Sunday, November 2, 2008

Can I get a huge DUH??

In a "shocking" study, the Center for Media and Public Affairs found that the media has been quite slanted in their coverage of this presidential election towards Obama. How? This study simply measured negative vs. positive comments made by news sources towards each campaign from reporters, people interviewed, and anchors. The most slanted? CBS and NBC aired by far the most positive comments for Obama and the fewest for McCain. 73% of CBS's comments were positive for Obama but only 31% positive for McCain while NBC aired 65% positive comments for Obama and just 16% for McCain. ABC was the most balanced of the "free" tv networks with 57% positive comments aired for Obama and 42% for McCain. The most balanced? You got it...Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume which the article said was "equally negative" towards each campaign with 39% positive comments for McCain and 29% for Obama. I find that interesting considering the absolute loathing liberals have for Fox News, accusing it of being biased towards the right. Funny thing is, conservatives basically consider every other network and major newspaper as being biased towards the left and studies like this won't do anything to hurt the beliefs of either side. I am someone who doesn't have cable or satellite (one of the last remaining who still use an old-fashioned antenna...mostly out of necessity mind you!), so my primary news sources tend to be online newspapers, our local printed newspaper, and various news websites and blogs. I came across this article on when I was checking my Yahoo mail. I also frequently read news from the newsfeed that comes on my computer, so from that aspect I get quite a bit of my news from MSNBC just because their articles show up in my news ticker the most. I have been quite disappointed, but hardly all that surprised, in how blatant much of the media is in their support of Obama. And just FYI, this wasn't the only study that found a bias in the media. Another study from The Project for Excellence in Journalism found McCain's coverage has been overwhelmingly negative and Obama's much more mixed since the conventions. All I could do in reading this article was let out a "DUH!"

It's not just broadcast media, it's printed media too. I've been getting the magazine Newsweek for the past few months as a free gift for unused airline miles and have been very disappointed with how slanted it is towards the left. It's not even close to being balanced, and really, I'd much rather have a balanced publication than one slanted to the left or to the right. Basically, if you have a liberal editorial or columnist, you need a conservative one to balance it out. How sad that so many journalists have bought into the idea that it is their job to influence readers rather than to simply present an objective view so the reader can make their own decision. Too often it seems as I've read and heard accounts by reporters their personal opinions injected into the actual reporting. If I wanted your opinion, I'll read the Opinion page or wait for an editorial. Just present me with the facts and leave out personal conjectures. Thanks

In a somewhat related political topic, I found a really interesting blog post from the conservative blogger at, the Akron Beacon-Journal's online version. His most recent post talks about comparing European socialist models to the US and cites a 2004 study from a pair of Swedish economists. As his blog points out, Sweden is one of the countries that liberals point to as a model for the US to follow. The Swedish economists, however, concluded that despite all the socialist aspects present in much of Europe, Europe as a whole continues to lag behind the US in terms of Gross Domestic Product and in how much money its citizens have. Some of the stats I found interesting were: the average living space for "poor" Americans was 1,200 square feet while the average living space for ALL Europeans (rich and poor) was 1,000 square feet; a larger percentage of people in Sweden would be considered living below the poverty line than people in the US despite Sweden's socialist policies; even in the US, a large percentage of "poor" people (45.9%) own their own homes, 72.8% own cars, and a whopping 77% have air conditioning (we don't have AC but again, not by choice!), things still considered luxuries in western Europe. Of course another important point is that the US largely supplies military defense for Europe, so that's a cost they have significantly less than we do, yet despite that we're still ahead economically. Now, bear in mind this study is from 2004 and things have changed, but don't forget that not only is the US in an economic downturn, but Europe is as well.

Another important point the blogger made that I totally agree with is that whenever someone accuses a liberal of having "socialist" ideas, it's taken as a big insult. I guess it's because socialism and communism have become such "bad words" in this country, but at the same time it's amost like those who support socialist policies, even those that lean towards socialism, are afraid to tell it like it is, knowing that any association with "socialism" is a fast-track to failure. I know for me, probably the biggest reason I'm voting for McCain is because Obama's ideas, as I have said, "reek of socialism." Forcing people to give up their income in the name of "spreading the wealth" is a form of socialism. We will never solve the problems of poverty by simply forcing people to give up what is theirs to others. That simply continues, if not exacerbates, the problem because it does not address the root of the problem. Poverty will only be solved when our society accepts the value that having gross excess isn't about "glutting ourselves" (as my mom says) but instead, those who are greatly blessed with material and financial wealth can in turn bless the lives of others. On top of that we have to more equally value the different roles we play in society (meaning entertainment figures like pro-athletes aren't valued way higher than teachers for instance or being a full-time mother is regarded as an actual full-time occupation even though it doesn't bring in a paycheck from an employer). In turn, those who would benefit from that help shouldn't just be given handouts, but aid in being able to sustain their own livelihoods and in turn, help others. Until that becomes voluntary and a core, common value no amount of government-forced "sharing the wealth" will solve poverty or lift the poor out of the gutters as we have seen in countless nations who have tried communism and socialism and even here with our many social welfare programs. And yes, this comes from someone who currently has around $20,000 in loan debt for school and a house that is about to be foreclosed on. I hardly qualify as "wealthy" by ANY financial use of the word (though I consider myself very wealthy in blessings!). The tools available to me, student grants and loans, are a way for me to get an education so I can be an idependent contributor to society. Me paying them back allows others later to enjoy the same opportunities.

My friend Nate (who is also my bishop!) showed me a great verse in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants on Friday and I read it again today during church. We all know the scriptural warnings against the rich, mainly in loving riches over God and our fellow man. These verses address both rich and poor and are found in D&C 56:16-17, a revelation received by Joseph Smith in June 1831 in Kirtland, Ohio:

16 Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!

Of course this verse is pretty standard rhetoric to most Christians; that is that worldy riches won't do us much good in the afterlife and loving riches pulls us away from God. There is nothing evil about being rich; only in loving riches more than God. This next verse, though is what stands out to me.

17 Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!

I added the underlines, but it pretty much sums up my feelings. How often do we see scriptural warnings to poor people? Hardly ever; indeed the next verse is much "nicer" in that the poor shall "see the Kingdom of God" provided they are "poor in spirit" (i.e. humble). Giving our excess to the "poor" isn't about entitlement, it's about helping those that need help so they can have the same opportunities to make their own living and be self-sustaining. For those with great wealth, it falls under "where much is given, much is required" as I mentioned before in terms of being a tool in the hands of God to bless others. For those with little wealth, there is an eternal principle that some type of work is required for blessings, even monetary blessings and again, where much is given, much is required. Really,it would be more correct to say, where anything is given, something is required whether it be some type of service, repayment, or humility.


Anonymous said...

i'm glad someone else realized what has been going on in the media. they have forgotten what their job is and why i actually used to LIKE watching the news.

Becky said...

I like your points about poverty. Too many people believe that being poor equals being helpless, when in reality there is always something one can do. Even if you can't do it all, you can keep working instead of blaming the government and waiting for a handout. Good post!!

detroittitanswbb said...

I'm very skeptical when I read about studies such as this because what determines negative coverage. And does all negative coverage have the same effect. Example, does Obama associating with terrorists have the same affect as say Palin's 150,000 wardrobe. Does the criteria change for "negative coverage" when it is fact v. speculation?

Jon said...

I understand about being skeptical. I think the main point I wanted to get across is that two independent sources identified major bias in the reporting of news and that the closest one to being "balanced" was the ire of liberals, Fox News. I don't think it was really focusing on the effects of what was reported, only that it existed. I didn't even touch on how I think overall Americans rely too heavily on the media to form their opinions.

CSmith said...

Much of the presidential media coverage was just talking heads with little substance to it, I thought.

Jon said...

I couldn't agree more! It's good to get other perspectives, yes, but too many seem to take the media's word as the final word.