A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interpreting Nasty Slants

We have all heard complaints about the evil “liberal media”. However, the last 25 years have witnessed conservative coverage of the world at large rise up, giving voice to the so-called silent majority. Many of these conservative outlets have been upfront about the slant of their coverage — with one major exception. Fox News boasts of offering fair and balanced coverage was laughable and easily disproven.

Let’s make the playing field level with this declaration: everyone has a bias. Down at the local level, print and non-print media (newspapers and radio) tend to lean conservative. A more liberal bias can be seen in the national media, but the more savvy outlets will leave the impression that they always present more than one side of the story.

So how can we determine where the bias is in local and national coverage? Simple, it can be found in the language used to tell the story. The lead paragraph — whether printed in a newspaper or read over the radio or television – can offer a good clue as to where the outlet’s bias lies. The following examples are from some recent stories and how they might be reported by various outlets.

Fair and balanced coverage would report: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was hospitalized after experiencing chest pains.

A rabid right-wing conservative outlet (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck) would report the same story this way: Former Vice President and Freedom Fighting champion Dick Cheney valiantly survived the onset of a suspected heart attack.

A rabid left-wing liberal outlet (Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and, oh, arteejee) might say it this way: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recently hospitalized to diagnose the cause of his chest pains and to get his annual booster shot for distemper.

Fair and balanced: President Barack Obama made an appearance at Arcadia University to publicize his healthcare reform proposals to the American public.

The rabid right-wing: Protesters turned out in force against President Barack Obama and his Obamacare proposals when he appeared at Arcadia University to ram passage of his socialist agenda down our throats.

The rabid left-wing: President Barack Obama appeared unto the adoring multitudes at Arcadia University to alleviate concerns the American public have for his health care reform proposals. Reportedly several supporters fainted when they were granted permission to touch the hem of his suit jacket.

Fair and balanced: Tea Party conventioneers in Nashville were treated to appearances by conservative commentators Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

The rabid right-wing: Tea Party faithful were roused into heightened fervor by conservative hero Glenn Beck and best-selling conservative author Sarah Palin.

The rabid left-wing: Tea Party supporters met recently in Nashville. Among the highlights were speeches by Hitler-wannabe Glenn Beck and Sarah (let me glance at my palm notes) Palin, as well as the first annual — and eagerly anticipated - Minnie Pearl Memorial Hat contest.

Admittedly, these examples display the combative tones used by many reporters today. At least one reporter (Dick Polman) has decried the nastiness written in the media today, and has called for a return to civility in news coverage. Yeah, good luck with that, Dick!

Unfortunately, this may not happen for awhile because nasty sells (read: is profitable) and — truth be told — it’s fun!

(Thank you for reading. Please remember to update immunizations for your pets and cranky old politicians regularly!)


Post a Comment

<< Home