These two men have either had the greatest political impact on Americans in the last decade or they are ruining what is supposed to be the political news structure in this country. Jon Stewart entered our homes in 1999 with the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert in 1997 on the Daily Show, but with his own show in 2005. There satirical news shows have garnered extreme amounts of attention and viewers. Their shows have become so popular because honestly, they are weaving through the bullshit and giving you their funny opinions on the political news of the day.
In the link above Colbert gives his comments on Wikipedia. He talks about the news of the day and puts his spin on it. Same for Stewart. Now does this count as political news? Some will tell you yes and others will tell you no. It is indeed political news because that is always the topic of discussion. Yes they are comedians and yes they make jokes, but who said political news had to be serious? Who said political news had to be stiff old white guys in front of cameras either stating their opinion or reading from a prompter without any opinion? Who said that political news has to be traditional? If this formula works then why don’t MORE people fucking CAPITALIZE on this?
The image above does indeed say America’s anchors, but that should be changed. They should be considered America’s pundits. They are not anchors even though millions of people would love them to be. It just isn’t so. They are pundits who do have a bias. Any interview Jon Stewart does he is battling right wing talking heads. Colbert ran for President last election as… (drum roll please) A DEMOCRAT.
Are they biased of course they are but that does not take away from anything that the do. Many people consider the Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh all to be “news” and forget that they are pundits. These men have helped INCREASE political participation in ways that we cannot even imagine. Without their popularity I honestly don’t think voting would be where it is at currently I don’t think many YOUNG viewers and voters would turnout. The voters of tomorrow love these men whether previous generations like it or not. Not everything they do is wonderful, but they have done much more great than they have harm. To be honest if the Conservatives or whoever does not like them or what they do, then man the fuck up and find out how to get them off the air or create a better product and quit whining about it. You are grown ass men and women. Act like it.
I believe that when presenting the news journalist should try there best to be objective. Of course today, with so many news sources and channels journalist tend to steer away from objectivity and express their own thoughts and opinions. Not to say that this is wrong given when you tune into a news station such as Fox or CNN you expect nothing less than to hear at least one opinion. I found a quote in an article about objectivity in the news stating that
There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger, has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view.
I think that his quote hits the nail right on the head. It is true that it is so hard to pin down the truth exactly. In an interview most people have the tendency to slightly exaggerate a story as to make themselves look better. Most news castors such as Bill O’Reiley and Keith Olbermann have made a good chunk of change putting their own spin on news happenings of the day. I think that it is hard now a days to remain objective because news audiences want to hear opinions. They depend on these opinions to help form their political views. I think that news castors should try their best to report political news objectively, but I understand why it is so difficult. I found this video clip, which is ironically Keith Olbermann, that I enjoyed watching about Walter Cronkite that talked about how one of his best strengths in broadcasting came from him being objective. It goes on to discuss how it has changed since the old era and goes into quite a bit of detail about the news reporting 30 years ago.
Should journalists be objective when it comes to political news? In theory it would help create more discourse if there was and would help people who want to get in politics decipher what is going on an not be confused by the two warring sides that are out there. This is all in theory though. The current system where you have political news broken up into two differing sides that is not objective gives people more reason to follow whatever party that they choose to follow. You need your Keith Olbermann’s of the world to say something that everyone else will think is radical.
You need your Bill O’Reilly’s and Rush Limbaugh’s to make you think that the right side is just plain bat shit crazy and stuck in the 1950’s.
You need two bickering sides being bias because it would be boring without it. Even though objectivity is a great idea and would be wonderful to have the reason some of our “anchors” and pundits are so popular is because they make statements that are off the wall. Political news is very dry as it is and if people just got the facts it wouldn’t sell for stations. You get somebody who says Obama is racist, Palin is stupid, or McCain is old enough to have fought in Vietnam AND the Civil War, you get viewers. I think objectivity is a wonderful idea, but when it comes to a topic that can be rather boring you need those people that are going to stir the pot and make you watch. Does that make me a bad person? Possibly. But the question is now…do you think I’m correct?
These are the faces that drive us insane, but we wouldn’t have it any other way
In a perfect world journalists would be objective and unbiased. But, as we all know, we do not live in a perfect world and our news is often tainted with the bias’ of the men and women of the news industry. Objective journalism is important not just for the news industry, but for a functioning democracy as well. Objective reporting allows citizens to make informed decisions on their own instead of the talking heads on television and radio telling them what to think. Unfortunately objective reporting reached its peak in the mid 20th century and has been in decline ever since. At the end of the clip seen below Bill Moyers interviews Walter Pincus of the Washington Post and he can sum up what I believe is the problem with objectivity and the media today.
I do believe that some bias in the press can be a good thing, but only to a certain degree. With journalists having certain takes on issues they can open up our eyes to a point of view we might not have ever thought of. I can see the point certain media hot heads like Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly are trying to get across and sometimes they are both right on a topic. And lets face it, watching two sides bicker on t.v can be quite entertaining, if not we would not have entire television channels like Fox News and MSNBC dedicated to it.
In the end though I believe that it is more important for journalists to be objective in their reporting and for people to receive their news from objective sources. Some “objective” news sources I get my news from includes the BBC, Al-Jazeera, and to some extent CNN. It’s okay to dabble in partisan news but I would not make it part of my “hard news” diet. Unfortunately with so much money to be made in non-objective news I doubt we will ever return to the glory days of objective reporting.
“If in doing the serious work of journalism–digging, reporting, verification, mastering a beat–you develop a view, expressing that view does not diminish your authority.” -Jay Rosen
Media objectivity seems to be a controversial subject in our ever-evolving world of journalism. The public wants to hear the “truth,” but in my opinion, the “truth” doesn’t have to be opinion free. As Rosen and Cunningham argue in their respective articles, good and clear reporting and investigation can easily lead for journalists to develop informed views. If a subject is well-researched, opinions are inevitable (but based on authentic and well-informed information). Journalists report conflict, and with conflict, comes opinion. After all, reporters and editors are humans too.
At the School of Journalism, we sit in class, after class listening about how we need to remain objective and how the news industry is dying. What I fail to understand is why we don’t just acknowledge that mild subjectivity in news is the product of a good, proactive journalism. Instead, let’s debate on how we can continue to make money in journalism and report the stories that need to be heard.
Although the below video is long, it is interesting because Keith Olbermann discusses how the most prominent journalists, i.e. Rather, Morrow, and Cronkite, “evaluated, analyzed, unscrambled, accessed” using the facts and their own conscience. He proceeds to argue that pushing for complete objectivity is like “worshiping a false god”:
Cunningham “Re-Thinking Objectivity” argues that there is “nothing has replaced objectivity,” but I think the answer is acceptance of opinions. If that means journalists (both traditional and nontraditional) dig into the stories, probe for questions and talk to reliable sources, I can handle impartiality. Sometimes our doctors, lawyers and other trusted professions insert their opinions, so why do journalists have to be an exception? Let’s let them use their education of an issue to inform the public.
If Rush Limbaugh does his research and doesn’t get too cozy with political officials, I’m willing to listen to his opinions . . . but only then.
When journalists and the media are presenting political news, I do believe that it would only be fair for them to appear objective. However, it can be hard for the media to appear unbiased. But, I believe that they should be objective, because when journalists and the media are presenting their perhaps subjective view, they could possibly influence peoples views on things, that perhaps would not be influenced otherwise.
There are many different news stations out there with many different views on things. On the left, there is MSNBC (specifically Keith Olbermann before he resigned), among others.
In the center, I believe there is CNN. In my experience, I find CNN’s television broadcast and internet articles to be about in the center of the two parties.
On the right, there is FOX news, which I believe is one of the only Conservative outlets for people.
However, there are people who will claim that certain stations are too biased in their views, and this can create a problem as well. For example, people will say that FOX news is too conservative, and often make fun of it. Often, in some of my classes, I hear people snicker and laugh whenever FOX news is mentioned. When I googled fox news for an image to add above, other images came up as well, calling Fox news “Faux News”, and saying that their news “distorted” and “fairly unbalanced”. Another image came up saying “we deceive, you believe”.
Obviously, it can be hard for journalists and the media to be objective. FOX News was just one example of a news organization/station being questioned on their credibility. But, there are probably many others news organizations that are questioned as well. We as Americans after all, have the right to free speech. I just believe that journalists, etc should not try to persuade a person and their views, they should just simply inform the public. In a perfect world, the news would be objective, but this is not a perfect world where everything is fair. Aside from listening to what journalists say, the public should be investigative and obtain their own information and form their own opinions.
As I began to think about this blog post I was completely against the challenging of a president or military leader in the face of war or national crisis but as I began to research this topic a little more my views began to change a little.
I always like to relate things back to the sports world for me and in this case, more specifically, coaching. I just began coaching this past semester and I really got a good look at the other side of the game (hang with me, it’ll all tie back together). Within a coaching staff you have to be in agreement with your plan of attack with not only the team but individual players as well. If you all aren’t in agreement together it can create distrust from the players. Then if one player begins to question what the coaches are thinking and doing he could spread that throughout the team and before you know it you have a team that’s divided amongst each other, as well as a group of players who don’t believe in their coaches. This actually went on this past week with the Detroit Pistons, click on this link to read that story and in the next paragraph you’ll see how I tie it all together.
Here’s where I tie it all back to the media covering the war. When you look at our country, we should always be working together for the betterment of the country (the team). The high ranking authorities that hold all the power in the decision making process are like the coaches of our team. If you have the coaches coming to a consensus of how to approach a war you want everyone within the country to be on board with it. This is where the journalists come into play. If there are journalists that oppose how the President is going about his decision making process then that gets played and the team (us), begin to go against what the nation’s leaders are trying to do.
So when I look at it this way I’m completely against opposing the president and military leaders during war because it causes internal conflict within our own country. Those were my initial thoughts on coverage of the war, but I’ll be the first to admit that I have little knowledge of war coverage so I knew that I had to do some research to familiarize myself with the different ways that journalists. As I did, here’s what I found and why it persuaded me the rethink my stance.
A big part as to why the recent war was started because of false information that the United States received from an informant who had fictitious information on weapons of mass destruction. Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, aka Curveball, claimed that Saddam Hussein was constructing weapons of mass destruction. Click here to read the rest of the story.
If the journalists and publication companies just go along with what curveball said and what Colin Powell decided then who is going to speak up? You’d like to think that the high-ranking officials take every precaution when making decisions like this but this case shows that things can sometimes slip by. When you let journalists in who aren’t afraid to challenge decisions they almost transform into detectives for the President, a national checks and balance system.
When it comes to major crisis such as events like 9/11 I think the media really walks a thin line when it comes to how it should cover the events. My big thing is that the media has to be very sensitive because you never know who’s watching and whom it might offend. Something like 9/11 was such a sensitive time and the more that graphic scenes were shown, the more people became enraged and saddened by the events. This video is with Keith Olbermann discussing the coverage of the 9/11 and it’s aftermath.
I’d like to think that journalists should simply just relay facts and facts only but when we go back to the bias involved with reporting it almost seems as if it’s just impossible for journalists to not take a side. This was a little bit of a confusing post so let me re emphasize my stance. I think that journalist should be careful when opposing the president and the military leaders in a time of national crisis so as not to create tension within the nation when unity is needed. I also believe however, that journalists are a good source of checks and balances for the American public with the president, and finally I believe that journalists have to be super sensitive and thoughtful when it comes to covering national tragedies.