Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Cool' Obama causes McCain to need miracle

This is some of the most blatant bias I have witnessed in recent political news.

Click here for the full article

In the article McCain fails, Obama is not rattled, reporter Roger Simon of Yahoo! news reflects on last night's third and final presidential debate. As a news reporter, he is expected to provide a neutral summary of crucial talking points or chief events that occurred at the debate. Simon however provided the exact opposite and included a personal touch in his conclusions on the event. His writing seemed to slant far left, as a desciple to the Democrats and clearly against the Republicans, particularly candidates McCain and Palin.

"Debates should not be confused with trips to Lourdes: Few miracles are dispensed," said Simon in his first sentence of the article. For the record, I never knew what Lourdes hospitals were until I lived in Binghatom, so that metaphor should have had some clarification or not been included. More importantly, why is a miracle necessary? He opens this article by saying that McCain needed a miracle in the last debate to gain victory; thus, he implies that Obama leads by a landslide, which last time I checked prior to this debate they were almost kneck-in-kneck. Some attribution there is necessary to support his claims.

Simon's entire article is full of biases, faults and inaccuracies not to mention intense sarcasm [against McCain] based especially on his personal views about the political parties.

Simon metaphorically expresses McCain's defeat as "the clouds did not part. Heavenly choirs were not heard." Is that really necessary? Especially the sarcastic tone, which granted it's print, the underlying sarcam is evident in this statement. To me, it read like a mockery toward McCain and Palin's policies and beliefs.

My favorite is when he criticizes McCain for sarcastically attacking Obama in the debate; I guess Simon would surely know about sarcastic attacks!

Furthermore, he pursues the idea that Obama was not phased by McCain's 'harsh, brutal attacks' against him during the debate, in fact according to Simon, "Obama was so cool that after 90 minutes under blazing TV lights, an ice cube wouldn't have melted on his forehead." Are we writing for a second-grade joke class? Also, how does he know if the lights were even hot at all? Either he spoke to the candidates or was there under the lights with them; I didn't see anyone but the participants on TV, nor did he quote Obama regarding the 'excessive heat.'

Another blatantly bias approach was how Simon referred to McCain's response as a sneer ("McCain sneered") instead of using the correct journalistic format by saying said after a direct quote in a news story.

It's also interesting that Simon only referenced McCain's followers as nasty and threatening, but failed to mention the recent SNL parodies against Palin, or Madonna's outcry, unruly rant and public ban from concerts to Palin for no apparent reason. Madonna even threatened to kick Palin's ass if she showed up at one of her tour venues! How's that for nasty rallies?

He continually regurgitates the fact that Obama remained "cool" through the debate despite McCain's unruly and heinous attacks (as Simon would summarize them). Yet, just because he held his temper so well during a public discussion does not automatically indicate that the public's fear of his past relations are completely inaccurate--it just means he can hide things well, if there is anything to hide. Even if Obama mentions terrorist associations "smoothly" as Simon describes, it still instigates fear in some people.

Again, Simon throws in one of his opinionated and sarcastic rhetorical questions implying his political party affiliation and thus creating a biased story when he says "And McCain's desire to keep his party united behind him--because who else is? —"

After reading Simon's [Democratic] slanted article, I realized that his conclusion from the debate is that McCain intends to spark a fire inside Obama and make him erupt in anger, since according to Simon, that would be the only way McCain could win this election. This is not very accurate either; it's based on a mere assumption, going against journalistic rules.

The reporter clearly dictates his personal political stance throughout the story and even implies loutish remarks against McCain and Palin in their efforts to win the election.

I almost commended him at the end for recognizing that the election is not over and anything can happen in politics, until I read his closing statement: "It usually doesn't however."
F.Y.I. miracles do happen, but a miracle is not necessary here, so first get the facts straight then tell the story.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Unlikely Headline Leads to Unlikely Bias

Newsday reporter can't hide bias against Lindsay's Dad

A local businessman with a heart of gold is jumping into the ring with Michael Lohan, the bad boy father of Lindsay Lohan, to see if he can take him out.

"LI businessman to fight Lindsay Lohan's dad" The title says it all.

At first glance one may think this article is about a legal battle between a CEO and a child star's parent. Look a little closer (i.e. two paragraphs down) and one may be surprised to find this article is describing a literal boxing match!

Now it may just be my reporters bias toward a good old metaphor, but I was floored when I came upon the portion of the article where the actual boxing match is revealed. There are literally six paragraphs that lead into the actual facts of this story. Aside from which, the fodder and fluff is "dissing" Lindsay Lohan's father!

This article is biased for many other reasons. "Venero, 40, says he's not nervous, despite knowing about Lohan's stint in jail. The man, who built a $100 million company.."
While I realize this article is a feature piece, the primary focus is Michael Lohan's time spent in jail. To promote this charity should be the first reason for the article, Lindasy Lohan's father should be the second.

Having read Newsday for many years now, I have come to realize that the reporters sentiment toward the Long Island actress is a negative one. While her father is participating in a charitable event, the focus is on his daughter and his criminal record.

The original article was written by Tania Padgett on October 14, 2008 and printed in Newsday.

Blogging Bias: Consevatives criticize debate moderator

Since the airing of the VP debate a couple of weeks ago, a vast number of blogs have criticized moderator Gwen Ifill, claiming her moderation was "biased." This criticism stems from her work in progress, a book to be titled "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the age of Obama."

The following are links to a couple of blogs questioning Ifill's fairness during the debate:

According to these and many other conservative bloggers (and unsurprisingly, a Fox News Report), Ifill's book is pro-Obama and its economic success depends upon the results of the election. They've also claimed that Ifill failed to disclose the potential conflict of interest.

The truth: Ifill's book is not pro-Obama. The success of the book is not dependent upon the success of the election, as much as it is Obama's candidacy. And Ifill didn't fail to disclose the book.

The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the age of Obama is about the roll of minorities in politics during recent history. According to Random House Publishing the book "sheds new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introduces the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political to power."

In September Gwen Ifill uploaded a video from Washington Week to Youtube, in which she openly talks about her book: "it's taking the story of Barack Obama and extending it to talk about a whole new generation of politicians..." said Ifill.

Furthermore, The book was reported on in the Washington Times and appeared in trade catalogs in July 2008. This was before she was selected to be moderator. It's not Ifill's fault the debate commission wasn't aware of her writing the book. The committee didn't do its homework.

And even if Ifill is pro Obama, does that make her incapable of being fair? No. Wouldn't you expect every Journalist to have an opinion? Yes. Ifill is the managing editor and moderator for a Washington Week and senior correspondent The News Hour on PBS. She is a respected Journalist with a long track record of covering politics and news, fairly. She should be judged only by her performance, not her interest in the candidacy of Barack Obama.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sports Bias

This is for all the sports fans out there, especially those who followed the most recent Cowboys game, Sunday night. Granted I am a Dallas native, I never followed football nor ever rooted for a favored team, therefore this blog will have no slant to it in reference to the article. AOL published an article regarding the recent Cardinals victory/Cowboys loss in Arizona, titled "Cards Block 'Boys Rally in OT."

It is not unusual to pick out the bias in controversial issue or political party stories, but to find biased news in sports coverage is rather different. It's understandable that the majority of the population are fans of at least one sports team, but when reporting on a specific event, or game, one's personal affiliation should be left out of the story. I mean the reporter should in no way insinuate their favored team, especially when the story involves that team!

After reading this article, I was convinced that the writer, Bob Baum, AP, was either a devoted Cardinals fan or simple anti-Cowboys advocate. Baum uses clear, concise coverage of the actual facts from game plays, yet he also makes it obvious that the Cowboys were unsuccessful in their efforts to win.

For instance he says, "almost isn't good enough when you're the Cowboys, who thus far haven't been the dominating team many expected them to be." This was his comment in response to Dallas coach Wade Phillips' statement that "it was almost a miracle finish for the team."
Obviously the team has not been on top like they would have liked to be, but to have placed such a random comment, almost like an emotional outburst in a sports re-cap article is practically unnecessary. It is public knowledge and already understood that Dallas is down right now and thus did not need to be reiterated by Baum in this article.
Then he proceeded to state the expectations, like a slap in the Cowboys' face. Yes, of course the team is held to high expectations, by fans, their coach, and opponents because of their reputation. However, this is not news! Isn't every team held up to some level of high expectations by those of either authority or the public/ fan bases? How is it any different for the Cowboys? I felt like that statement was out of place in the article since most of it discusses the plays and actions of both teams and explains basic facts of what occurred at the game. This is not the only time Baum reveals a slant in his writing.

Next, Baum uses more game-play to favor Arizona: "Folk was in field-goal range only because a 5-yard offside penalty was called against injured Arizona linebacker Travis LaBoy as he tried to limp downfield. The penalty moved the ball from the 40 to the 35."
I think Baum was a bit too detailed about this penalty field-goal made by Dallas. The bold parts show his "discreet" way of implying that it was an unfair advantage to Dallas and rained a pity shower on Arizona's injured player.

Lastly, Baum said "that was just one of the weird moments in Arizona's sixth consecutive home victory." Here, he reveals his pride over Arizona's victory in Sunday night's tense game. "Weird moment?" Is that a unanimous conclusion or just another emotional appeal?

Palin is a politician, not a Playboy bunny.

Headline: FOX freakout over unretouched Palin photo on Newsweek cover

Leave it to FOX news to broadcast a seemingly minor issue in such a manner that surely makes respected news anchors around the country cringe. Nothing against FOX news, but I think it is a fair comment to mention that they are no strangers to media bias.  

This video was shown in one of my communication classes. I thought it was perfect content to analyze for The Unbiased Tabloid. (Video was found on

The female news anchor, Megan, who happens to be all dolled up for the show, complete with the all-too-popular plastered on, gallons of makeup look, deals out the opening line, "Well, have ya seen the latest cover of Newsweek?" all the while scrunching her face in disgust. 

Megan continues,"Some say it (the photo) is ridiculously unfair to her (Palin.)" Who says it is unfair? Is this only Megan's/FOX news' opinion? Megan goes on to say that the audience won't really be able to see the "imperfections" on the screen, but to "trust her" (two times) that it is there, in the flesh (no pun intended.)

Two other women, republican media consultant Andrea Tantaros and Julia Piscitelli from the Women and Politics Institute at American University, join in on this silly debate over whether or not Newsweek was wrong in not retouching Gov. Sarah Palin's photo before placing it on the magazine's cover and selling issues all over the world, supposedly showcasing Palin's womanly "imperfections"like unwanted facial hair, pores, wrinkles, etc. If you ask me, if Newsweek should be accountable for any wrongdoing, it should be for running the headline, "She's one of the folks (and that's the problem.)"

If anything is a "slap in the face" to Palin, as Andrea pointed out about six times throughout the broadcast, it is the blatant insult behind the headline, which is demeaning to Palin and just plain cruel. "She's one of the folks" is a statement, "and that's the problem" is an unnecessary opinion, talk about bias---> whoever okayed that headline takes the gold, no contest.

Andrea and Julia go back and forth, Andrea nearly foaming at the mouth, arguing the same point over and over. She describes the cover as "mortifying," while Julia sticks to her opinion that people are "overreacting" to the issue. 

As I sat there watching this video, I couldn't help but to start laughing, many other students following suit. Because, who cares about whether or not the photo should have been retouched or not? FOX news needs to cover stories that are actually useful in the progression of the candidates' campaigns, not worry about the status of their worry lines and wrinkles. 

How absurd can news coverage get? Would this even be considered news coverage? I couldn't find anything relevant about this "debate." Are people really digging this deep to find something they can criticize, all the while in support and defense of 40-something women everywhere?

In the video all three women agree that Palin is a beautiful woman. This is true, so why the argument on whether or not to create the effect of an airbrushed face, like a supermodel? Palin is a politician, not a Playboy bunny. 

It would take pages to explain the ludicrous of this broadcast, so I'll just point out a few of the obvious examples of bias and a few questions they provoked.

Firstly, both Andrea and Megan attempted to debate that Palin's Newsweek cover was "mortifying," while Obama was pictured in this cover as "perfect," with a halo-like light above his head, therefore glorifying his campaign. (Or it could have been that the picture was taken in the sun, but someone had to make the decision to go with this photo over another, so some amount of bias had to have been present.)

Who knows if Newsweek has always favored Obama, retouching his photos and therefore showing him in a heroic light? To make this broadcast worthy of any kind of intelligent discussion there needs to be some kind of research presented about how Newsweek operates. Do they favor one candidate over the other? What about McCain and Biden? 

Should there be a social standard set in place that either everyone has their cover photos retouched or no one does, regardless of sex, race, occupation, etc?

What does it mean, if anything, that the two women who were in fierce opposition to this Newsweek cover, were wearing momentous amounts of makeup, while the third woman, who was the only one trying to sound rational and keep the peace, appeared more natural?

Have the media gone too far in analyzing seemingly irrelevant aspects of political content?

Is this debate an excuse for feminists to rally against the unfair treatment of women? Being a woman, myself, I could really care less about the issue of "to photoshop or not to photoshop." I'm sure Palin was not too wounded by Newsweek's effort to dampen her day, either. 

Check out the video, it is a riot to watch--> chock full of bias and all, and is guaranteed to leave you scratching your head and laughing your butt off.