thing I am fairly certain of is it won’t seek to disenfranchise members of society or ‘take back’ the country from anyone.

    Each election cycle we come to a place where we have to decide for our selves what is important. What our values are and what we are willing to sacrifice in return for our gains. If we sit in front of the TV or read the newspapers in the hope we will get ‘fair and balanced’ reporting, well we deserve what we get after the vote is counted.

    • Hey Val!

      I groaned when I read “party affiliates!” And I agree that it’s our responsibility to research the facts BUT it is very time-consuming to go through the overblown, puffy primary documents. As an ex-lawyer, I cringe when I try to read any piece of legislation. And the tax code-gah! How many pages is that now?

      Well, hell, you know we’re not going to agree on the GOP. And as far as a piece of it, I was quoting from a CBS article. As far as things to celebrate in the platform, I find many, including a focus on decreasing government waste, fostering economic liberty, jobs creation, tax reduction (more money in my bank account makes me so very happy) . . .

      I look forward to reading what you have to say once you rip into the Democrat’s platform!

      Have a great day hun.

      xo,

      El

  12. sjlewis39 says:

    It’s true that there is some bias in the news…..most apparently in Fox -Republican conservative and MSNBC -Democrat liberal but to my eyes most of the others do a good job of presenting facts as facts and opinions as opinions. The reporter was correcting in stating that Republicans seek to ban all abortions because when you state that “The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” as a fact instead of a belief that is held by a certain portion of the population you have already distorted the argument by framing it in a fallacy. That fallacy, if accepted by the majority would indeed lead to a ban on abortion. It is a backdoor attempt to make the belief of ‘personhood’ for the fetus and accepted legal precept which it has never been. Not even in the bible.

    • Hmmm. I’m pro-choice so I’m not sure we’re arguing about the abortion issue. I still don’t think the platform as written argues in favor of a total ban on abortion, but I agree the language comes pretty close.

      I think that if folks accepted the concept that personhood starts at conception, that this would logically lead to (at minimum) a decrease in abortions, but none but the most extreme members of the right-wing argue for a total ban.

      As far as the Bible’s view on fetuses and the definition of life, I agree that it does not address it.

  13. Doug says:

    I get your drift concerning objectivity and subjectivity but all text drags around a subtext. So I feel your GOP platform example problematic. “unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” Granted that could be consider “Political Party Speak”, but it also has the air of legislative intent.

    Suppose that was actual legislative language and you were a Judge who had to decide whether a women must carry an unborn child conceived by rape or incest to term. “Can not be infringed” is the lynch pin and if the authors wanted any wiggle room they would have written so. Therefore, I have no choice but to read “can not be infringed” as meaning a total ban. And to suggest that the GOP platform committee would be so politically inartful as to simply roar “A Total Ban” is akin to saluting Todd Akin’s public relations acumen.

    And it makes no difference what Mitt Romney may or may not feel about the issue. And I’m not trying to argue abortion, right or wrong, here. I’m suggesting when reading a political document, story or writer it helps to read the political subtext.

    What I really think wrong with political reporting is the chicken shit notion that both sides are always equally egregious on every issue, tactic, position of the day.

    Nice post

    Regards

    • Thank you Doug, and it’s nice to meet you.

      I agree that the language you quoted above is problematic. I think it comes close to establishing legislative intent. Hmm. If I were a judge was one of my favorite games to play as a young lawyer (grinning at you) . . . you make a very good point there. Yes, if a judge accepted that premise, the logical conclusion that would follow would be a conclusion finding the abortion illegal.

      Thank goodness that Roe and Casey remain the law of the land.

      Yes, political subtext matters for sure.

      That said, I think my underlying point still carries weight.

      And I laughed about “chicken shit notion” because for sure I do have plenty of them. So nice to talk with you–I hope you come back to visit!

      El

  14. william wallace says:

    Many parents in struggling through life / at the end of the day
    look at their children & look at the political state of the nation
    and come to the conclusion that abortion should be available
    at any stage of the pregnancy / such be every females right,
    as far as politicians / if abortion in being freely available then
    most of them would not be alive today without a doubt it they
    would have topped list / they the very first in line for abortion.

    Take BARACK as example (what a fraudster) he broke every
    promise made / anorher election comes & he plays the same
    game / Promises Promises Promises full of empty Promises…
    if to win coming election he needs the female vote. Thus to
    entice the female he has conjured up a “Healthcare Bill” that
    promises all to the female. A “Healthcare Bill” that in reality..
    will exist in name only as the reality of its funding only exists
    in the “Twilight Zone” it all in truth a political mirage with one
    aim that in retaining BARACK in office / that after a election
    victory he can then do that which not being discussed, that
    of the bombing as the invasion of IRAN / thus but continue
    justifying the USA’s ever expanding military force in it’s bid
    having world military political domination. That they having
    already brought all the people of the USA unto bankruptcy
    that millions of americans now reduced to poverty that the
    american people’s having been stripped of all rights / even
    the right of a just trial removed ( but making no difference ).

    There those of the military as of the political / whom having
    long lost the plot / they are completely half-baked religious
    fanatics whom somehow having escaped a fate of abortion.

    • Thanks for stopping by William. I hope that not all of your prognostications prove to be accurate! I’m not a huge fan of the President but I am thinking that like any of us, he’s doing the best he can in a really tough situation. I mean, man, I sure wouldn’t want his job, you know? Have a lovely day. ~el

  15. susielindau says:

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed El! Woohoo! Do a happy dance!
    I LOVE your post and your point.

  16. pegoleg says:

    Great, thought-provoking post, El. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Knocking Susie over while doing the happy dance, too!

  17. Margarita says:

    I agree with you that the bottom line of media should be shedding light on the truth – and on distortions. I feel that by analyzing and interpreting what is said, instead of simply reporting it, we are being directed as to how we should think instead of having the tools to work that through for ourselves. We seem to have drifted into a society that is directed by the extremes and is finding difficulty finding footing in the middle ground of moderation. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Perhaps it’s time for moderates, of all parties, to start squeaking more loudly. Thanks for your insights!

    • Well-said Margarita, especially re “moderates of all parties, to start squeaking more loudly.” I keep hoping that a third party will come along that will represent a bridge for the moderate in both parties. So glad to meet you and I hope you stop back soon! ~el

  18. Raunak says:

    News media across the world suffers from the bias disorder. I think it is the result of journalism moving from just presenting facts, to analysis and interpreting those facts for the audience. The bias seeps into their “well informed” opinions and the only way to correct this disorder is to return to fact based reporting, free of opinion. Great topic for a post!

  19. sylvanfox says:

    It would be nice if the media would take some responsibility and report truthfully. That’s supposed to be the reason for their existence, not whatever they call themselves doing now. They have a similar trick with images. For example, when it was Hilary vs. Obama for the Democratic nomination for last election, I remember seeing many newspapers and magazines with both of them on the cover, Obama smiling and waving and Hilary scowling. They do the same thing pretty much every election.

  20. After reading this post, I’m left with one question:
    Is there any other logical interpretation of “The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed” than a total abortion ban?…Yes, I know it is not explicitly stated, but this politics we’re talking about…Most political speech is deeply imbedded in euphemism…

    • Thank you Michael. As I mentioned above to a similar comment, I agree that it while it is not explicitly stated, it is not a big logical leap to get from “fundamental right to life that cannot be infringed” to a “total ban on abortion.” That said, I still think there is a distinction in the language used in the GOP Platform and the description of it by CBS.

      Regards,

      El

  21. This RESPONSE is to the very specific indictment in this post that “CBS transformed the Republican Party’s statement” or more accurately, their ‘stance on abortion’.

    NOW as to the FACTS:

    This citation is from the PDF file (http://www.gop.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012GOPPlatform.pdf), entitled Republican Platform 2012, We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government, “The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life”, pages 13 and 14:

    “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

    NOW…an objective responsive:

    Your assertion that CBS News IS TRANSFORMING THIS Republican Party Platform STANCE on “The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life” into a TOTAL BAN ON ABORTION—is patently FALSE.

    The first sentence from “The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life” listed above supposes that the “the unborn child” has the “right to life” that “cannot be infringed”. The logical conclusion to this supposition is that NO abortion will be allowed since the unborn child’s right cannot be infringed. Is this not so?

    Furthermore, the second sentence supposes that the Republican Party will indeed “support a human life amendment to the Constitution.” Moreover, the Republicans, if elected to office, WILL ENDORSE legislation to amend the “Fourteenth Amendment’s protections” and make them “apply to unborn children.” If that doesn’t clarify the Republican Party’s stance on a TOTAL BAN ON ABORTION, I don’t know what will. CBS News was NOT lying nor “transforming” anything in their article.

    Your post, in my opinion (thankfully I also have the same 1st Amendment right), does not deserve to be FRESHLY PRESSED. Thank you for reading and posting this “objective” comment.

    • I hear you and I appreciate and respect your opinion.

      • Appreciate you posting this—many bloggers wouldn’t.

        • Oh, hell, I don’t usually write about politics, but if I’m going to, I need to be able to take the criticism as well as the “attagirls.” The criticism makes me a better writer and thinker, you know? And thanks for posting the GOP Platform above. I will take a look at it when I get a free moment.

          • It’s been a pleasure meeting you as well. Although I took exception with one point in one of your posts, I hope that you and I are representative of a majority of Americans who can indeed interact in a respectful manner whether we’re in total agreement or not.

            I do tend to get a little “passionate” when writing about politics these days because no one is willing “to do the leg-work” and drill down to the actual documents referenced (and many times NOT referenced) by the so-called news media or as Valentine Logar put it, “party affiliates”. That’s an excellent way of expressing it.

            I’ll never be a fan of Fox News and you’ll probably never be one to the Huffington Post, but at least we have courage that drives us to take the risk and put ourselves out here.

  22. bennylee says:

    Thank you for your post and thoughtful response to all the comments. Politicians, and their allies, have worked to mislead rather than inform for years, and it saddens me when those in the media play into their hand. It was striking to me, watching Paul Ryan’s speech last night on CNN, how Wolf Blitzer, John King and others were so careful about how they pointed out some of his blatant lies. I was glad they said something, but anyone watching who knows anything about politics knows they only touched on the very surface of the speech’s inaccuracies and only briefly at that.

    In reflecting on it, however, I don’t think the media is culpable on their own. The problem they have is that, when they do call foul on something, or point out inaccuracies, those they are “accusing” claim media bias and people believe them. It’s a deadly cycle which has led media execs being terrified, I think, of losing audience over a perceived bias. That’s got to change and, until it does, you’ll see media organizations playing it safe rather than telling the truth.

  23. aparnauteur says:

    In a day and time when even our google searches are skewed to match our leanings, political or not, you bring up an interesting point. Honestly, though, I don’t know what to make of it. This trend is so pervasive that it is close to impossible to purge the system; it’s up to us to filter stuff and rely on many reputable sources to decrease the probability of being misinformed. Very well written post. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  24. saibelle says:

    I really enjoyed your take on this as a right leaning Libertarian, and someone generally pissed of at media misinformation it was interesting to read. I’ve generally stopped reading news stories and gone digging for the documents, speeches or bills they are talking for because it is so hard to find information that is unbiased out there.
    I myself was a little shocked about the platform release and some of the things that were in it. (I just saw the bullet list condensed version) Personally I was surprised there wasn’t more on abortion in that one other than as it related to healthcare, and was shocked to see gay marriage on the very top. I’m sure the longer document won’t make me happy either but I should probably get reading on that so I can have my own take vs the media.

    • Hello Saibelle! I’d love to read your take on the platform! I am really dismayed that gay marriage (which I support) is at the very top. My real passion in politics is protecting individual rights . . . and this includes property, life and of course all of the rights protected under the 1st Amendment. I need to read the whole document as well (sigh).

      It’s so nice to meet you–thank you for stopping by!

      ~el

  25. dmill96 says:

    As onestillbreathing points out the language in the platform is unambiguous about advocating a total ban (cannot be infringed is cannot be infringed, usually literalism is promoted rather than denied in theocratic parties). But even if somehow we can spin “infringe” to allow abortion under some cases, what about “It says the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.” Now it would be nice if everyone could be the 1% and be able to buy any luxury they want, but 99% of us typically get medical care via insurance. Since, “subsidize” would include the payments in Affordable Care Act, then only the ultra-rich could have access to private-pay abortion (and even if banned in the U.S. just fly their daughters to some enlightened country). So the platform advocates both a total ban and just as backstop a total ban on payments. It goes without saying the platform bans Planned Parenthood. So exactly what “choice” is left to 99% of women?

    In past years the GOP has trying to conceal its real agenda and just use dog whistles for the right while trying to seem reasonable to moderates, but it seems this cycle they are willing to come out and say what they really mean, at least to women and any parts of the social agenda. So spinning it not to be so actually isn’t in sync with stay-on-message of the stage managers.

  26. I find your post refreshing in that it offers a balanced view of how the media distorts both sides of the political storm raging in America. However, I disagree that it is the media’s obligation to report on the news objectively.

    Ideally, this is true and the media should operate this way because it would lead to a better participatory republic/democracy where citizens would be better informed instead of being misled and manipulated to vote for one candidate over the other based on lies. But the media, like the political parties seems to also be dividing between the political spectrums. It’s as if the country is splitting itself into two. Last time the country divided this way, we had a bloody Civil War.
    There is no written law that says the private sector media has to be honest and balanced. In theory yes, it is what is taught in journalism ( at least when I earned my BA in that major in 1973) but in practice no. In practice, the owner calls the shots and sets the over all tone

    However, there is a nonbiased, nonprofit site that helps voters make better decisions and two of the founding sponsors of this site were Presidents Jimmy Carter (Democrat) and Gerald Ford (Republican).

    The site is called Vote Smart (dot org.) and the volunteers that work together to provide unbiased and honest information for voters to make decisions are both conservatives and liberals working together.

    http://votesmart.org/

    In fact, I’ve used Vote Smart’s Vote Easy page to discover the candidates that are most aligned with my personal/political beliefs. To test it out, I decided to make all liberal choices on the issues to see who would be recommended and then made all conservative choices and in some cases the choices changed but in some stayed the same—surprising.

    http://votesmart.org/voteeasy/?utm_campaign=voteeasy&utm_source=votesmart&utm_medium=featuredad

    Vote Easy offers a page for the Presidential candidates and another page for Congressional candidates.

    http://votesmart.org/voteeasy/?utm_campaign=voteeasy&utm_source=votesmart&utm_medium=featuredad

    In conclusion, I avoid reading about the election as much as possible in the media and rely more on sites such as Vote Smart to help with my decisions of who to vote for. Before voting, it is up to each voter to find his or her answers from reliable sources avoiding those that demonstrate an obvious bias either way.

    • Thank you so much for the amazing information, Lloyd! And indeed, there is no legal obligation for the media to report objectively, and their failure or success in providing balanced news coverage does by no means abrogate our obligation to become an informed citizenry. Thanks again for the useful links!

  27. Dounia says:

    I really enjoyed reading this and I thought it was extremely well-written. I agree with a lot of your thoughts, and unfortunately the media really does distort facts and events to suit their angle. I know that it’s nothing particularly new to media, but I feel like these past years we’ve reached a new level of media distortion and “shocker” headlines. Sometimes it feels like they want to make news and be the headline, as opposed to reporting the actual news.
    It’s because of the way media presents stories that I think it’s now more important than ever that the viewers have the ability to sort through these stories, think for themselves and make their own minds up, not just blindly follow/believe what the media spews out. Having discussions in classes, at home, with friends and family, also reading up on independent sources can help with that, and I believe it’s very important.

    Ok, I’m finished with my long-winded answer now! But I thought your post was very interesting, and it was a good post to find on the freshly pressed page, so congrats for that!

    • I loved reading your really not-so long winded answer! So nice to meet you Dounia! And thank you so much for your kind thoughts.

      I agree 100% that we, as citizens, need to have discussions here, in class, at home, etc., and to keep up on our independent reading, in order to remain an informed citizenry. So good to meet you, and please come back soon!

      ~el

  28. Words do indeed matter. Romney said, “I’ve been clear throughout this campaign….” Shortly before the campaign, he had a decidedly different position. If only the media could do a complete job of covering things, and could cover them all the way around. I agree, the adjectives chosen are always interesting. Wouldn’t it be interesting if they were omitted, and whe used simpler words like “changed”? Wouldn’t it be interesting if there was a way to vet what candidates say in a real forum of exchange? Where changing positions are challenged, where there is follow-up to answers, and where candidates (and parties’) feet were collectively held to the fire?

    My only quibble with your piece is that you said that CBS made the leap from “right to life” to “total ban”. I think in fact they made that leap from “opposes using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations that perform or advocate abortions. It says the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage” which would make it impossible for many clinics to offer abortions and for many women to get those abortions because of the expense. A position like that could be construed as the elitist establishment making a service impossible for someone to take advantage of, thereby for all intents and purposes abolishing it while attempting to retain high moral ground of not having voted against it or made it illegal. Rather like relocating a “mission” to a nicer area of town, perhaps on donated property, so that they can feel good about themselves while missing the fact that the mission needs to be near the people need its services (i hope you all got the oblique reference to a WKRP episode there).

  29. S.C. says:

    I totally agree with you. The media always sensationalizes issues to get more viewers (or, these days, to get more views.) There’s no use for accurate headlines or even accurate articles in a world that doesn’t reward accuracy and honesty.

    One of the news media’s most vital jobs is cutting through the BS that politicians try to give the people. Unfortunately, they’re failing miserably at this job. I’m not bothering to watch the debates coming up because there’s simply no point – the anchors running the show won’t ask the candidates the hard questions or try to pin them down in such a way that they’ll have to talk about unattractive parts of their platforms. Meanwhile, the networks do their best to shove independent and third party contenders out of the race by focusing on every silly, tossed-off statement and pandering comment the President and Gov. Romney make. The whole thing is a waste of time.

    • Thank you S.C., and welcome! And you’re right about the debates. They will be silly, at best. I would love it if a serious third party option developed, but for the moment at least, I don’t see how that could happen. So we’re stuck with what we have, which is far from perfect. Nice to meet you! ~el

  30. Mandy says:

    Thanks for pointing this out! This is exactly the sort of thing that has been driving me nuts with this entire election. How different are Barack and Mitt? They only ‘really’ differ on the social issues of Abortion and GM (and if you do a miniscule amount of research on Romney, even that is debatable). The more I watch the news, the more I see it feeds people roughly the same themes. The useless name-calling and mudslinging they air doesn’t really educate people or encourage citizens to find out the truth- that is far from what the media portrayal of elections is about. Rather, I feel as though I have to “Love or Hate” either candidate without really knowing why.
    Check out how both parties treat Ron Paul, who actually talks about freedom of choice and educates his audiences as he speaks. The media treats him like a ‘crazy grandpa’ who ‘rambles’ about topics like un-sustainability of war and the first amendment. What makes you think is not always what gets aired…

    • Hello Mandy! I loved that you brought up Ron Paul and how the media treated him as if he were nutters. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but I still would have strongly considered voting for him. Crazy or not, he made a heck of a lot more sense that the mainline parties often make. So glad to meet you! ~el

  31. ZekeRunning says:

    El, Loved your blog on this topic. As a child born in the mid 60’s of a hard-core union loving democrat father and a strong willed moderate republican mother, (I describe my self as a right leaning independent) with one foot in the baby boomer generation and another in the gen-x times, one major thing I see as missing in politics, media and much of society is common courtesy.
    Instilled in me from both parents was the notion of respect and courtesy to all. It was okay to disagree but be nice about it. Everything has become so polarized and black and white on the extreme ends of the left and right that it clouds and distorts the rest of the spectrum.

    • Aw Zeke, I can tell already we’re going to be friends. First, I too love the notion of respect and courtesy being extended to all. And second, you’re a runner! Whee!! I could talk running and sports all day (and often do). Welcome, welcome. And I hope to see you around soon–I just visited your place as well.

  32. Evie Garone says:

    Hey great piece, El quite thought provoking! I have been thinking similar thoughts myself. I love the way you express yourself and congrats on being FP’d. I wrote a piece entitled “Does the Media MAKE the News or Report It!” a while ago if you’re interested in perusing it! This election is going to be the difference in the Future of America…so please people get out and VOTE!!!!! Fortunately, as you said we have our own brains to sift the wheat from the chaff and decide what of the medias blathering is true or nonsense so let’s hope the constituency does just that in November and we save America!

    • Hey Evie! Great to meet you! I swung by your place and I like what you got going on over there! I’ll try to swing past and read that one as well (but by all means please feel free to post the link here)! And thank you re getting FP’s!

      Argh! Using our own brains–but mom, I don’t wanna, lol!

  33. Abandon TV says:

    I am going to try and break down the ‘issue behind the issue’ of abortion, so please bear with me 🙂

    The ‘issue behind the issue’ is: violence.

    A government is (by definition) an agency which operates exclusively through the initiation of violence (or threats of violence) against the rest of us. (guns, clubs, tasers, cages etc)

    Specifically, a government is the only agency in society which declares that it has the monopolistic legal right to initiate violence against the rest of us in order to achieve its aims.

    All governmental laws, policies and regulations are backed by the initiation of violence and are in fact *defined* by this initiation of violence. Put simply, a ‘law’ is an opinion with a gun. (I can make up a law saying you have to give me a banana every full moon, but it only becomes a proper law if I use coercion and violence to FORCE everyone to do this – or punish anyone who does not do it).

    Without the initiation of violence a government could not enFORCE its laws and it would have to behave like the rest of us and entice people to enter into voluntary, two way, mutually beneficial, legally binding CONTRACTS with accountability on both sides. (ie “you agree to pay us X and we agree to provide service Y, for a period of Z”). Governments do not use contracts, instead they use the initiation of violence and coercion (the threat of such violence). An example of this would be “You pay us taxes or else we will send round men in matching blue costumes to kidnap you and throw you into a cage”.

    When talking about social issues we are encouraged by the media and by politicians to talk about what *should* happen, what people *should* do, how money *should* be spent, how people *should* behave and so on. This is how politicians speak themselves.

    This is fine, we all have our views. We all have our own ideas about what we think is preferable behaviour. But in the realm of politics (ie government) ‘should’ is really a euphemism for ‘should be forced to’.

    This force is either the threat of violence or actual violence which is used to enFORCE a government ‘law’.

    So during a political debate when we say “I think people in society *should* behave this way (or *should not* behave this way)’ what we really mean is ‘I think people in society should be *forced* to behave this way (or should be *forced* to not behave this way) through government coercion and even violence’.

    My question to you, gentle reader, is this:

    Is coercion or even violence against someone else an appropriate way of handling a sensitive and complex issue like abortion?

    Or to put it another way…. If you are ‘against abortion’ or if you think that ‘abortion is wrong’ that is perfectly fine. That is a preference. So let’s now move into the area of action. Would you personally be willing to literally prevent a woman from having an abortion that she wanted, using threats or actual violence against her? Would you be willing to restrain her physically, or restrain the doctors physically? What if she was really determined to have an abortion? Exactly how much (if any) force would you be personally willing to use to stop her?

    A government is an agency of force. If you petition for a ‘law against abortion’ you are petitioning for a government to use force on your behalf against women who want to have abortions. Therefore you need to know how much force you would be willing to use so you can petition government to use the same amount of force against these women, on your behalf.

    Personally I find the whole concept of petitioning ANY agency to use force against other on your behalf barbaric.

    I also think it would be more sensible, practical, preferable, morally acceptable and humane to focus more on ways we can *prevent* as many unwanted pregnancies from occurring as possible, rather than focusing on using force against expectant women. By the time a woman is expectant with an unwanted foetus – whether through stupidity, ignorance, rape, accident or whatever – it is already ‘too late’. The damage has been done. Is exerting force against these women really going to help matters at this stage?

    The trouble with governments is that they are agencies of coercion and violence exclusively. As such they can only deal with social, economic and practical issues through the initiation of force in some way.

    A government is basically a hammer, and as such it sees every problem in society as a nail.

    But we are not nails, we are human beings.

    For those readers who still insist on participating in political debates (and thus giving your legitimacy to this violent agency called a government) I think it is only right that the coercion and violence you advocate be spoken about in plain terms.

    This is too vague: “I think people in society should ……”

    This is more clear (and honest): “I think people in society should be violently coerced to …..”

    It’s amazing how using clear, honest language can help to clarify, and perhaps change, one’s own stance on social issues 🙂

  34. Christine says:

    The problem that I’m having with your post is that you take a premise – that the media distorts things – and then you support it with something that isn’t a distortion. Because it isn’t a distortion to say that the official Republican platform calls for a total ban on abortions. The official Republican platform, as indicated and supported by onestillbreathing’s citing of the statement contained in the official Republican platform – calls NOT ONLY for a total ban on abortions, but for establishing personhood at conception. That is what the application of the privileges afforded by the 14th amendment means. It means that a collection of a few cells in my uterus is as much of a person as I am.

    So, what you are saying is: Hey, no fairsies, CBS distorted my party’s platform in a way that makes us look like we are way out of the mainstream of what the American public believes. But what is really going on is: you don’t understand the platform of the party you intend to vote for. And the Republican party doesn’t really want anyone else to understand it because that position is not merely unpopular, it is so extreme that it calls into question the availability of things like IUDs and in vitro fertilization, and the media ISN’T DOING ITS JOB if the media fails to tell us the truth about when a party is being extreme. So if you don’t like your party’s platform on abortion (or, even more broadly, on the right of women and families to meaningfully plan when and if to have children at all) then that’s fine. But don’t expect the media to spread the propaganda that you yourself have apparently accepted because your own party doesn’t want women to figure out that they really are at war with reproductive rights.

    And the fact that Mitt Romney claims that his position is different than the official platform, well, CBS wasn’t reporting on Romney’s position on abortion (which is a bit of a moving target anyway). Mitt Romney isn’t the Republican party, and the Republican party itself can have a platform which he doesn’t entirely support. But Paul Ryan, his choice for Vice-President is a proponent for personhood and for a total ban on abortion in all situations.

    I’m not saying that the media doesn’t distort things. But your example isn’t a distortion, and your explanation of the Republican platform’s position – were it disseminated by the media – is.

    Anyway, best of luck to you, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I would never have found your blog otherwise – since I blog about books, not politics.

    • Hey Christine–thank you for stopping by, and thank you re the FP’g remark.

      I disagree with your take on my post above. I don’t think I distorted the GOP Platform’s position on abortion. I think I’ve been clear on my reasoning, and rather than repeating it again, I’ll thank you for your thoughtful commentary above and leave it at that.

      I am in full awareness of what the 14th Amendment means. The fact that I’m taking some of what you’re writing personally is a red alert that I need to step away from the computer. I have never said, “No fairsies,” and I’d ask that if you’re commenting on my blog, you please use the same respectful tone that I have taken with everyone else who has argued with me before you. If you want to know who I am and what I’m about, then I’d ask you to read just one of my other posts.

  35. “The obligation of the media is to report on the news objectively.”

    Is this really possible? Whilst a lot of your examples contain clear untruths, in any piece the size of an article, language forces you to make implications, assumptions, inflections and judgements. Moreover, the writer cannot help *having* an opinion, however greatly s/he strives (as they should) for balance.
    Take your “Obama flip flop” example. Your analysis is accurate, but even your suggested ‘value free’ alternative (“Obama changes opinion on gay marriage.”) is far from value-free. Readers will automatically categorise it according to their confirmation biases – Democrats will see the headline as evidence of Obama’s level-headedness and willingness to change positions in the face of sound argument. Republicans will see it as ‘flip flop’, or as a cynical attempt to secure the LGBT vote, or as Obama covering for the gaffe caused by Biden’s remarks. Indeed, ‘changes his mind’ could be construed as misleading since his pre-existing personal beliefs surrounding the issue were not well known or documented. Using ‘Obama’ not ‘The President’ or ‘Barak Obama’ suggests a level, however minor, of disrespect. Calling it ‘gay marriage’ rather than ‘homosexual rights’ frames the issue in the religious terms most Republicans tend to encourage, suggesting BO’s new stance is a threat to traditional values.
    I’m sorry to go all postmodern, but there really isn’t a way to say, think or write anything entirely without value.

    • Good morning Jaime! As far as whether it’s possible to report on the news objectively, I’m not a 100% that’s possible given our values and judgments. I think it’s best if we do our best, if that makes sense.

      You make some great points. I reckon “changes his mind” could be better stated as “changes his position.” The use of “Obama” instead of “President” could indeed be disrespectful IF one used “President” to describe a Republican President. I’m not sure which I use — I think it depends on the type of piece I’m writing. Another example is when Republicans describe Democrats as “liberals,” or when Democrats describe Republicans as the “right wing.”

      Going all postmodern is cool–makes me think.

  36. EROSE says:

    Great article! I have been frustrated with the biased media (both sides) more and more lately, but what frustrates me more is that these journalistic tactics have such a huge influence on how people read articles. Rather than reading both sides of the story and deciding for themselves, so many people just blindly believe what they read (and some are only reading the headlines). I’m sure we’re all guilty of this at some times, so it’s always good to be reminded to read, think, and write critically.

    • Thank you so much EROSE! I agree that the tactics influence readers a great deal. If I’m not careful, they influence me too, and I think we all can use the reminder to think and write critically. So nice of you to stop by–hope to see you around again! ~el

  37. lsurrett2 says:

    I want to like this twice. I’ve come to the point where I’m politically agnostic. I hate party politics and despise the media.

  38. I’m glad I’m Australian and have the Greens to lean back on, because if I were American, I’d hate to have to choose between one or the other of these two parties. Although I’m quite sure they probably have third parties in America as well, but I don’t know too much about them.

    The fact that American media needs to present as sensational as this does seem to have some drawbacks in the way of truth, doesn’t it? There are, of course, differences between American and Australian media, though truth distortion and bias exist in both. Either way, what you’ve already said about American media distortion seems to make it seem worse, in the way of not being persuasive by filtering the truth.

    I don’t know if our media does that too, though, so it’s a bit unfair to judge; I’ve always felt it was objective, unless its current affairs shows.

    All writing is manipulative one way or the other, the way I see it. You can include or exclude anything you want, use emotive language or write neutrally. There’s a lot more you can do too, I’m sure. I just can’t think of it write now. Length, maybe, looking at this comment. If I’d written a shorter comment, I might persuade you to believe I don’t have strong opinions on this subject. But the fact that it ended up like this tells you different, doesn’t it?

    • Hello Littlewonder2. Yes, we do have third parties here in the US, but by and large, we’re a two-party system. In most cases, if you vote for a third party, you are, in effect “throwing away your vote,” which is not to say there’s anything wrong with that. You still need to vote according to the dictates of your conscience.

      From what I’ve seen, media tends to be the same all over, and universally, most foreign media seems pretty critical of the US. But I am by no means an expert on foreign media. Like many Americans, I tend to be a bit insular, not so much by choice, but by entropy.

      I agree re your final comment. There are many ways to filter the truth and it’s pretty hard to write or read a completely objective piece. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

      Thanks so much for stopping in!

      • I have heard about the “throwing your vote away” comment. Mostly on The Simpsons, though. I don’t entirely believe it though, just like I don’t entirely believe it when Homer said “lousy Democrats” in one particular episode. No mainstream party is ever totally straight up, even if I did have to choose between them. That’s the difficult part.

  39. It’s amazing how blatantly negative the NBC reporters’ comments were on the speeches at the Republican National Convention. It will be interesting to see how much (i.e. little) they will hold Obama’s feet to the fire.

  40. Journalism is human but it is importance one speaks the truth without deviating from it. It is morally wrong to mix opinion with reporting the news. If it is opinion, be it.

  41. mydrinn says:

    There is something that my father told me years ago, during the first gulf war. He said, “There is no news in the truth; and no truth in the news.”

    A very well written post, thank you.

  42. Go Jules Go says:

    El, I just saw this was Freshly Pressed, congratulations! I’m really pleased to see not only a friend up there, but a well-written, thought-provoking post. I love that you made your ultimate point just in how you approached writing this piece.

    I just finished watching the first season of The Newsroom, so I’ve been completely fixated on this topic! I’m not even sure where to go to find ‘honest’ news anymore, and I don’t think anyone is.

    • Jules!!! It is so good to see you here! This has been a bit insane, you know? And seeing you is reassuring and comforting, if that makes sense. Not only am I meeting lots of new people, but it’s over politics–gah! LOL. Thank you so much for your kind remarks, my friend. I’ve been meaning to check out Newsroom, and I will now for sure based on your recommendation. xoxo ~el

  43. drndark says:

    Reblogged this on drndark and commented:
    http://runningfromhellwithel.com
    please follow..

  44. I agree with the main premise of your piece, that civilized discourse and non-inflammatory debate are about dead in modern American politics. Very frustrating, which is why I choose not to debate politics. It’s simply not my comfort zone.
    You’ve got loads of persuasive essays in reply and that I have enjoyed – persuading, not baiting.
    Congrats on being FPd!

  45. A pleasure to make your acquaintance! Now to write a new post ’cause it’s been weeks. Aarghhh. I aspire to my sister’s ability and fame. But, it’s a hard act to follow!
    Enjoy the FPd ride 🙂

  46. OH the slippery slopes we ski down. Writing is such a tricky craft. Writing poetry has taught me how easily words can twist an idea or an agenda. But I dont believe any “journalist” can be 100% unbiased because everything written has an agenda of some sort…otherwise why mention anything? I praise this post for pointing out what many people often overlook.

  47. jormikesell says:

    This is brilliantly written!

  48. Konata_01 says:

    “If that is what the Republican Party meant to say in their platform, they would have said as much, or completed the sentence with something like: “. . . therefore, we support a complete ban on abortion.””

    No, they would not have, or rather, I highly doubt that they would have. Had they said something of that nature, they would have alienated many more female voters than they currently are. The GOP is acutely aware that they aren’t winning a substantial amount of female voters with their party’s stance on matters of birth control, not to mention pay equity (opposition to the Lily Ledbetter Act, anyone?). They need to evade the issue rather than addressing it head on, since abortion rights are still constitutional (although it seems like a lot of state-level law makers don’t care about this).

    Also, the media is notorious for spinning things – sensational headlines sell. Obama “declaring war on marriage” is a much more shocking headline than him simply “flip-flopping”. If I didn’t know anything about Obama, I would immediately assume Obama to be declaring war on heterosexual marriage – and that’s exactly what Fox is going for.

    I think that the problem with the media today is that they care less about the truth than they care about money. Look at the Guardian and The New York Times – they LOVED Jullian Assage while he was giving him information, but once he fell out of favour, they tossed him aside and started badmouthing him.

    Anyway, I thought your article on the whole was spot on. Excellent job 😀

  49. I imagine it would be difficult to report on matters (especially of a political nature) without imposing some kind of personal bias… BUT… it seems like the degree to which nearly all sources slant is pretty steep. Not to say that this sort of thing isn’t rewarded with ‘ratings’, though – I’m personally guilty of favoring media that ‘leans my way’. I just have to remind myself of that every now and then. There are always two sides to every story… even though ‘my side’ is correct the majority of the time (j/k – kinda). 😉

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