On a fundamental level, our political allegiances are formed and determined by our personality and temperament. Human personalities are partly inherent and partly socialized, but they will nevertheless lead us to our instinctive reactions to a wide array of political affairs. In the absence of thorough personal research on an issue, it is our temperament that guides us to an opinion. It’s no sin to have strong values that inform one on how to act. However, overarching values applied in frivolous manners don’t allow for much distinction to individual circumstances.
In late 2018, Harvard University published a study debunking the oft-propagated “wage gap” myth. They found that even in a unionized profession that mandates equal hourly pay and tenure-based promotions, women earn about 89% of what a man makes on average. The wage gap study shows that men and women making different choices is really what accounts for the gap.
Thomas Calabro | United States
The media is probably one of the most politically powerful entities in the US. This unique group can reveal dark secrets, spin stories for deceptive purposes, or blatantly lie to create emotional backlash against an event. Their social status puts them in a position where they are not only respected, but their claims are immediately revered as truths. This special status distorts any skepticism of the press as threats against the media as well as our very own democracy. Any person who wishes to challenge the media is automatically a tyrant, who wishes to keep their operations a secret from the public.
This is not a support for taking away the rights of the press, nor is it supporting strong central figure to destroy the media for exposing bad policies, unnecessary military conflicts, and his/her lies to the people. The media does play a role in preventing authoritarians from using fear-mongering tactics to suppress liberty, to engage in war, and to obtain more influence. Without a free press we would not we might not know of our atrocious policies, military conflicts, and much more. But one can support the media while also having some skepticism towards this institution’s claims.
This leaves me with the question: What is the motivation inside the media? Is it a desire to provide information to all, and truly stop tyrants? Is it an evil inclination to deceive the pubic to fall in line with their own personal biases? What drives those with such power to go out and write stories about the world, or engage in a hilarious confrontation with the president?
We all have some sort of bias in our minds and our hearts. From how we were raised, to what we’ve experienced, and even what morals we follow, we can look at the world and see it differently from others. These biases can be so strong that it is obvious where the writer/pundit is trying to lead the audience. Someone who has a political agenda, such as those from past administrations, or supporters for the opposition party, can find the spin that can make a story support their own beliefs.
However these biases can also be very minute, as well as difficult to spot. The biased person may not even notice their bias, but can find themselves following these deep-seeded inclinations. This could be exposure to some phenomenon, or the acceptance of some beliefs as factual, instead of arguable. It could be poor experiences with authority that may not seem significant at first glance but can still impact how one looks at any kind of established authority.
With a media as powerful as today’s, many argue that such a force has the ability to take down powerful figures, especially the President. This in turn gives media figures a special place in history as fighting corruption, removing a President, or preserving democracy. The obvious example is the Watergate scandal, which both uplifts and destroys the media’s role in the impeachment/resignation of President Richard Nixon. While we generally see the media as essential in uncovering Watergate, and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as important for their work, many argue, as well as Woodward himself, that we should not “overemphasize” the press’ power.
To say that the press brought down Nixon, that’s horseshit,” he says. “The press always plays a role, whether by being passive or by being aggressive, but it’s a mistake to overemphasize (the role of the media)” – Robert Woodward
Of course, without Woodward and Bernstein, the Watergate story would’ve either been hidden forever, or lost public interest as it developed. It is possible that many may wish to become the next Bob Woodward, exposing corruption, creating buzz, and creating a name that will last throughout history. Even if Woodward is right about the media’s actual role, sociologist Michael Schudson thinks it doesn’t matter, that the myth of the media’s role makes the media far more powerful and respected.
A mythology of the press in Watergate developed into a significant national myth, a story that independently carries on a memory of Watergate even as details about what Nixon did or did not do fade away. At its broadest, the myth of journalism in Watergate asserts that two young Washington Post reporters brought down the president of the United States. This is a myth of David and Goliath, of powerless individuals overturning an institution of overwhelming might. It is high noon in Washington, with two white-hatted young reporters at one end of the street and the black-hatted president at the other, protected by his minions. And the good guys win. The press, truth its only weapon, saves the day.” – Michael Schudson Watergate in American Memory
Regardless, the media’s past is one of a powerful entity, one that can also preserve our names if we expose dictators and make significant changes in political climates.
Every ideology has their own group that supports their stances, and worships their heroes for defending their cause. They also have their super villains to fight against. This creates a demand for stories, data, and opinions that promote their views and beliefs by telling the story they want to hear. A great example is the left-leaning sites that claim Senator Sanders influenced Jeff Bezos’ wage hike. The audience wants their hero to defeat, or even outsmart their villain, will rejoice anyone who panders to them.
The Truth Seekers
Obviously, even if you have a negative view of the mainstream media, there are some out there who truly want to spread information and make a difference. They can expose problematic policies, sad stories, and horrific tales, as well as uplifting stories about the good in the world. They will rely on facts, listen to the reality we live in, and let the people know what goes on in our world.
Regardless of the media’s specific motivation, we find ourselves struggling to grasp on to truth and knowledge without getting caught up in the hysterics. The best approach to look at the news is to have a certain skepticism until enough research can support claims made. This will not only create a sense of responsibility, but can help one look objectively at the world around them, and focus on the facts, not the deceptions.
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By Mike McCosker | United States
Monday, March 5, 2018, was a day that many people will forget. That is because most major media outlets were not busy sensationalizing the day of prospective violence that does not fit the anti-gun agenda. However, for students at Pine View High School in St. George, Utah, the news that one of their very own students had planned to plant a bomb, and murder hundreds, should be a shock.
Preliminary reports from the Associated Press stated that an unnamed student brought a homemade bomb to his government school Monday. 1 The unnamed student also replaced the school’s American flag with the Islamic State’s flag in February. 1 According to the police investigation, the materials to make the homemade bomb was found at the student’s house. 2
While the bomb caused no damage and resulted in no damage, other than creating a large amount of fear for the staff and students, the most important piece of information pertaining to this event is absolute lack of consistent coverage by most major media outlets. It should be an easy enough question to answer, but why have the majority of news outlets lost or never had interest in this incident from the beginning? To put it simply, this event does not bring attention.
Modern news reporting has become more synonymous with news making, as single events are dissected, and sensationalized to try and bring more attention to an ad watching audience. The February 14 shooting at a school in Parkland Florida continues to be reported on, and dramatized, even though the event took place close to one month ago. 3 But what makes the two so different?
Both events were terror attacks that took place in schools. Both targeted the youth of America, but, in only one of the events did children die, and like Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Each time a school shooting takes place it is easy to explain away the evil done by a firearm, and that fear of a weapon is turned into cash for gun control lobbying groups. 4 One of the largest, and most aggressive gun control groups, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has donated $0 to any real lobbying effort, despite roughly $346,000 of donations entering into their business for that sole purpose. 5
Inevitably, it is greed that drives the gun control narrative, and it is greed that drives media outlets to continue to talk about a school shooting from a month ago, instead of the underlying issue of student mental health, that is symptomatic in attempted homicide and suicide.
So, like all “good” news articles, let’s end with the “call to action.” Be a good person, be a good neighbor, and if you see fake, emotionally charged news, ignore it, and suffocate the mass media monster of the one thing it truly needs: your attention.
By Nick Hamilton | United States
If it seemed as if the left wing news organization, CNN, couldn’t get any less trustworthy and credible, then you haven’t been paying attention. This week, their coverage of the mass shootings in Florida has caused major outrage from people who don’t like their fake news spoon-fed.
Earlier this week, CNN’s Drew Griffin visited Florida and performed a “gotcha” style interview with Florine Guren Goldfarb, a Trump supporter, outside her home. He bombarded her with questions about her alleged efforts to collude with Russia during the 2016 Presidential Election. Alleged by who, you ask? CNN themselves. They belabored an argument insinuating direct involvement with the Kremlin to sway the election although Goldfarb testified she knew all her people and that they were “all Trump supporters.”
The segment starts off with Anderson Cooper mentioning the Mueller indictment, saying that the Russians only helped President Donald Trump, (which in itself is fake news, the indictment also mentions Russians staging Anti-Trump protests) and saying that a Facebook group called “Being Patriotic” was sharing Pro-Trump messages, and this lady shared one of their posts on Facebook. So rather than doing the rational thing, and asking her to appear on an interview or exchanging courteous and civil emails, like a respected news outlet should, they showed up at her house and started to harass her.
What you’ll see in this video is frankly disgusting, but if you wish to see this for yourself, you can view the video here. However, that’s not the only screw up that CNN has had this week.
Of course, it seems as if everything mentioned in this article done by CNN is absolutely disgusting. But CNN is now using children as puppets to push their agenda. You may be wondering how one could come to such a conclusion. Here’s how.
Colton Haab, one of the survivors of the shooting last week, appeared on a local news station, WPLG, last night after the debate. (View a video here, courtesy of Mark Dice) Haab stayed home because he wasn’t allowed to ask his question. Now you may think his question may have been inappropriate. Apparently, a valid question about hiring retired veterans who are unable to find work is inappropriate by CNN standards in a discussion about protecting the safety of our children. They told this teen to ask one of their “scripted questions.”
This is absolutely outrageous. CNN is manipulating the victims of the Florida shooting with a clear intent to push their own political agenda. Someone who survived a tragedy was discouraged to attend a discussion because CNN decided that their own political agenda was more important than the ideas and thoughts of a survivor himself. This is not only a disgrace to media outlets, this is a disgrace to the United States democracy. of course, CNN is denying doing so because apparently they’re just so perfect, and can’t own up to things when they screw up, like adults.
These disgusting acts by CNN shouldn’t be tolerated. Their ratings are falling and I’d love to see that keep happening. CNN is becoming less trustworthy every single day, and frankly, society has accepted it. I’m calling on Drew Griffin and CNN to issue an apology to the lady they harassed. I’m also calling on whoever’s bright idea it was to use children as a political puppet to apologize to the family of Colton Haab, and I encourage anyone else who suffered those same consequences to speak out as well. And my message to CNN: If you’re going to be biased, at least try and act like you’re an impartial network. At least act like adults over there. Because bullying people because of their beliefs is an elementary school move, and censoring certain views from being shared is, again, a threat to our democracy.
Image from CNN.