News Hour – Viewer Discretion Advised

A recent post on the Facebook wall of a friend of mine was published by Fox News.  The topic of this video discussed HR 347 and was labeled as an “Anti-Free Speech Bill” and carried the tag line “Obama signs bill ‘in secret’”. The following comments then erupted into a flurry of anti-Obama/democrat party comments by viewers.

This post is not designed to debate the details of this resolution or my view on its pros and cons. The topic of this post is to present a couple of issues that this particular post brought to my mind.

Firstly, there is no such thing as a “Secret House Resolution”. To say that the president signed something into law “in secret” is only showing how little is known about the way laws are passed in the United States. Being a House Resolution (HR) this idea was first introduced in the House of Representatives where is there had to be passed by a majority vote before being submitted to the Senate (As all laws have to be passed by both houses of congress in identical form before they can be sent to the President’s desk for approval). Only then could this “secret house resolution” be sent to the Oval Office for final approval. So, in short, claiming that the president signed a bill “in secret” is just plain false.

Now that we have that all cleared up, secondly, all news stations be it CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS, ABC, NBC or any other that you can think of carries a partisan bias. Let me illustrate what this means. All of these news agencies run commercials during their program. Therefore, their ultimate goal is to get high ratings and therefore more viewers so their advertising and marketing groups and have a strong case when selling air time to potential buyers.  Now this presents and interesting question which is simply, why? If their goal is to present “news” then why do they care about ratings and viewers? Well, sadly, news agencies are primarily a corporation just like any business out there and need to remain profitable.

This is why we see more and more “entertainment news” shows popping up. These would be shows such as The Rachael Maddow Show, Rod Dailey, John Stewart, etc. Present news AND make them laugh equals more viewers which makes the air time during their program more expensive thus increasing the agencies profits for airing that news show.

Therefore, it is not the primary goal of most news agencies to present facts. It is their primary goal to appeal to their viewer base. This is why Fox News says things like “Obama signs a secret house resolution” or why MSNBC takes an issue and only presents one or two tag lines from a much larger article. They do this to appeal to their base of primary viewers. For Fox News that would be far right wing conservative republicans. The more Fox News can misrepresent topics to slander the Democratic Party, the more their viewers like them and their program. The same holds true for MSNBC which panders primarily to left wing liberal democrats.

Finally, it is important to note that each news agency is owned by someone… yes, they all have an owner, a board of advisors and large marketing staffs at their disposal. What to know what type of bias the news station will probably carry? Look up its owner and see what they contribute their money to come campaign time… this will give you a very clear picture of what type of bias that particular station will carry.

In conclusion, all news stations carry a bias of some sort whether it be small or large. It is therefore important for us to do our own independent research from a variety of sources when it comes to what is presented in the news broadcasts we view.



Homemade Cupcakes < Lethal Weapons?

Recently the Deseret News published this interesting take on guns in schools:

Do you think that guns should be allowed in public schools?  

The author, the co-founder of Utah Parents Against Gun Violence, brings up several points and ideas:

1) A parent and teacher, can bring a gun to school if they go through the appropriate training, but neither can offer our children homemade cupcakes?

2) How about more police officers in schools, instead of teachers with guns?

3) What teacher has the time or money to go through this training?

There seems to be a lack of focus in the conversation on the real problem – the person that wants to wield a gun to hurt others/themselves.  Mental health was talked about immediately after the debate, given that Adam Lanza seemed to have an autism spectrum disorder.  The media and politicians began to wonder how to invest in mental health, to only have the conversation shift to paranoia and a bright spotlight on those on the autism spectrum, to considering limiting the rights of those with mental health symptoms to have access to guns. 

As gun advocates themselves point out, laws can restrict the selling/purchasing of guns as much as they want, but those who really want the gun will get it – including those with digagnosed/undiagnosed mental health problems.

Perhaps a more important question is:  How can we prevent someone from wanting to kill others and themselves with guns in the first place?  How much of these recent shootings are a reaction to our struggling economy?  To our changing culture from person-to-person contact to having to communicate and feel through technology?  To our changing identities, and the sometimes rough transition (or lack thereof) of society to being more accepting of difference?.  To our lack of contact with others, because we are working more hours than ever before? 

There is a severe lack of connection between all of us, despite technology’s objective of connecting us more than before.  

Looking at the happiness and welfare of the American people may not completely solve this problem, but it is certainly something that needs to be addressed.  

We need to reestablish connection, and love for each other.