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Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

Blog #3: Rich Democrats are as Selfish as Rich Republicans

1. This article is about a complex study conducted to determine if high income people value efficiency over equality and compared the political party associations of the people. I chose it because the results were in the articles title/tweet and I found it interesting to know that rich democrats are as selfish as rich republicans.
2. The data is from a hypothesis tested on three groups, Berkley students, Yale students and ALP attendees which provided the broad cross-section of americans.
3. I found it most interesting to see that high income people who are in charge of policy-making don’t care about equality regardless of their political party. Especially because this is a stigma of republicans but democrats are usually seen as more equal. Though I am wondering if the results would have been different if they didn’t compare it to people belonging to the organization ALP and instead the compare group was a random selection of the population.

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Blog 7: Partisan News and Its Effects

March 16, 2011 1 comment

The ability of both Republican and Democratic American political parties to get their news from different media sources seems to be becoming more prevalent in society today.  Although there are some negative aspects of this tendency of left and right wing supporting citizens, overall I feel that the positive impact is most significant, especially in today’s political scene.

The one negative aspect I feel that is actually doing some harm to the American electorate is the way that political figures consistently through insults and use “mudslinging” politics against their opposing party.  The following video from CBS News investigates political ads from the 2008 presidential election campaign and what implications McCain’s attacks on Obama had on his run for the presidency.

 

While this aspect of politics is damaging on some levels, there is also a side of it that influences a reason I feel that partisan politics are helpful in politics in the United States today.  With so much political information and news available to the average citizen, it is often difficult to imagine being able to consume it all and make sense of it.  Making sound political decisions becomes a chore that many average Americans don’t have time for.  Having the ability to focus in on one side of party politics and choose the media sources that back up your views makes it easier sort through the seemingly infinite number of political news sources.

In regards to the view of this being seen as strictly negative, the actually effects that are occurring to those who intake more political information seem to be saying otherwise.  In a recent lecture by Professor Jay Dow in Political Science 4100, it appears that recent studies have found that any kind of political news intake by citizens only further solidifies that person’s previous political views.  Regardless of what the information is or where it is being absorbed from, an increase in political knowledge drives people to vote for the party they are already leaning toward.

With this in mind, it seems that any knowledge of politics will likely not have a negative net effect on the electorate.  When people are more in tune with the political world, from one side or the other, participation can only increase.  While the divide in the sides of politics may be growing from the availability of partisan news sources, in today’s society where voter turnout is considerably lower than in the past (turnout was close to 80% before 1900) the intake of information may be a large factor in increasing turnout in the future.

Lastly, while some sources of political media have biased outlooks in the news, there are other media sources that  play up the middle-ground view of political news.  This clip from The Daily Show is an example of how Republican news sources known for taking their own party’s side can be called out for being too one-sided on certain issues.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-september-3-2008/sarah-palin-gender-card?xrs=share_copy

Overall, an increase in political knowledge in the American people in general is something that should be encouraged, regardless of the partisanship that appears in many popular new sources.

Blog 7: News for Democrats and Republicans

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

American citizens get their news from so many different forms of media, why would it be any different for people involved in a political party. Democrats and Republicans getting their news from different place shows that what is being printed isn’t objective. It should be the same news regardless of the title on the newspaper or the logo located at the bottom of the t.v. station. I however believe that they should be engaging in the different news mediums so that they can get a good assessment of what the public really feels and wants about policies and bills etc.

I was watching a show on the history channel entitled “It’s good to be President” and it featured a part of Ronald Reagan everyday rituals, which showed that every morning he read from the newspapers before he started his work for the day. It makes me wonder what newspaper he relied on for information. By a reading a newspaper that shows positivity about what you’ve done and then reading one that show’s negativity gives you somewhat of a true objective viewpoint. There are clearly all different kinds of websites, newspapers, and TV stations that cater to Republicans and Democrats certain point of

view, but if whichever side commits themselves to a medium of only that side they will never progress because, they will never hear the others point of view, and every point of view is what makes it a democracy.  Something that should be looked at is what about independent newspapers and independent political parties, and how come their voice isn’t heard that often. If listening to all sides makes a democracy then one side shouldn’t be voiced louder than others.  Reading a certain newspaper, and watching a certain station can neither be bad or good, it all depends on what you do with the information being given to you.

 

Blog 7: Does it matter where political parties get their news?

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

To a certain degree, I do not think that it necessarily matters where Republicans and Democrats get their news from. In congruence to my previous blog about journalistic objectivity, I believe that if (being the key word in this sentence) major news networks report political information in an unbiased, straightforward manner, then it is up to the citizens to retrieve further information that may fit their own viewpoints.

Once a person hears political information from an unbiased source, I would certainly hope they would seek out different sources that pertain to their political partisanship.

For example, when a Democrat seeks out information from a strictly Democratic source, they are able to view facts that back up and support their side of the issue. Partisan-specific websites like Democrats.org acquire facts from various different news sources and compile them in one place. This allows the viewer to see more easily why the party thinks the way it does, and the biased facts help them understand how the party has arrived at their standpoint.

Another reason why people should seek out information from partisan-specific sources is that they may reinforce what the citizen already believes. For example, websites like the Missouri Republican may highlight issues, important to that specific party, that the main news networks may barely touch upon. In doing so, the citizen can come to a greater understanding on a certain issue.

However, if people only view sources that are in favor of their political party’s viewpoint, it might limit argument diversity that viewers of  news networks might encounter and expose them strictly to bias information. All in all, citizens should retrieve their political information from a variety of sources. Democrats and Republicans should also seek out information form their partisan-specific sources in order to clarify, reiterate, and support the particular party’s beliefs and actions.

BLOG 7: Que Sera Sera, What We’ll Want, We’ll Watch

March 16, 2011 1 comment

Here are some commonly accepted truths: first, that the Earth is a sphere and spends much of its year rotating around the sun, second, that no matter what teams play, the best part of the Super Bowl always has and always will be the commercials, and third, that Democrats hate Fox News and Republicans hate MSNBC and I, frankly, hate both.

Fox News, bastion of conservatism and entertaining, if more-than-slightly off-the-rocker, TV personalities such as Glenn Beck, and MSNBC, anchor for liberalism and not-so-ironic paneled discussions that debate such vital issues as Obama’s decision in pets, are used as the stereotypical, unparalleled examples of Liberal and Conservative bias in the media. While the presence of that bias in-and-of-itself is a separate discussion, there’s no debate that Republicans, on the whole, turn to Fox News for information while Democrats, as a whole, turn to CNN, MSNBC, or NPR.

The question then is–does it actually matter?

Here’s the thing you’ll learn in any middle-to-upper level political science (or even psychology) course: people consume that media which reinforces their existing biases. That is to say, whether or not Fox News or MSNBC offer biased accounts of political coverage is hardly a concern. Whether or not the Republican and Democratic mainstays presented balanced coverage, viewers would still only really consume that information that reinforced what they already believed in.

In my opinion, this, subsequently, makes forced consumption of opposing sources less than effective. Here’s the deal. It’s pretty obvious what my political ideology is. I choose not to consume CNN or MSNBC because, frankly, both stations irritate the hell out of me. However, when comparing information from CNN to information from Fox, I will always be more inclined to believe CNN because Fox is my ideological opposite. Fox can report breaking news to me and I will be skeptical of it until I hear the same information reported from the New York Times or even Jon Stewart.

In that manner, it doesn’t really matter if Republicans get their news from one source and I get my news from another. In an ideal world, both Republicans and Democrats would get their political news from both left and right leaning sources. But in reality, and in my opinion, there’s little point in forcing a Republican to watch Democratic sources and a Democrat to watch Republican sources if neither the Republican nor the Democrat are going to believe the source or retain the information.

As there are fact-checkers, keeping those sources legitimate, as long as the possibility to explore the other side still exists, there’s really no harm and no foul in letting Republicans and Democrats gravitate to those sources that support their ideology. Hey, it makes political debates that much more entertaining, right?

Either way, my solution is to force everyone to watch the Stewart-Colbert line up. Of course, inevitably, someone will believe that Colbert’s bias isn’t blatantly obvious satire and that he actually believes the things that he says and I’ll have to laugh at them. It will be a desperate, sad sort of laugh. But you know. Small steps! xoxo!


BLOG 2: IN HEADLINES TODAY: Bias exists. Shocking, I know.

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s a battle, right? Conservatives claim that all news has a liberal bias and liberals claim that the entire News Corporation has a conservative advantage. Rupert Murdoch owns News Corp. Liberals have a point. However.

The entire problem with the debate of media bias is the assumption that there is such a thing as pure objectivity anyway. Is there really such a thing–especially in the realm of news media? The very nature of writing is that there is some form of subjectivity that will leak through. Even in research–take political science research–doesn’t the very fact that an interviewer is human bias the questions asked? Interview bias, in other words, exists simply because the interviewer (usually) is human. Humans, by the very nature of being humans, are biased toward selecting certain questions and seeking for certain answers unconsciously.

So why (how) do we expect journalists (or other media-related affiliates) to remain completely unbiased? Or, for that matter, what does bias mean? As far as I can tell (to the average viewer) (of a certain political affiliation), anything is “biased” so long as what is being discussed is of the other political ideology. If Fox News talks about Sarah Palin’s positive policies, then it’s bias. If MSNBC lauds Barack Obama for his stance on health care, then it’s bias. Never mind the fact that maybe–maybe— (unlikely, but maybe) Sarah Palin did have positive policies or maybe Barack Obama did have an extremely effect stance on health care. Doesn’t the very fact, then, that you–the viewer–have bias and that you–the viewer–watch news segments and consume media through a specific frame (political or otherwise)–doesn’t that fact automatically lead to a perceived bias?

The point here is not so much that media sources are biased or unbiased, but, mostly, that media sources are most likely always going to be inherently biased–even a little bit–and if not, a bias will be perceived anyway, so what difference does it really make?

A few years ago, during a Politics & the Media class, I conducted a (rather crude) (but still mostly accurate) (well, it took a lot of time and effort, anyway) study of Al-Jazeera. Often claimed to be an extremely biased news source (who decided this anyway?) (probably Fox News) (hey, I never said blogs weren’t biased, isn’t that my entire thesis here?), I was curious as to see whether or not Al-Jazeera did carry an anti-American bias. My study followed the front page of Al-Jazeera’s website for a month to see mentions of the United States and using a tailored scale, measuring whether or not the mentions of the United States were negative or not. Study errors notwithstanding, my correlation statistics were rather unremarkable.

In short, if there was an anti-American bias in Al-Jazeera, then it was negligible at best.

But wait! Does that mean that there is or there isn’t media bias? Here’s the thing, Bugs, of course there’s media bias. In my opinion, it’s the very nature of humans and of media in general to be biased. (Who wants objectivity anyway?) (If we really wanted objectivity, we’d try to read textbooks.) (How many of you actually read your textbooks, let’s be honest here.) (For other classes, of course. Not for this one.) (The textbooks for this particular class are absolutely enthralling, in my opinion.) The point, then, is that media bias is really very negligible, in the long run.

Sometimes, of course, Fox News does things like this:

And then, of course, MSNBC does something like this:

But don’t the viewers of Fox News and the viewers of MSNBC already know what kind of media they’re looking for? I know very rare a Democrat who listens to Fox News for purposes other than sheer mockery and I knew very few a Republican who even bother flicking past MSNBC for fear that the liberal bias might, somehow, leech onto their skins.

So then, in the end, isn’t it the viewers themselves who create and consume media bias?

And, for that matter, shouldn’t we (the viewers) be intelligent enough to sort through the Bill O’Reillys, Chris Mathews, Glenn Becks, and Jon Stewarts of the world to form our own conclusions? If Fox News says jump, please, for the love of America, at least ask from what bridge?

Come on world, let’s use our brains a little. xoxo!

Blog #2: Is the Media Bias?

January 31, 2011 1 comment

Asking if the media is bias is like asking if two plus two equals four. The answer is always yes. While many journalists aim to present their information in a non-bias fashion and just present the facts; bias is something they cannot avoid. When deciding which information to present and which information to withhold, they are framing their article, broadcast, blog, or other form of publication in a specific way. This in turn creates a bias. It is unavoidable.

Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN are among the top names in the media as a source for political information. However the unavoidable bias has left them all labeled by viewers to lean one way or another. While trying to stick to the facts, CNN has a reputation as having a slightly Liberal stance on news. Fox News has a reputation for leaning to the right and MSNBC has a reputation for strongly leaning left. I personally find these generalizations to be relatively true.

Other journalists however reject this concept of attempting to present the facts in an unbiased way all together. Heck, they do not mind including their individual opinions at all!! Take for example well known Conservatives, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Taking a peak at Glenn Beck’s radio websiteit would be tough to miss his right sided and rather witty opinions. On the same path as Beck, Rush Limbaugh also has a rep for his Conservative witticism. The instantaneous recognition of this is found when looking at his website. This is not only available through his video posts but even his advertisements. This one, in particular, I found to be a humorous mockery of Al Gore.

When jumping ship to the more liberal side of media personnel, an easy target for media bias criticism is Keith Olbermann. MSNBC recently had to release him from their lineup due to his extreme and unethical bias.

Biases can be masked but they are still exist.

It is impossible to be unbiassed.