Home > Uncategorized > Final Paper – Alex Clever and Marc Dilz

Final Paper – Alex Clever and Marc Dilz

Since the beginning of journalism, writing has served an important purpose as a source of information for the people. But what is the actual definition of journalism? According to Merriam-Webster, “writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation” (Merriam-Webster). What this definition is trying to convey is that media should be presented only through the presentation of the facts and no bias. But many large news sources today cannot avoid presenting the stories without some sort of bias. This is a problem because the news sources serve an important function in modern society and that is surveillance. Surveillance, according to chapter 4 of the Converging Media book, is informing the public of important events taking place (typically without any sort of bias). Framing in a news story though, influences the readers to think in a particular manner about the subject, which clashes with the main idea of surveillance.

In today’s society, healthcare is one of the most polarizing issues for journalists to write about. In the case of Fox News and Colorado Public News, Fox News suffers from too much interpretation of the information presented while Colorado Public News provides a fairer and less biased perspective. With this being the case, most of the healthcare articles on Fox News seem to be less effective than those of Colorado Public News due to this bias. They include examples to justify their stances on each article while Colorado Public News does not necessarily do so. We believe that this doesn’t make the articles reported by Fox News to be any more credible than those of Colorado Public News because the information is skewed in a way to appeal to a particular sort of audience.
Colorado Public News is an independent news station owned by the Public Broadcasting Station, otherwise known as PBS. The company began broadcasting in 1980 as one of the nation’s first alternative public television services, then slowly expanded to what it is today. On their webpage, their mission states that their station attempts to “produce factual, unbiased, PBS-quality reporting on Colorado news and issues that are essential for informed citizens to run a healthy democracy and thriving economy” (CPN). Each article produced by the station seems to run news articles without the opinion of the author to provide the reader with “fair and just” news. The station isn’t exactly targeting a specific audience (political, religious, etc.), but rather the citizens of Colorado. They do not only focus on local issues, but national concerns as well.

After taking a look at the website, it was visible that a lot of the articles revolved around the topic of healthcare in the United States and what congressmen are saying about it. The main article of interest is titled, “Update: House Passes Health Care Repeal 245-189” and gives a summary of the current state of the healthcare bill and opinions from both Republicans and Democrats. The entire article seems to be focused on the facts of the bill process and gives opinions of both the Democratic and Republican side through the use of quotes and ideas. So in a sense, it is pure and legitimate information being provided to the audience of readers. The way it goes about justifying their “un-biased stance” is by looking at the situation from different perspectives. The author states that Republicans say the law is “’job-killing’ and too expensive” and the Democrats believe “it creates jobs, especially in healthcare, and the repeal would add to the deficit” (CPN). Polls are also provided at the end of the article to provide a larger area of opinion for the topic.

The way that the article is framed is very interesting to note. Though the author doesn’t frame the story more favorably towards one side or the other, it places a large importance on the issue at hand among politicians. Republican Doug Lamborn believes the law “it doesn’t address a shortage of funding for doctors treating patients on Medicaid” while Democrat Ed Perlmutter deems the healthcare bill “is too extreme for a law with numerous guarantees for Americans” (CPN). It is stated that both parties believe that the current healthcare bill should be reformed, but each group believes a new bill should head in fundamentally different directions.

Fox News is a cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation. Fox News’ target audience is people with conservative beliefs. Many critics of Fox News have asserted that the news that Fox reports promotes a conservative bias. This is apparent in their reporting of the proposed health care law repeal. Although nothing written by the reporter is biased towards the health care repeal, the selection of quotes clearly supports a conservative bias. In the article, Fox News presents the story of an attempted repeal of the health care reform. They fairly represent the Republican view point by citing one of the main proponents behind the health care reform, Republican senator Mitch McConnell: “We have an opportunity today… It’s an opportunity to reevaluate your vote. You can say, ‘perhaps this was a mistake, we can do this better.’ Or you can continue to dismiss the majority of the people in this county as not knowing what they’re talking about.”

This appears to be a somewhat accurate representation of the Republican Party’s disapproval with the health care bill. However, Fox news does not give the same courtesy to the Democratic opinion on the issue. The article continuously introduces negative opinions of the health care reform. The article cites Judge Roger Vinson: the only judge to rule against the health care bill in a court of law. He is quoted as saying that Congress “exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate… while the individual mandate was clearly ‘necessary and essential’ to the act as drafted, it is not ‘necessary and essential’ to health care reform in general. Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.” The health care bill had nearly two-dozen suits filed in court against it and yet Fox News only quoted the one judged to declare it unconstitutional.

The article does cite a source that is in favor of the health care bill. Democratic Senator Harry Reid states: “’Lawsuits and lawmakers’ efforts to repeal this bill are nothing more than an attempt to raise taxes on small business, add a trillion dollars to the deficit, force seniors to pay more for their prescriptions, and let insurance companies once again stand in the way of a child and the medical care he or she needs.” Although this is presenting a liberal perspective on the health care bill, the quote is so ridiculously negative towards the opposition to the bill that it makes the reader associate extremists with the left-wing perspective. The clear bias in the article by Fox News hurts its credibility and makes the story less convincing. To view the whole article, go to: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/01/republicans-look-build-steam-repeal-judges-health-law-ruling/

After analyzing both news sources, we realized that one news source is more convincing in the other. Fox News provides the reader with certain perspectives on the issues almost exclusively from the conservative viewpoint. Although it covers the topic, it doesn’t do so as fairly as the alternative news source, Colorado Public News. Colorado Public News’ articles cover the main issue and various perspectives in order to appeal to more than one audience, which we deem to be much more credible than other bias news sources, such as Fox News. All in all, a news source that attempts to present news without an attempt at interpretation is much more convincing than a news source that presents itself otherwise.

Sources:

http://www.cpt12.org/news/index.php/about/

http://www.cpt12.org/news/index.php/2011/01/19/u-s-house-about-to-vote-on-repeal-of-healthcare-bill-expected-to-follow-along-party-lines/

http://www.cpt12.org/about/about_us.cfm

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/01/republicans-look-build-steam-repeal-judges-health-law-ruling/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News_Channel#Slogan

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/journalism

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Very well written and nice flow. If you could break up the very long paragraph in some way (regarding Fox News) to make it easier to read that would help. Also bring in a third party known for being neutral on how they viewed health care. Overall you did a very good job of utilizing quotes and the works cited makes the paper more credible.

  2. Terry
    February 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    It was a very long piece, and the quotes help to add credibility to the paper. Even though it was such a long paper, I think it read very easily. It was a good first draft.

  3. alextarnoczi09
    February 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Did a good job in portraying both sides of the story. I like how you pointed out that Fox news was more in favor of the republican side and backed it up with supporting details such as showing us bias statements. For example “Fox News suffers from too much interpretation of the information presented while Colorado Public News provides a fairer and less biased perspective”. I also like how you informed the reader how their focus isn’t to really appeal to a wide range of audiences such as the Colorado Public News. It really flowed well. All and all it was a well-written paper. Just remember to add the links into the article as well.

  4. February 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    This is a great first draft. You have included helpful details and you provide good background on Fox and CPR.

    I agree with Alex T that you could add the links into the article – this would help the flow of the piece overall.

    You can work on your writing a bit to improve the clarity of your argument. Also please proof read for typos (e.g., you mean “citing,” not “sighting”). See if you can organize it a bit so that the reader can easily keep track of the article you’re discussing (e.g., break up that Fox paragraph as Alex G suggests).

    I liked your description of how the CPR piece attempted to portray an “unbiased” stance by including viewpoints from differing sides of the issue. it seems that Fox did the same by quoting Harry Reid, but as you note, this inclusion seems consistent with the need for “balance” even as it also is useful in the goal of demonstrating that the left is extremist and out of touch.

    I think it could be stronger if you could also identify how CPR is framing the issue rather than seeming to compare a bias-free report with a biased report. Framing isn’t exactly the same as bias, but rather recognizes that CPR reporters do see the issue differently from Fox. For instance, Imse (the CPR author) chose to conclude her article by pointing out that the vote for repealing the health care law is out of step with U.S. views. Also, whereas the Dems she quoted offered details on what would be lost and for whom if the bill were repealed, the Reps were described as holding chart that illustrated how much more confusing the new system would be if passed (which, one could argue, is a less appealing reason for getting rid of the law than the reasons the Dems give for keeping it).

    I think your level of detail is good; it’s just a matter of noticing that even if we happen to agree with one perspective and feel that the way it is supported has more merit, there is clearly no such thing as a report that is completely free of interpretation.

  5. March 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Good work on revising this to make it clearer & stronger!

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