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November 30, 2006

Technology in the Third World

Computer per Child Campaign. This is a project designed to get low costing ($150) laptop computers to third world countries. The article I read was dealing with this project. It seems to have sparked a debate as to will this actually be an obtainable goal and will it actually lead to educating children in third world countries. Intel believes that this can happen are trying to make computers cheaper and ones that can teach the children. Microsoft on the other hand does not believe this will work because the technology is too advanced and that they do not have the capabilities in the rural areas to maximize their usage. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/30/technology/30laptop.html?em&ex=1165035600&en=b685b8c4df53a1ea&ei=5087%0A

I thought about the culture topic we had in class and I think that Microsoft could be right. I mean these people don’t have Internet or have ever used a computer. It just is not apart of their culture. One major question would be is, do these people want a computer? Or would they rather have something more productive like farm equipment or something that will actually help out these third world countries. I don’t think these business types are thinking this project through. I don’t really see this as a good idea. It is almost forcing our way of learning and our culture onto another. We know this does not work. Bill Gates describes it as, “just taking what we do in the rich world and assuming that that is something good for the developing world, too.?

Changing 2000yrs of religion over night?

After living in Iraq for 18 months with the Iraqi army I learned a lot about religion from another perspective. Could you imagine your whole life revolving around religion? I know I could not, but this is how it is there. There priorities are: 1. Religion 2. Family 3. Self. Where as I would say it is safe to say that many Americans prioritize 1.Self/Money/Success 2. Family 3. Religion. Almost opposites from each other. One of the things that I was suppose to train these men over there was to have no religious biases when working for the army. Imagine trying to tell a country with 2000+ years of history where religion is their driving force to everyday living that they cannot express it. This was hard for me and others to do since we would think to ourselves, "Who am I to tell these men when they can or cannot portray their religious beliefs."

Thinking back to class and the chart on multiculturalism, I don’t think that the US is all that multicultural at least in a single cohesive sense. I see it as a bunch of cultures that tolerate each other and accept a given set of societal norms or people would not want to come here. I see the U.S. as a religion refugee camp. Here people don’t go out and kill each other because they are one religion or the other. On the other hand the Iraq situation is just the opposite. Either you believe one or the other and you are considered the enemy or lesser people and if you are an extremist within your religion then you would kill the “non-believers?. One question I thought of when writing this is, How does one of the youngest nations in the world become a world expert on how an “ideal country? is run?

Globalization - A Necessity for Every Country and Business.

In another one of my classes we are currently on the topic of Globalization and the pro's and con's of the ever-changing and developing world. I found an article about British controlled companies caught in a conundrum on whether to remain privately owned or sell out to internationally run organizations or American organizations. Many believe that the open-market and free trade are revolutionizing the industrial world and they must not be left behind. While others believe that these Multi-National Organizations pinch every dime they can out of various companies while producing inferior goods because they have a lock on the international market. It is a debate that can be argued both ways but most see that nations with open economies prosper vastly greater than those that have a closed economy. It is a matter of how a country perceives itself in the realm of world and how they can generate a profit by going in a new direction or continuing with their old plan.

I am in favor of globalization because I believe it helps extinguish primordial conceptions of third world countries. Of course I subscribe to the definition of Globalization as the development of a country to make possible international influences or operations. I believe that a country has every advantage to be an open-market with the financial backing of America or NPO's or MNO's. Third-world countries have a chance to prosper for themselves if they are conditionally better at making a quality good that the world needs and wants. Technology is the future of this world and the recent globalization phenomenon is helping to develop very rural cities in the Far East and African nation's so they can enhance their way of life and develop into a contributing force on the international front.


Ellison is a Muslim?

We all know who Keith Ellison is by now and we know that he is the first Muslim to be elected to the United States congress. He is also the first African American to be elected to the house of representative from Minnesota but it seems that the media is only concerned about the man’s religion. It has been pointed out over and over again that if he wins he would be the first Muslim to do so. Even as I was watching his victory speech, I noticed that the reporters kept mentioning the fact that Keith Ellison was a Muslim and little reference was made about his race. And I wondered why did it matter whether he is a Muslim or not?

During his victory speech, Ellison states that his main concern was the community and religion had little to do with it. Nonetheless, while he was giving his speech, the most amazing thing happened, the people behind him started chanting “Allahu Akbar? which means “God is great?-(to show that one is grateful and blessed by God). At this moment I realized that Ellison despite his main concern, has changed history, along with his supporters he has opened a door to countless of individuals and now Muslims can actually have a voice in congress. Maybe religion does matter and whether or not w trust the media shouldn’t be a problem as long as we make an impact-change history, make a a goal for ourselves and deal with things in a rational way. But I still wonder, on whose best interest is the media looking after?


Until recently I thought bonobos were just chimps. But I found out that even though there are some similarities between the two, there are key differences. They both live in African rainforest, eat fruit, and live in troops. However, Bonobos are the “make love, not war? primates. The females form coalitions, there is less violence and they have sex 10 times as much as the chimps. What was more interesting was that these differences are due to the different location of the species. So sociologists might be right after all, interactions are context-specific and they could explain our behavior.

Sociologists such as George Simmel, have pointed out that social context creates roles (or social type), it creates certain forms of associations and the types of “selves? and it influence the ways in which the “selves? can interact. Like chimpanzees, bonobos eat fruit, but unlike the chimps they can get food easily on the forest floor, and there is no conflict between the bonobos over the amount of food one can get. Wrangham points outs that “one of the great thrusts of behavioral biology for the last three or four decades has been that if you change the conditions that an animal is in, then you change the kind of behavior that is elicited?. If we do change the location of a certain specie, would the specie change its behavior, and the way they interact, could it reduce conflict/violence or would it create a whole new problem?

“Free Riders?

In class we looked at the “prisoner’s Dilemma?- where two suspects are arrested, the police don’t have enough evidence to convict and the two suspects are better off defecting no matter what the other prisoner does. In my social theory class we talked about sociologist such as Peter Blau and other exchange theorist who point out that individual are agents, they seek pleasure, profit or prestige, and they might be a free rider-trying to get their own way-. Through exchange, we learn what works and what doesn’t, interaction is rational, we might be looking out for our own interest and pleasure.

As we looked upon the “prisoner’s Dilemma?, it was said that- the rational strategy for individual is to be selfish, the rational strategy, collectively, is to cooperate but the more others cooperate, the more it pays to defect. So if it is better to be a “free rider?, why do we cooperate? And how do we know others would cooperate? Steven Pinker states that “the best way to convince a skeptic that you are trustworthy and generous is to be trustworthy and generous.? (259) Is this the right approach? If we all act in this way, how can we trust one another?

Mulitculturism and Veils in France

I was interest in todays class about the talk on Multiculturism and its role in the world. This intrigued me because I am in another class where we were recently talking about France and its decision to ban all conspicuous religious symbols including the veil worn by Muslim women, the Jewish Yamaka, and the Christina cross or crucifix. The French believe such a ban will eliminate multiculturism and will unite every citizen under a French symbol. They believe that by eliminating all of these symbols people do not separate themselves from other French citizens and these citizens are attempting to fit in with French culture rather than France adopting other cultures. Many French politicians along with Muslims themself believe that the veil is emasulating to women and further demeans them in the eyes of Muslim men. They believe that the secular notion that France has adopted should be understood and upheld for every French citizen not placing anybody's religious beliefs above anybody else. On the flip side, many Muslim believe they are wearing the veil out of free-choice and that they should be allowed to express themselves as they feel necessary.

I feel that banning these "conspicuous" religious symbols is ridiculous because I don't feel that people wearing a veil, yamaka or crucifix identify themselves as superior to others because of this religious symbol. They wear them because they are proud of their faith and they believe in their faith. A nation-state such as France will always be France because of its history and it has always been the same way. I do not feel they need to be worried that the nation will converted to a Muslim or Jewish state but rather they should be worried about the consequences of this ban and the uproar it will cause if people are banned of wearing something that is often times required of their faith. However, I realize that the French have a right to do whatever they like with their laws I just worry that the abolishment of such articles will further intensify distinctions between religious groups and will only foster more racist tensions.


Taylor Hicks Receives More Votes Than Any President in History?

I recently came across an article that intrigued me greatly. The past winner of "American Idol" Taylor Hicks receieved more votes than any other President in history. Hicks receieved over 63 million votes on his way to becoming America's next "Idol". While Presidential incumbent George W. Bush received a little over 62 million votes and runner-up candidate John Kerry received a dismal (compared to the powerhouse Hicks) a little over 59 million votes. However, people my see this data and think that American's did not show up at the polls but on the contrary they showed up in record numbers. Not since 1968 has a Presidential election receieved a greater voter turnout than the 2004 Presidential election. Approximately 61% of eligible voters turned out to cast their vote for their Presidential nominee.

Although, American's turned out in droves (if you consider a little over half of the eligible voters a "drove") to vote for their respective candidate with the hopes that their vote would make a difference, it would appear that American's are more interested in pop-culture and television than they are politics and the future of their nation. I find it alarming that people are more interested in a glorified karaoke singer than they are the leader of the free world. It is alarming to me and it should be to others that our society is so heavily complacent on celebrities and reality television when there are so many pressing issues the U.S. and its people face today. If you voted for Taylor Hicks or the runner-up in "American Idol" but you did not show up for the Presidential election in 2004 you should not be able to critique the government or the war in Iraq and how you wish things were different. I hope that people realize that when celebrities are more commonly known and are interested in more so than the President they will realize that something is wrong and become actively involved in changing this backwards cycle.


El Gobierno de México (The Mexican Government)

I just read an article about Mexican government and the issues at the swearing in of the President-elect Felipe Caledron. The opposition party basically commandeered the podium that was supposed to be used to swear him in yesterday and fought off and on for 17 hours to stop it from happening.

This article is more interesting for how things are said by the author; not as importantly as what is said. Mexico has come under scrutiny from the US government lately for corruption in their government, which has led to rampant drug trafficking and illegal immigration to the United States. Basically we’re saying that our problems are their fault. The fact that there is fighting over an election is making news because of conduct of the members of the political parties. The first interesting point is that the article mentions that the Mexican government has come under scrutiny. The article doesn’t mention that it’s scrutiny by the US. The question there is how much legitimacy does a US criticism of any other country constitute a government being under scrutiny? If Panama has issues with the US government does that mean that the US government is under scrutiny? There is no good reason to have mentioned that in this article. The second point is that other countries have lawmakers fighting all the time. There are Asian countries where this is a fairly common practice. That doesn’t make it in the news every day. I just thought it was an interesting criticism of another country where, in some cases, we don’t have the right to talk.


Freedom and Democracy

Recently there has been much interest in the Russian Government and speculation about how Russia's political enemies are "dispensed" with. Alexander Litvinenko is just the newest name in a string of mysterious deaths of political dissidents from Russia, and it was perhaps just his questionable death by polonium-210 that caught media attention. Polonium-210 is only made in a nuclear reactor and therefore whoever poisoned Litvinenko must have had some serious connections. The accusation made by Litvnenko on his death bed was that President Putin himself was ultimately responsible for his death. Another concern was that at the time of the poisoning, Litvinenko was investigating the suspicious death of a Russian journalist who had also been critical of the Putin administration. These are just a few examples, but many more have surfaced, including that of the Forbes Magazine (Russian Edition) managing editor's murder several months back. He too, apparently was critical of the government and unfortunately was murdered by an unidentified contract killer. These allegations too of government involvement have recurred time and again, most notably with their accusers meeting a mysterious death. Or if your a financial dissident, perhaps that can be commuted to incarceration.

Whether or not these allegations of murder are true, the fact remains that someone, perhaps not the government is doing these acts. Leaders of other countries, including Britain and parts of Europe have voiced their concerns over what's happening in that country. A friend of Litvinenko's put it this way, "Those rogue people are, in my opinion, a direct responsibility of Mr Putin. They are the result of the ideology of falsely understood nationalism which is now being injected into the Russian people." (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6184804.stm)

(Latest on Ex-spy death and contamination)



(Russia's Secret police)


Great New Mother

Yesterday’s Star Tribune, November 29, published an article titled, “Charges allege Ohio mother microwave her baby to death?.
The evidence against the woman who brought her dead baby to the hospital includes a medical exam resulting, “He said the evidence included high-heat internal injuries and the absence of external burn marks on the baby…?.

The woman is on a million dollar bail awaiting jurisdiction. Persecution however against the woman is in where the problem lies. Because of the little if any information we have on the effects of microwave radiation on a human, the medical examiner had to simply label the death as hyperthermia, or high body temperature. This is in fact a dream for the defense attorney(s) as no solid evidence of the mother putting the baby in the microwave can be exacted. Charges will deal mostly with the assumption of purposeful death, but also child abuse, due to the fact that the woman did not bring the child in to the hospital until the morning after the death.
My response to this is how far we can continue to let these violations occur. The famous post-partum depression syndrome will most likely be attributed to the case, as with others of the like were. When does the line between mental illness and murder be defined? The excuse of a chemical imbalance has for me always been suspicious, if not ridiculous. But what is the answer, since evidentiary support is often not available. Perhaps a stronger reevaluation of medical care for expectant and new mothers, a certain social worker. Regardless the tragedy is immense, and unfortunately not extinct, but quite numerous.

Doctors' Secrets

In Newsweek’s November 20th issue is an interesting article that was actually hidden on the bottom third or a page. In the Periscope section of the magazine is an article hard not to notice entitled “Drugs: Family Docs Join The Drug War?. The article is fairly harmless, as a mere suggestion, or possibility for the future. But what does this really mean for the doctor patient confidentiality agreement, a bond that we may soon cherish. The article simply points out doctor’s intervention in alcoholic’s health by a face to face confrontation with the patient about health concerns.

This really made me think about what other drugs could be identified through simple observation during a routine doctor’s exam, and I have to admit that I have thought about this topic myself. I am one of those people that literally panic in doctors offices, and the dentist, which is not a problem (meds help) my incessant talking in order to distract myself is. One horrific visit to the dentist for a simple teeth cleaning made me blabber to the hygienists, “can you tell when someone has an eating disorder, or is a habitual cocaine user??.
The reason for this question as my mouth is wide open was due to my prior knowledge of close friends with eating disorders having rotten teeth and receding gums from stomach acid, as for the cocaine I know that cocaine eventually opens a hole in your sinuses, making bloody noses common. Politely the hygienist said that yes she can tell these things, and even added meth use to the list. I have gone to the same dentist my entire life, so I probably am privileged to information that would usually not be divulged normally, but I was shocked.
If as the article implies, doctors indeed are going to be privileged to start an intervention in a patients drug use through confrontation, then does it follow that they will soon be in collusion with illegal drug agencies? I do believe that illegal drug use, and over indulgence of alcohol is terribly debilitating both emotionally and physically, however I also believe that help only comes to those seeking it. The confrontation from a doctor would not be the same as him suggesting you have a mole removed, he is suggesting that you are an addict in trouble. A lot of people could be helped, and oppositely a lot of people can lose trust in their physicians. Whatever the outcome, I’m sure we will be seeing it soon, as our medical system evolves through technological capitalism.

Che Guevara and the Peaceful Revolution

I read an article on cnn.com about Bolivia’s land redistribution plan. The president, Evo Morales, who is of indigenous decent, helped pass a plan to give land back to native Bolivians (the article refers to them as “indians?). This would take land away from wealthy landowners of European decent. The article says that the land parcel could be about the size of Nebraska.

The article refers to the land as “unproductive.? The article didn’t mention what makes land productive or unproductive. If the land is unusable for agricultural reasons then this act could be meaningless. If the idea is that people can make ranches on this land that would be a very expensive prospect. Though “unproductive? could just refer to land that is not currently being allocated to agricultural means at this time.

When reading this article I couldn’t help but think of Che Guevara. He wanted indigenous people to be able to work the land without working as day laborers on other people’s land. Where he thought a revolution was necessary Morales chose a more stable political path. I think it’s ironic that this happened in the country in which Guevara died. I don’t know much about Guevara but this seems to be a very bold, arguably Marxist, move for Bolivia.

The irony of this information is that I didn’t find it on the front page of cnn.com. Granted it could have been front page yesterday, when I didn’t read the website but it’s becoming increasingly harder to find information about Latin America through regular news sources. I don’t know why that is but a huge story like this would seem to naturally gain international attention.
Read this article at:

A new religious movement

In Time magazine’s November 20th issue is an interesting article about the changing of religion in today’s society. The article, “Today’s Nun Has A Veil – And A Blog? is about today’s Christian youth turning to the church, not only to train for the convent, but to learn about other vocations as well.
“Over the past five years, Roman Catholic communities around the country have experienced a curios phenomenon: more women, most in their 20s and 30s, are trying on that veil?.

The “veil? is both symbolic, and a statement. In contrast to the oppression of Muslim women’s’ hijabs, the young recruits of Catholicism view the traditional habit, as a way to stand out and show their interest in the church, as a way for people to better understand their choices, visually. Perhaps this is a response to the openness of religion as a topic among individuals of every age, or a response to the recent disgrace of the molestation charges and convictions against the church and its members.
“…over the past decade or so, expressing their religious beliefs openly has become hip for many young people, a trend intensified among Catholic women by the charismatic appeal of Pope John Paul II’s youth rallies and his interpretation of modern feminism as a way for women to express Christian values?.
The Catholic Church seems to be hurriedly scampering for some sort of hold in the trust of its parishioners. The molestation within the church, and the cover-ups that followed, made many lose trust in the Catholic Church, and became a triviality as the butt of jokes. I admit that I myself find these jokes humorous, but I myself am not Catholic. I think that in the past year, the move to consider priest’s celibacy a preference, but not necessity reflects the inner turmoil. But are we to believe that young women are turning to the church in its time of crisis in order to bring back dignity and value to the church? The article would like us to believe so; however the pictures of the new recruits are young women on roller blades and playing beach volleyball. It is not obvious what “perks? the young recruits receive, however it is plain to me that the church is giving as much freedom and social opportunities as they could part with. Could our idea of the dark stanch nun with a ruler be replaced by a young smiling tennis player? Whatever the outcome is, it is obvious that the Catholic Church must and is making changes to become again a reliable source within society.

Casino Royale

I recently read an interesting discussion on a website (www.imdb.com) about the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale. While this isn't by any means an accredited source, the fact that so many people felt so strongly one way or another really struck a chord, especially after Tuesday's discussion about multiculturalism. Apparently, there are some rather vociferous individuals who believe that the underlying premise of the movie is about racism. Many people cite the fact that the villians in the beginning of the movie were African American, and that another character was simply put in as a "token black" character. Additionally, they object to the sophistication of the terrorists, saying that based on the fact if they were black or some European portrayal, the complexity of weapons, and planning varied, an insinuation about the inherent "characteristics" of differing races.

This reminded me of Pinker's book actually, and how rationality and politics don't always coincide. For the aforementioned argument, the opposite could be made, that the makers wanted to incorporate a multicultural feel by employing people to represent different areas of the world equally. We see everything through a prism, where ideas and images are filtered through first, and so one person's prism might catch one tread, one wave that another would completely miss. So are we to encourage people to make things that are so flat, so one dimensional that there is only one interpretation? Can said interpretation exist?

Recreation Center

The city of Duluth is in the running to receive funds from McDonald’s widow, Joan Kroc, to build a recreation center. The funds would be funneled to the City’s Salvation Army to expand. A citizen’s task force in Duluth worked out the building plans. The recreation center would be built in a low-income area of Duluth. Part of the stipulation in receiving the money is that the receiving city must come up with endowment funds for operating costs. The current debate is to whether or not the City Government can give out funds as this would be a conflict of church and state as the Salvation Army has religious affiliations. City officials were recently forced to remove the Ten Commandments from outside the City Hall building.

The benefits this recreation center hopes to provide to the surrounding community are great which makes it even more difficult to understand the opposition. This is a true example of the difficulties of the separation between church and state. One can only respect Duluth’s government in trying to honor the First Amendment but this isn’t necessarily respected by all governments and government officials. Our currency has the saying “In God We Trust?. A lawyer brought in by City Officials suggests that the Salvation Army refrain from using religious symbols or names when decorating the recreation center. The Salvation Army has made the point that the government has supported them with funding for years so government has been walking a fine line with the separation. So now Duluth has taken a firm stance but at what expense? The community is obviously in need such a center since Duluth the widow’s selection from all the other cities in Minnesota. Salvation Army’s mission may not be offensive to me, but other citizens religious objections need to be respected. This debate reminded me of our recent class discussions on Mulitculturalism and how unique our situatiion in American really is.

Civil War??

I was listening to a discussion on MPR about the war in Iraq. The discussion was about the US Government’s hesitance to label the situation in Iraq as a “civil war?. Even though the situation in Iraq has all the elements of a civil war, the Government and Military refuses to label it as such. According to recent polls US citizens would support the war in Iraq would decrease if citizens thought the situation was actually a civil war. Other surveys have shown that US citizens believe the US Government and Military should not get involved in matters of civil war. The fighting countries should find their own resolution.

I haven’t been able to find the discussion on the MPR website to link to this. I found this discussion interesting for a number of reasons. It’s amazing how much the power of a label plays in society. Whether we label the Iraq situation as a war or civil war will vary greatly on the number of people that will continue to support the US Government and Military’s efforts. There are number of labels in our society that play huge role in one’s opinion of you. This also reminded me of discussions in Putnam’s book about people’s generalized trust in government. I’m sure the levels vary greatly for trust in the US Government. What I find most appalling is the Government’s refusal to label the Iraq situation as a civil war because they will have fewer supporters. If it’s a civil war than call it as such because as I (and probably most other citizens) believe we should be given an accurate report of the situation in Iraq. The situation in Iraq has been sketchy from the start but I would believe the Government would learn from their mistakes. The last thing this short MPR discussion reminded me of was the continued power the media plays in our lives. I think the media journals helped show how stories are depicted in a certain way depending on the location and funding of the media source.

Diversity in the West Bank Neighborhood

I went to a neighborhood organizations meeting organized by Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) here at the University a few weeks. Days later, Chris, one of the organizers of the event invited me and my friends to discuss how immigrant students in colleges and universities can be utilized as cultural bridges between their communities and organizations such as CURA which aims to encompass immigrant groups into the mainstream community organizations. My friends and I, and other immigrant students here at the University met with four to five CURA members in a small gathering. This was an informal discussion about our immigrant experience and what we think should be done by both immigrant communities and organizations that help such communities in order for immigrants to participate in neighborhood organizations and other community/civic activities. One topic that dominated over the others was the invisible division between the immigrant community on the west bank and the rest of the University of Minnesota.

Although they are located in the same area and breath the same air, it seem as if those apartments which house few thousand immigrants, mainly Somalis, and the University community belong to different worlds, divided by one street. There are many businesses, including restaurants and coffee shops, clothing, art and even grocery stories around Cedar Ave. which offer great opportunity for University students to experience a different culture and get variety of choices, on food and other things. However, this diversity-mingling does not occur most times. A Vietnamese student said that he invited a group of classmates to study with him at his apartment in Riverside Plaza. He said that he often studied with them at their dorms and wanted a change of environment; and he actually wanted to treat them with some Vietnamese dishes. However, they gently turned him down. On of the classmates later told him that she and the others did not feel comfortable coming to “that area.? This “area? is actually in the same spatial location as the University, yet the classmates made is sound like a foreign and unknown country of its own. I know this cannot represent the attitude of all students and faculty members here at the University towards this immigrant neighborhood, however, humans choose familiar things and avoid the unfamiliar, and that often leads to close mindedness. A Somali student took her biracial classmate to one of the Somali restaurants on west bank. The classmate who has been attending the University for four years did not know there were ‘ethnic’ restaurants in the area. Others immigrant students at the meeting shared their experiences of having American friends and classmates who either fear or dislike being around that area.

Two of the thirteen immigrant students at the meeting live in this neighborhood, however, most of us understood the invisible division between two communities that are in the same space. If you compare this neighborhood to the Dinkytown neighborhood, there is a huge difference, because students frequent this area and some even live there. It makes sense why students would rather meet friends at restaurants and coffee shops over there, but the same effort is not put into coming to the diverse west bank restaurants and cafes. If, for instance, a student has a class in Fraser Hall and wants to get lunch after class, he/she would walk to either the Dinkytown area restaurants or Coffman Union and the rest of the Washington Ave./Stadium Village places. Compare this student to a student who has a class in Blegen Hall and wants to go to lunch. This student is more likely to take the shuttle or walk to the east bank to the above mentioned places, rather than walking three to four minutes to the restaurants and cafes on the west bank. The point here is that most students would rather go all the way to the east bank, if they are on the west bank, to get the things they need even if those things are available nearby.

Although my argument here sounds like I am blaming the University community for this lack of interaction between the school and the neighborhood, one must understand that students can go to places such as restaurants, stores, community centers, and so on, whereas the neighborhood residents cannot intermingle with University students and use University facilities as they like, unless they are students. Hence, students and faculty have that advantage over the residents. On the other hand, the businesses on the west bank (excluding Chipotle, Noodle’s & Co., etc.) do not expose themselves to the otherwise unfamiliar students. When you are at the east bank, restaurants like Subway and others are constantly trying to attract students by passing out free sandwich or discount fliers. This kind of strategy is missing from the west bank. Therefore the blame lies within the west bank neighborhood for not reaching out to the University community.

This kind of situation makes you think that there is no such thing as diversity in America. There are different cultures, religions, and ethnicities in the country, however, each ethnic/religious/cultural group lives in their own ‘imagined community.’ The University is part of the mainstream American community while the apartment residents and the surrounding ‘ethnic’ stores and restaurants are within their own imagined ethnic/cultural boundaries, each not passing the invisible line that divides them apart. Another similar example is witnessed in school cafeterias. I remember my high school was one of the most diverse high schools in Minnesota, with almost thirty languages spoken and many parts of the world represented. However, the cafeteria was the most segregated place one could see. I would say that 98% of the students sat with people of the same color, culture, religion, etc. Hence, this makes you question the idea of diversity. What does it really mean to be a diverse society? Does diversity mean having people with different backgrounds in the same space, while those boundaries which divide them and hinder interactions between them exist? Is this good or bad?

TV and Autism

The merits of television viewing in young children is no new debate. From the condemning of violent, sexual, and mindless shows to the lauding of educational and development oriented programing, we are very critical of the way television is presented to children. A Cornell University study has shown that there is a statistical relationship between television viewing time in children under the age of three and autism rates. This investigation was spurred by the observation that both the rate of autism is children and household television viewing spiked up sharply in 1980. What the study demonstrated is that there is a 17 percent correlation between homes with cable television in a given county and the incidences of autism there. Similarly, a correlation of just under 40 percent was shown between the hours of television viewed and the rates of autism. This was assumed to vary with weather conditions, as children have been shown to spend more time inside watching television during inclement weather than during pleasant weather. Even when looking at single locations, the incidences of autism varied almost perfectly with weather patterns. It is important to note that these studies do not actually claim that television in young children is the cause of the increase in the rate of autism, but it certainly paves the way for further investigation into the topic.

If it is true that television viewing in young children can cause autism, it will force massive, fundamental changes in American culture. Many modern aspects of parenting will need to be reassessed, programing aimed at children will need to be pulled, and this trend during a child's developmental years could have cultural ramifications extending far beyond the viewing habits of a precocious two year-old. Also worth taking note of is what this could imply about some topics in Brown's List of Human Universals. It would be interesting to look at just how intrinsic something like "facial communication" is to a person. This is an area often lost due to autism. If television proves to be the (or at least a) culprit in the onset of autism, does that mean that be spending more time watching television inhibits and dulls a child's inherent perception of facial communication? Or is this a human universal that is not truly innate? Perhaps spending too much time with the television translates to a child not spending sufficient time with other humans during those crucial developmental years, and in turn, their grasp of facial understanding suffers. This study offers up an intriguing and terribly worrisome idea, and lays the groundwork for much more investigation to come.

"TV might cause autism"

"Abnormal Variability and Distribution of Functional Maps in Autism"

Michael Waldman, Cornell University

Your Brain Agrees With You

In a recent article by Slate.com's Daniel Engber, the author addresses research into the way the brain works in cases of glossolalia, or speaking in tongues. The research was particularly focused on the case of devout Christians, who believe that God takes control of their minds and speaks through them. MRI images of the brains of believers were compared in two cases: first when they were singing gospel songs, and again when they were claiming to be in a state of glossolalia. The results of the MRI when the subjects were in a self-described state of glossolalia showed that there was a decrease in activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is active when a person is doing something on purpose. While this shows that brain activity matches with the subjective feelings of the subjects and their perceived lack of control, it would be more interesting if there was no correlation. If a person perceives their experience to be one way, should we really be surprised that the brain agrees with this, as it is, of course, the base of perception and thinking?

Looking more closely at this idea of the brain images agreeing with the subjective emotional experiences of a person really which inhabits a body for the sum total of a living person would open the door for negative test results. A person could have an overwhelming emotional experience, but scans of their brain should in turn reflect nothing out of the ordinary. These sorts of strong emotions would be limited to the in-tacit realm of the soul. Hence is gone idea of the ghost in the machine. As for the debate between a blank slate and some inherent understanding, there isn't much elucidated by this examination, but the materialist concept that everything we experience stems from the firing patterns of neurons in our brain brings us to work with those two theories. There is certainly an undeniable connection between emotions and experiences, and the physical chemistry of the brain. And while the study on glossolalia and speaking in tongues contributes to the mounting and massive pile of evidence supporting that, it ultimately fails to demonstrate anything about faith and spirituality. All we know is that the physical functions of believers' brains agrees with what they feel, but why and where it originates is still left up in the air.

"Brain imaging on speaking in tongues."

An introduction to glossolalia (Wikipedia)

Another take on glossolalia

Role of Religion

In lecture on Tuesday, 28 November, the class discussion focused on the role of religion in the state and the degree to which the state can regulate religious practices. As an example of a situation where religion and the state intersect, an article was distributed on a case on the legality of female genitle mutilation. When discussing this is class, there were a few points that I feel were not properly addressed.

First, there is a broad assumption that religion is supporting this practice. However, the article fails to mention a specific religion that the father who abused his daughter used to justify his actions. Since there is no specific religion mentioned, it follows that the reader cannot examine the texts of that religion to understand how such an act could be justified.

Second, there is more support in the article for this practice as a cultural norm rather than a religios belief. There is a longstanding tradition of protecting immigrant's rights and perserving culture in the United States. However, there is also a londstanding tradition of human rights and healthcare. Regardless of the impacts of immigrant's rights, the right to live a healthy and mutliation free live is more important because it is a value all American's embrace. Female genitly mutlation, by it's nature, is extremely unhealthy and causes long term health concerns. The state should not condone such a practice.


In "The Blank Slate" Pinker addresses the differences between gender (believing that gender is socialized and the quest for power drives gender roles) and equity (women should have the same rights to opportunity as men, but gender is idetermined by sex at birth) feminism. When discussing feminism, particularly in the modern context, this is an important distinction to make, "The difference between gender feminism and equity feminism accounts for the oft-reported paradox that most women do not consider themselves feminists (about 70 percent in 1997, up from about 60 percent a decade before), yet they agree with every major feminist position," (pg. 343).

Throughout my college career, I have known a lot of women who are dedicated in their field of study, are angry about the unfair pay advantages men receive, and plan to balance a career and family in the future. However, rarely do these women ever identify themesleves as feminists, even when asked directly. I agree with Pinker completly that are afraid to align themselves with the extreme gender feminism by saying they are a feminist. I would argue this is bad for gender relations because it gives the impression that women are apathetic to thier stance in society and are unwilling to change it. Additionally, I find that this unwillingness to identify is unique to feminism. Rarely do I hear a woman aviod identifying with a political party for a fear of being identified as an extremist. In short, it would be benefiicial to the study of gender to draw a clear distinction between equity and gender feminism because it would encourage women to admit to feminism and downplay the extremist sterotypes.

Your Mother's Smile

Both Pinker's work "The Blank Slate" and class discussion focused on the balance between nature and nuture and it's effects on human development. In the October 21 issue of The Economist this balance was discussed using evidence to suggest the heritability of facial expressions. In order to determine if facial expressions are determined by nature or nuture, a study with blind subjects was conducted. The subjects were given a stimulus elicting a facial expression that was compared to both their family members and strangers, "For anger, sadness, and concentration, the detailed ways that blind people moved their faces were significantly more similar to those of their family members than to those of strangers," (pg.89). Blindness offers a unique reseraching quality because the subjects could not have been influenced into learning facial expressions. Rather, the facial expression had to come from genetics. This study is one more piece of evidence that tips the balance in favor of biology and the influences of nature on human development.

Emotional Truth

The article I read talks about the impact that DNA testing could have on people when used to get insight on their family history. People tend to go through life believing certain things about their ancestors but with DNA testing they are finally able to see if what they have been told is true. This could be seen as a conflict of interest possibly. Say for example someone often tells people that there great-great-great-great uncle was George Washington only to find out through testing that is not true. Something like this may not be cause a great impact on the world let alone the city you live but the author gives an example of Joan of Arc and some of her DNA that was discovered. DNA testing could cause conflict in this case because would you really want to know if Joan was real or not? Say you applied the same thing to Jesus. The overall all message the author offers is that by scientifically scrutinizing our history we may in the end be less than impressed to find out what are history truely is.


Are schools doing enough to prepare us for the real world?

In a video clip in the education section on CNN.com there’s a quick story called “Are they ready to work?? that addresses the skills (or lack of skills) the newest generation entering the work force has. It was interesting because there wasn’t a huge difference between the skills of a high school graduate, a graduate of a two-year college, or someone with a four-year degree. Employers are noticing that there is very little competition in the incoming workers and very few have the necessary skills to be in the workforce. Most are lacking leadership abilities, communication skills, and writing abilities.

This is interesting because if students are not employable after graduation from any institution, something is wrong. Either the school isn’t doing something right or the students are not trying hard enough. Education these days is so expensive and to think that we could be spending money on a four-year degree and then still not have the skills necessary for employment is scary. What will it take? If a four-year degree isn’t enough then where can you go to develop these skills that so many people seem to be lacking? This topic can be related to many of the discussions regarding the educational system in America that we’ve had in class. Something is not working quite right. Perhaps this all starts as young as elementary school when we are taught all the basics, including how to learn.

Ask a Columbian...

Affirmative Action is a complex, contestable issue with room for perhaps a significant amount of improvement. But that does not mean that we should write it off as unworkable and return to a time where schools admitted high income high score only students. In "Racism by another name is 'diversity,'" Goldberg acknowledges that the majority of writings about Affirmative Action are by the same high income guilt ridden white folk that are admitted as the majority of college students. He suggests that perhaps it should be looked at by minorities directly affected by the issue. I decided to have a chat about the subject with my token Columbian friend attending college in Queens.

The specific quote to which we responded: "That business about redressing past discrimination against blacks is no longer the name of the game. It's difficult to put into words how condescending this is in that it renders black students into props, show-and-tell objects for the other kids' educational benefit." Token Friend pointed out that 'redressing past discrimination against blacks' is still part of the game in some sense. Racial tensions still exist between blacks and whites, and to make matters more complicated, newer underprivileged races have entered the scene. Friend believes that mixing races together in an equalized setting would help reduce currently felt racial tensions. He argues that it is needed in order to prevent a large backwards step into a perceived reality of inequality. Essentially, affirmative action is need in order to maintain the status quo of race relations.
I asked him about the fairness of denying one race with a high test score place at a school in order to grant admission to another race, even if that person's score is lower. He pointed out that that particular race probably would not have a problem attending another just as qualified school, as illustrated with Jian Lee attending Yale instead of Princeton. Often lower scoring minority races do not have as many options, But this stems from inherent inequality in the educational system rather than the base test scores. He also believes that the importance of reducing racial tension by integrating students far exceeds the importance of denying a few qualified students because they don not fill the quota.

Alarming Birth Rates and Pharmacists

I found an article on MSNBC titled “Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. babies born out of wedlock? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15835429/). This article addressed the soaring number of pregnancies out of wedlock and attributed it to the increasing rates of people living together before marriage, not to teen pregnancies. The article actually said that teen pregnancies are continuing their decline since the 1990s. However, there are still an alarming number of teenage pregnancies in America every year – more than in any other industrialized country.

This leads me to the issue discussed in class on Tuesday about pharmacists refusing to sell drugs to people based on their own personal morals. Specifically, the issue of refusing to disperse contraceptives and the “morning-after pill? is not helping the problem of pregnancies out of wedlock. With the high numbers of pregnancies, we need to be promoting birth control. Regardless of the pharmacist’s personal morals, I think he/she should be required to fill prescriptions for whatever the customer wants (unless there’s suspicion of misuse involved or it is something that could be considered hazardous to the customer’s health). If the customer is willing and able to pay for the drug, whatever it is, the pharmacist should fill it.

religion, women and politics

As we were discussing the articles in class on Tuesday about religion and how it affects an individual’s life, I thought about how religion still significantly revolves around men and the limitations of women. We discussed the protest about the morning after pill and how some pharmacists are refusing to even give out birth control pills out to women that are not married. Why is it their choice? There are arguments about a scarf around women’s heads, abortion, and many others. Every person has their own idea about how a life should be lived and what is morally right. But why does the government, pharmacists and voters get to decide if a girl can wear a head scarf? Or if a mistake happened and a woman needs to take the morning after pill or tell women that they can not take birth control pills because they weren’t married? These are just a few clear results about religion stepping into politics and preventing women from freedom of choice over their own bodies. Religion plays many roles in politics, but as the US is becoming more and more culturally diverse and there are more followers of different religions, the government and the voters are going to have to separate their religion from politics. One friend of mine votes republican because of one issue, abortion. Americans need to open their eyes and realize that we have many more issues to vote on that are much more urgent. A woman’s right and religion and politics are not a good mix. (and yes I know this is wishful thinking and that politics and religion will always remain an issue, but its nice to think that maybe one day they could be separated.)

November 29, 2006


I read an article online recently about a gender institute that is going to be started in the EU. This institute will review all existing EU gender equality law, increase awareness of gender inequality, ensure gender equality is considered in all policies, and press for better statistics. The EU decided to bring this about because of the huge gender gap still rising on that continent. More men than women are graduating universities every year, but still women get lower pay, and fewer top jobs. Another reason this institute was brought about, is so the EU has a base for their roadmap of policies designed to end gender inequality.

This article tied nicely with the gender and genes issues we were discussing in class. The speech that Summers gave about women came to mind. He stated, “the most prestigious activities in our society expect of people who are going to rise to leadership positions in their forties near total commitments to their work…it is a fact about our society that that is a commitment that a much higher fraction of married men have been historically prepared to make than that of married women.? This is a ludicrous statement, because if he would look at the facts, and like the facts above. More and more women are achieving great things in life, even if they are married or not. He only chooses to remain in the dark ages.

"Your Vote Counts"

This past election was a very important election with a great amount riding on every vote. We saw this in the close race between Tim Pawlenty and Mike Hatch. We now know that Pawlenty won, but could the 18-25 vote changed that outcome? I personally got very frustrated when, throughout the day, many of my peers and friends told me that they didn’t vote because they felt they wouldn’t make a difference. Over the past four years I have been in school, my tuition has dramatically increased and I have seen education suffer for the state. If all college students and individuals between 18-25 voted, would the result of the election been different? I am taking it back a little, but the education community is just that a community. 30 years ago, if the dramatic increase of tutition and lack of funding for education was an issue, and changing a governor would help change that fate, the entire education community would gather, and try to accomplish something. Putnam discussed housing and social communities, but communites can be expanded to everything. How is anything going to be accomplished with out the support of the majority of active participants? When those individuals that did not vote complain about what is going politically, I will have no sympathy for them. There needs to be a way to involve more young voters into the voting process, until then, nothing can truly be changed in this state or country.

Is the movie Happy Feet happy?

I was reading US Today this morning and came across the article "Preschoolers and penguins: Propaganda paws?? by Michael Medved. The article was about the movie Happy Feet and how parents are saying that the movie is “one of the darkest and most disturbing movies I have ever seen?. The article discusses the important issues that are addressed in the movie and that children should not be exposed to this information. The article then starts analyzing the children’s book “And Tango Makes Three? that is about two male penguins adopting a lost egg. This story is based off of two male penguins that did the same behavior in the New York City’s Central Park Zoo. Partents and critiques are worried that these messages are too dramatic for young children, and that the movie and the book are making parents frightened about the information their children are learning.

I saw “Happy Feet? and it was no more violent or disturbing than any other Disney movie where the mom always dies or there is some very scary bad thing that is going to do some harm. I think that because these topics are pushing parents religious and personal boundaries, or is it that parents have extremely large boundaries and are not opening themselves to the truth about our culture today. This can be connected with Wolfe’s “quiet faith? and our discussion on Tuesday. Should these books and movies be banned from the viewing and learning of our children? I think that the movie sent a strong message that we are hurting our earth, but in the end, the humans found a solution and the movie ended happy. Maybe our children should be learning about these issues at a young age, perhaps everyone will become more aware of our earth after seeing the movie “Happy Feet.

Denying Birth Control Pill Issue & other good stuff

In trying to determine a final blog, I decided to read others blogs, and read the kid's post on Wal-mart denying b.c. or morning after pills and got to thinking. I usually try not to be controversial because the way the world works is the way it works and evolves and all I can control is my own actions and what I want to get out of life has little to do with major political issues. But to explain the issue a little bit, I think its important to understand the individuals who play a role and their societal background. Wal-mart is based in Bentonville, Arkansas and almost everyone at the corporate level is a Christian with fairly firm religious beliefs, I know because I have quite a few very good friends who work for them. It is obviously a very smart thing for them to publicly say that it was only a good business decision to not allow the morning after pills (MAP from now on) in their stores if they didn't have to. Otherwise they would probably lose customers and workers, and have to publicly claim some sort of affiliation with Christian belief, which is unfortunate that they can't really do so in our society, though they may or may not actually have this affiliation, I think they do. The other issue politically is whether or not a corporation like Wal-mart has the right to deny it, because of their religious beliefs, because that could be an infringement on their first amendment rights, maybe, I don't know. Anyways, in stores where a particular pharmacist has access to, but denies distribution of MAP to certain individuals for whatever reason, is it necessarily because of their religious beliefs? I think that it may be, but it also is something they probably wish to gain some fame or have some controversy over for attention. I think issues relation to this are important to understand a person level, because everyone affected by and a part of a society is an individual, and people are all quite similar. They probably are lonely and want attention, or perhaps disturbed by the entire idea of a MAP because of their religion, and rather than just being cool and letting it go and giving it to the person, they decide to be controversial and not give it to them because they feel if things get heated enough, they will be standing up for what they believe, which everyone likes to do, particularly in America I think. This country, with all of the multiculturalism and immigrants is getting to be quite stressed, because we don't know how to handle it, and I do believe that then when it does get resolved, we could be a great nation if we come together. However, at a personal level, people tend to fear diversity and understandably may not want their vision of American society to change because some new minority feels threatened. But I also think that it would be easier if each side put themselves in the others shoes, which could open communication, which could be a key to determining how to establish a middle ground resolution of conflict.

Supreme Court Melts Over Greenhouse Gasses

The article I read dealt with the recent case that was brought before the Supreme Court regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision that they did not have the authority to say whether or not it was within their power to regulate that. The current law only deals with CO2 emissions. The case brought forth by 12 states, 3 cities, and a slew of environmental groups. The argument not only revolves around the authority to regulate green houses gases but is this enough to curb global warming.

The arguments seem to revolve around science fact rather than law. A few of the justices commented that global warming is somewhat complex and that it should be left up to law to decide what should count as harmful to the environment. Justice Scalia even commented that he is no scientist and that he would rather not deal with this.

In recent lectures we have touched upon science fact and what that could mean for the population at whole. Often it seems as though we are presented with an overwhelming amount of evidence for something and we close our eyes, cover our ears, and go la la la la as if this would help us avoid the issue(s) at hand. I am reminded of a psychological term of cognitive dissonance. The basic idea is that if we are confronted with information that conflicts with our beliefs we will find a way to cope with it either by ignoring it or restructure our beliefs. Most often it seems we ignore it.


Vatican laws on headscarves

In an article in the Star Tribune today, I read about a law the Vatican City has banning all headscarves and veils. The reasoning behind this is that people simply "must respect the traditions, the symbols, the culture, the religion of the countries they go to..." However, the article ended with the sentence, " The pope lately has lobbied for the right of Christians to worship openly in countries like Saudi Arabia, which forbid that.

The fact that the Vatican is asking people to remove their headscarves, no matter what their religious beliefs, is enough to cause debate. However, the fact that they are ALSO pushing to be able to pray in states that forbid is is complete hypocrecy. If you make a law regarding one person's religion, and say that following that law is only being respectful of your country's ways or traditions, there is no reason to not follow those laws when you enter other countries. Although praying is different than headscarves, it is still part of your religion that someone does not agree with in the other country, and they really aren't that different. This is a prime example of why issues of ethnicity and religion are still relevant in countries, even those that declare themselves to be enforcing rules to equalize everyone.

Faith based econimics part 2

I just wanted to add 1 additional dimmention to the article I just wrote about Lou Dobbs's editorial on the US trade defictit. The article mentions that China is publicly expressing concerns over their 1 trillion dollars held in reserves. Also there is the mater of the US debt to CHina, largely from the current Iraq war. If the value of the dollar were to continue to drop as the deficit rises, the relationship between the US and China would deteriorate to say the least. This is a scary proposition and there many scenarios that could have DRASTIC global reprocussions that would bode poorly for the US.

Turkey Comes with a Package: Religion and Culture

Last fall semester, I remember listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition? on the topic of the Armenian massacre in Turkey, during the Ottoman Empire's rule. Turkish visiting professor, Taner Akcam was interviewed on the program. He is the first Turkish intellectual to pioneer in excavating the truth behind the massacre, as well as challenging the Turkish government to acknowledge the killings as genocide which they have been denying for ninety years. The professor made historical analysis of the Armenian Christian minority in Turkey at the time of the genocide, what exactly led to the genocide, and why the government of Turkey is denying the atrocity. He was asked what it means for Turkey if it does not acknowledge an important part of history that took the lives of over a million citizens. His answer was that if Turkey wants the world to view it as a democratic nation- state, then the very basis of democracy is to acknowledge what has happened. To deny the event is to deny democracy, and without the acknowledgement of the genocide, he said, Turkey cannot move forward as a democratic nation-state that wants to join the European Union. A year later, the Turkish government has not acknowledged the killings of over a million Armenians in 1915-1923 as genocide, and its membership to the European Union is still pending. In addition, Taner Akcam won the Nobel Price for peace and has published “A Shameful Act?, a book on the Armenian massacre.

In one of my classes, I watched a documentary video on Turkey’s membership application to the European Union (I cant remember the name of the documentary). Many of the Turkish citizens interviewed in the video wanted to join the EU for economical and political reasons, while European citizens interviewed cited cultural and religious difference as to why Turkey should not be admitted. Turkish and European politicians, historians, and other scholars were interviewed in the documentary. It seems like Turkey wants to reap the economical benefits that comes with being a member of the EU. Many Turkish citizens fear that Europe might overpower them once they join the Union. Turkish residents in European countries are afraid that once Turkey joins the EU, it might be marginalized just as they are marginalized as minorities in Europe. Some even cite the current problems that Islamic communities are facing in Europe, especially France, as to why Turkey should not join the Union. However, over seventy percent of Turkey’s seventy million people support this decision to join the EU. The European politicians, and scholars interviewed all agreed that there was a vast cultural and religious differences between Europe and Turkey. The fact that Turkey is the home of the Ottoman Empire, the longest and most powerful Islamic civilization in history and had confronted the Crusaders, plays a role in this cultural/religious difference that many people cite. Others feel that if Turkey is admitted then it could be used as a bridge to shorten the gab between the Islamic world and the West. It could become a source of peace between the two groups.

I thought this was interesting because on one hand, Turkey wants to join EU for economical and political reasons, and on the other, Europe views Turkey as a country coming with a lot of package: historically, it’s the home of Christendom’s most hated enemy; socially/politically, it has been accused of the Armenian genocide, as well as human rights violations against other minorities in the country. It seems to me that those who oppose Turkey's admisison use Huntington's argument of 'clash of civilizaiton', more than any other reason. So will Europe accept a predominantly Muslim country into the Union or will Turkey’s cultural and religious identity cause Europe to decline the membership?

Clash of Civilizations

Reading the second chapter of Wolfe’s One Nation and the discussion we had in class on Tuesday about cultural/religious ‘wars’ have made me think about Samuel Huntington’s controversial book, The Clash of Civilizations. In this book, Huntington argues that the world will inter a new era, after the ending of the Cold War. In this new era, the world will not be divided into camps based on opposing political and economical ideologies as it was in the Cold War. Instead, culture and religion will divide the world in which the new conflict will be between different civilizations. Huntington writes:

“It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future?.

There are seven to eight civilizations that he mentions, but the most prominent conflicts he focuses on are between the west and the Chinese civilization, and the west and Islamic Civilizations. Huntington argues that the western civilization, relative to the Chinese and Islamic civilizations, is declining and therefore must get stronger, culturally and religiously, if it wants to win this inevitable ‘clash’. This new phase of international relations, he argues, is an inevitable one in reality.

So are we in a ‘clash of civilizations’ era, as Huntington hypothesized? Can people of different religious and cultural backgrounds get along? Are the current conflicts in the Middle East a clash between western and Islamic civilizations? After the September 11 attack, and many other terrorist attacks around the world, and the rise of political Islam, this looks a plausible hypothesis. It is easy to believe and analyze the current conflicts as such. However, by analyzing the conflicts in the world as civilization-based, this hypothesis limits our understanding and the differences between societies by carving out narrow and rigid identities. There are many other factors to consider, namely economic and political factors, which many of the conflicts around the world are based.

In a recent article titled “What Clash of Civilizations?? Nobel laureate economist Amartya argues that “limitations of such civilization-based thinking can prove just as treacherous for programs of "dialogue among civilizations. It also has the effect of generally magnifying the voice of religious authority. The Muslim clerics, for example, are then treated as the ex officio spokesmen for the so-called Islamic world, even though a great many people who happen to be Muslim by religion have profound differences with what is proposed by one mullah or another. [Hence], despite our diverse diversities, the world is suddenly seen not as a collection of people, but as a federation of religions and civilizations.?

I personally believe that we must think of all the other divisions that the world is experiencing before simply pointing to culture or civilization as dividers which will lead the world into turmoil. This hypothesis ignore the complexity of culture and civilizations by putting people into boxes – Hindu, Christian, Muslim Civilizations, etc. – but it also ignores one factor that is more likely to cause clashes than any other: economic inequalities. The gap between the rich and the poor is ever widening. What would Huntington say about the millions around the world today that are unable to live a decent life, who are unable to have the basic necessities that every human being deserves? Is living life itself – which for millions of people is hard – more important than belonging to such and such culture or civilization? Huntington seems to forget that today’s most pressing issue is not culture or civilizations, but rather economic inequalities.
It does not matter whether a poor woman in India, who is a sex-slave because she could not pay back her debt, belongs to the Hindu Civilization, or whether a Haitian peasant, whose wife and children are dying from tuberculosis – a treatable infectious disease – belongs to the African Civilization; both of these and the millions like them do not consider culture and civilization more important than surviving life itslef.
Religion and culture are very important, however, what value do they posses when millions of people across the world struggle to survive.

How to Read a Face

In the article titled "How to Read a Face" that appeared in the October 23rd issue of Newsweek magazine, the "emerging field of social neuroscience" is examined as a new way of looking at the way we interact with people. The theory is that empathy, or sharing feelings with other people is wired into all people, and that when we are interacting with other people we scan their faces for traces of emotions that we can too imitate, and then internalize and reproduce. The implications for this are widespread and deep, for if true it speaks volumes about the levels of connectivity among human beings

Upon introspection, these actions seem intuitive. If we hear from a person that they have recently lost a close relative, we generally tend to feel sorrow for them, and then reflect upon our own personal losses. The idea that emotions flow freely between people who then assimilate them seems intuitive as well. People often gauge the mood at gatherings or parties, if the party is in a festive spirit, the person is more incline to become festive as well, and vice versa.
The idea of social emotions is intriguing, and gives more evidence to the claim that humans are a social group, not only requiring social interaction to function, but also basing their emotions on those social interactions.

The bus-driver situation

The article that my group read in class on tuesday was the one concerning the bus-driver who was excused from driving buses that had an advertisment for a homosexually-geared magazine because she said it went against her religion. The bus company excused her from driving any of the buses that had this advertisment on it, and that has raised several questions. The conflict that comes to my mind concerns something that Susan Moller Okin wrote in her article. If a female bus driver asked to be excused from a bus that had an add that was demeaning towards women, for example a liquor ad which are generally known to portray women as sexual objects, would she be excused from all of those buses?

My guess to the answer of this question would have to be no, she would not be excused. I may be wrong, but buses are tools, advertisements on wheels, and for someone to say because they do not like a liquor ad that they do not want to drive the bus would be looked at as petty or unneccesary. Because it has nothing to do with religion, it may be looked at as a lesser conflict, a non-issue. The ad's are not meant to reflect the drivers, they are simply a way for the bus companies to make extra profit. So then why would it be possible for one bus driver to be excused from the buses simply because of her religion while another might not? Okin's article discusses how most of the cultures today were based upon one's where the men controlled the women. She also says these cultural basics are not being addressed today, where as differences among and between groups are. This might be the start of an answer to why the religious bus-driver was excused from the buses because of her religion, a difference that sets her apart from another group, while a female offended by an ad that demeans other females might not be excused, because her gender is her status within a group.

Faith based economics is not what it sounds like

I am writing in response to an editorial by Lou Dobbs so this is obviously an opinion article and warrants scrutiny. The reason I chose to write about it, however, is it introduced a new concept to me called faith based economics. This article is a commentary about American free-trade policies and the resulting effects on our economy and our dollar. The US has delt with trade deficits for 30 consecutive years so deficits are something America is relatively accustomed to but each of the last four years trade deficits have hit record highs and there have been record highs in two of the past three months. Studies from the Federal reserve have acknowledged a need for policy adjustments and this is concidered by some to be the threshhold of a major financial crisis. This has lead to a growing concern over the strength of the dollar especially as the value of the Euro against the dollar continues to rise hitting a 20 month high. The term faith based economics is what Dobbs calls open free trade agreements that place as few limitations on trade as possible. Nafta is an example of such trade agreements where the US trade deficit in North America jumped from 9.1 billion in 1993 to 128.2 billion in 2005. THis is all stemming from the concept of free trade with the faith that other contries will buy from us regardless of trade restrictions. DObbs blames this system on corporatists nad multinationalists with their outsourcing and globalization being strong contributers to the deficit. THe current policy structure on trade may be the closest real-world working model of Laizze Faire politics in action and Dobbs believes that it will spell doom for the AMerican middle class. He may have a point.

Religion in the U.S.

As multiculturalism becomes greater in the U.S., the current embedding of christian religion in our government could be problematic. The separation of church and state clause is quite clearly not being practiced or enforced, and is definately interfering with rights of some citizens, though to what scale I don't know. In a Washington Times article http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030823-112754-1898r.htm, a town in Alabama is currently having some controversial debates about a courthouse with a Ten Commandments monument and many are disagreeing. The minorities and some non-Christians are claiming to view this as a real threat, and feel that officials working at the courthouse may be quite likely to discriminate based on disagreement of religious beliefs.

We can see how this would obviously be a major issue, and difficult to understand from a sociological standpoint. On the one hand, this country was (from what I know) established/founded by people prosecuted for their religious beliefs, along with some other issues. Those people created a nation from some form of a religious background, and a monument representing that religion, is against the same nations legal system? I think that as the issue unfolds, we will see how our countries judicial system may or may not reflect our societal norms. While I think if there were a national vote, a majority rule might say that the monument is 'ok', I think from a legal/moral/according to the constitution standpoint, the ruling would be that it should be banned. So we can see that our system has an affect on whose rules/norms win when groups conflict...and how it may change as even more immigrants may enter the country.

Wal-mart and the Plan B pill

The discussion in class on Tuesday about pharmacists denying access to birth control led me to wonder why the companies owning and managing the pharmacies were absent from the conversation. I found an article about Wal-mart being forced to carry the pills by a ruling of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy. THe ruling was in response to complaints filed by 3 women claiming the stores refused to fill their prescriptions. As of the date of the article,Wal-mart had not carried the pill in any stores in the US except in Illinois where it was require by state law. WHen asked why the company only carried the pills in the one state that mandated it, Wal-Mart spokesmen said that the decision to carry the pill in only one state was purely a buisness decision based on assessment of the demand for the product. Wal-Mart contends that demand for the morning after pill is not high enough to carry in every store. The spokesperson said that women's health is a high priority but there are broader considerations. I would greatly like to know what those broader considerations are,personally. This seems to me that corporations such as Wal-mart and, Walgreens are dodging this issue because they are afraid of alienating the religious right. I concede that it is a sticky issue of religion in the workplace but there is a responsibility to the community that these institutions cannot dodge if they intend to maintain a role of serving the community. I was surprised that Wal-Mart did not have a firm company mandate on the issue but I guess that this is an issue that must eventually be decided by the supreme court. The more I study the Supreme Court, the more I see social standerd that were established by precedents set by the SC. This strain between religious workplace rights and public service rights such as womens health will be a reoccuring theme until precedents are laid out by congress and contested in the SC.

Ethics and Evolution

Learning about the clash between sociobiologists and more traditional sociologists contextualized a situation that occurred in one of my previous classes that I had never really understood before. My freshman year at Macalester I took an Intro level ethics class that required us to write several analytical papers throughout the semester. The professor's main focus was to undermine the relativist and nihilistic theories by convincing us all that a system of universal truths existed outside of conscious human thought and culture, much like geometry or physics. I took the bait and decided to incorporate the idea of scientific evolution with a system of universal ethics. Much to my surprise the professor almost immediately dismissed the idea.

In short, I argued that perhaps certain morals evolved just as physical features evolved throughout time. An example would be the almost universal moral that one should not kill one's family. This moral may have evolved out of the need to keep one's genes in the pool. Under all normal circumstances it would be counterproductive to kill family members because it would limit one's genes. I felt that this argument fit in well with the professor's argument that morals exist separate from human consciousness. Instead, he informed me that while the idea was interesting, it has been presented before, and the general philosophical community has rejected it. I was given no further explanation. Pinker seems to have a similar problem. No one wants to accept his ideas, yet no one seems to give a valid reason why not too. If evolution exists...why wouldn't it affect the brain?

Religious symbols banned

Recently, in one of my other classes, I watched a movie entitled “Le Haine,? or “Hate.? This film took place in the suburbs of Paris, France, and was about the recent rioting going on in that city. The movie was about 3 older teenage boys who were very passionate about the same things, yet physically, completely different. One was white and full of rage, another was Jewish and rather timid, and the third was black and had a lot of common sense. During the movie, the writer ties all the characters together through where they live; the suburbs. Even though they are obviously very different, including their religions, they share the similarity of being from Paris.

This film gave me a much better perspective about the articles we spoke of in class on Tuesday. The articles were mostly tied together through religion. One article in particular struck me as almost amusing, and that was the article about Paris, France. For the past 15 years, France has been trying to bad headscarves in schools and even hospitals; they finally banned it. Not only did they band the headscarves, but they banned Jewish skullcaps, and large Christian crosses. To me, it seems absurd how a democracy can throw freedom of religion right out the door. Chirac thinks that Muslims will be less isolated if they do not have the scarves covering their heads. If a person of a non-Muslim religion wears a scarf on their head, what will happen then? Will they be expelled from school like the 3 girls who refused to remove it? Chirac needs to take serious consideration as to the kind of message he is sending the rest of the world.

How will progress affect our politics and society?

In modern science, humans are learning a lot more about behavior and causes of certain types of behavior. Relating to whether or not science proves evolution true or false, and also how understanding different cultures might affect how others view cultural rituals (particularly from a legal standpoint), I am proposing a topic of discussion on how learning behavioral causes might affect the American or potentially world legal system. Basically, I'm thinking that if evolution being taught in classrooms is such a major issue, and if FGM in another culture is also such a major concern for politics, why isn't the potential or current scientific evidence for odd or illegal behavior an issue? While it already exists in cases where someone might plead insanity for a murder case, why wouldn't a proven chemical inbalance or something like that be a consideration for other legal cases? Some people use the idea of "regardless of the reason, s/he did it", but as far as I'm sure, it often so happens that people get extreme reductions of penalty due to some scientific reasoning behind their action. I am mostly just wondering how learning more about human behavior and proving scientific reasons behind either proactive or reactive actions might affect our society not just in a judicial aspect, but all aspects. I think that it could become quite a significant issue...just as another example, there is the idea that learning that a certain gas affects peoples behavior has lead a few casinos to pump it through the ventilation.

I personally believe the issue is seemingly endless, particularly in considering how understanding and knowledge increase acceptance. I've heard a lot about how attending college increases people's acceptance of other cultures and people, and their ability to assimilate to diversity, a rather democratic ideology. Though I may have worded that kind of akwardly, I do not disagree with the idea at all. I know that my acceptance of other cultures and understanding of the world has changed dramatically having studied sociology at school. Sociologically speaking, I am wondering if this keeps continuing, will we end up having some freakish society where because we know exactly the genetics and nurturing reasong behind a mass murderer leads to him having nothing but counseling? I am obviously exaggerating, but who knows for sure where continued progression may lead us to thinking.

The supreme court steps in on global warming

The Supreme court recently began deliberating on the case of Massachusetts vs. EPA on the issue of global warming. At the heart of the case is the Environmental Protection Agency's refusal to mandate manditory emission standerds on new cars made in America. A number of states have jointly filed suit in the case in an attempt to force the EPA and Bush Administration to constitute carbon dioxide as a pollutant which would mandate regulation. The EPA maintains that it is their discression and theirs alone whether to deterimine the nature of polutants and they only are responsible to the President. This suit will be one of the most significant cases before the Supreme Court in this century. There are a number of precedents at stake on this issue and the decision will be far-reaching. The most obvious outcome of this case will be the effect on stopping global warming but this is also part of the issue. Everyone's favorate Justice, Anton Scalia argues that carbon dioxide does not a pollutant because CO2 does not endanger health because it does not directly pollute directly but on stratospheric levels. He does not believe that CO2 in the air directly endangers health and thus is not a pollutant. THe real power struggle will be between the power triangle of the Executive, Congress, and the Supreme Court. The Supreme court has to decide if congress authorized the Executive to maintain a "sweeping greenhous-gas control program. The link between congress and the executive is being challenged but also, it is contested whether the Supreme court has jurisdiction over the EPA at all. This entire issue will boil down to a fight over executive privalege and presidential power. The suit is an attempt to force the hand of the President to change CO2 emmissions standards and that is something the president doesnt seem to want to do. The Supreme COurt could be excersizing significant control over the executive branch and that is an issue that came to the forefront durring the Roberts and Alito conformations. It is scarry that an issue as important as global warming will be in the middle of such a big power struggle in our government

Letter to the President

There was a letter addressed to the president by the Iranian government about how America should act in accordance with the views of particular people in Iran. These people are mostly government officials requesting to open up dialogue yet attack the administration of President Bush and also address the American people in a manner of anti-government. They try to appease to the hearts of people y tlking about katrina and other recent disaters. they also mention policies overseas and discuss how they are not in the best interest of the majority of Americans. I think that this seems to be like a last hope for dialogue with the US because Iran fears what our next move will be. They mention that they want to talk with President Bush in the letter, however it makes no sense to discredit his administration and then ask fo public talks. It also doesn't make sense to have the letter appear to be representing the ideas of the majority of AMerica; to know this would be amzazing because we don't know how America is going to react since the midterm elections. Still, I think it's pretty irresponsible that the Bush administration doesn't want to open up private talks at least because if anything, Iran and the United States can develop conversation to help the Iraq situation and have good, progessive dialogue on Iran's nuclear program. The letter also tries to mention the Christian beliefs influencing our policy. While that might be halfway true, we do have checks and balances for a reason; so, this seems as though it's another jab into the side of the administration's reputation. Iran should have tried to appeal to talks first and then tried to discuss some things about how we are acting. Personally, I belive that they are afraid of the ramifications of leaving Iraq, and turning our attention to other pressing matters, like thier nuclear program.

Simple objectivity

Public schools are the single most profound investment that can be made towards the establishment of freedom in America. There are people whose only shot at a good life is given through school. Public schools are the base attempt that is given to establish an equality of opportunity in this country. It can be legitimately stated that the best way to improve the status of our country is to improve education level of citizens. This is why our schools must be held within the highest objective standards of intellectual understanding of the time. This would also give cause for continually focused improvement of school systems.

A problem has begun to plague our school systems however, and that problem is in the form of religious groups seeking to impose their beliefs upon curricula. The major problem with this situation is that it is in no way conducive of objectivity within the material presented. In public classrooms, the material presented must be of highly accredited base, and religions are anything but highly accredited with objectivity. It is important to note that there is nothing inherently wrong with a class on religion, but such situations must be carefully assessed. If the person teaching the class on religion were to have a belief in a specific religion this would taint the objective caliber of the material presented to the students. This is on the level of indoctrination and should never greet the attention of a schools curriculum.

The problem with religion lies in that none of what all religions say can be objectively verified so there is no one reason to justify any religion as of a higher merit than another. This is the case for public schools; they cannot objectively dictate something that they do not objectively know to be true. The argument can also be founded that religion inhibits the motives of objective thought by assuming an answer to be true before answers can be verified. Often is the case that these answers cannot be falsified and are therefore assumed to be correct. This kind of thinking is what is referred to as “bad science.? This drive to assume the correctness of answers without objective insight is also negative in schools because it discourages the mental software (logic) that is the foundation for critical thinking. Since almost all disciplines of the mind find their root in logical thinking, it is very detrimental to a young mind to have them removed from a faculty of logic.

This is why public schools should have nothing to do with specific religion. Religions place in a public school is in a philosophy class, an ancient literature class, or even in a class specifically devoted to the study of many religions (objectively mind you). As some may have guessed I am speaking towards those who are apathetic to the teaching of the bible in Georgian classrooms. To think that these classes will objectively represent the bible is assuming far, far too much, for the main purpose of such a class is tailored to entrench those who are raised of the faith into its rhetoric. And this is when it becomes state sponsored indoctrination into fatuous sectarianism.

Seperation of Church and State in France

I was in the group that read the article about France banning obvious religious wear from public schools, specifically Muslim head scarves. Everyone has an opinion on matters such as these, but in the end deciding the issue requires interpretations of previous related laws. Many people argue that banning religious symbols is justified because of France's policy on separation of church and state. Others argue that this ban would create an intolerant society, which would go against France's goal of multiculturalism. I was inclined to agree that France would be stepping over bounds of tolerance by creating this ban. Later I realized I based this conclusion on an American interpretation of the sound bite phrase 'separation of church and state.'

I decided to try to remedy the situation by reading the exact wording of the French statute referring to this separation. I unfortunately could not find a full text English version of the next, but I did find some direct quotes. The most frequently quoted follows: "The Republic neither recognizes, nor salaries, nor subsidizes any religion." The U.S. Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." A blindingly obvious element exists in American law that does not in French law. The U.S. Constitution specifically allows the right to practice religion without governmental prosecution. The French constitution does not specifically guarantee this right. As an American, I interpreted the phrase "separation of church and state" as including an element that protects religion from governmental persecution. Recognizing that France does not have such a guarantee changes how one interprets that phrase. France does not specifically recognize the right of religion to be protected from government, therefore one should not expect that the French constitution would protect people from personal displays of their religion. I am not intending to judge whether France should or should not implement the ban, just that one must recognize the specific history of French law before one jumps to a conclusion about French issues relating to "separation of church and state."

School fights back No Child left Behind law

“Schools, teachers fight No Child Left Behind in court? talked about Michigan, Texas, and Vermont sued to ban No Child Left Behind law. The law requires students to meet a standard testing score and if they fail the law requires the state to take action against the school. Their case argues that the school should not be force to comply the law because the law is not fund by the federal government. This law cost the states more money to make up the difference when federal government is not funding if the school did not meet standard testing scores. The case was dismissed in 2005 and is being appeal in the 6th US Circuit Appeals. http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/11/28/education.lawsuit.ap/index.html
We had a debate in class regarding is No Child Left Behind law is working or not. Their purpose was to encouraging teachers and school official to work harder to improve the education of the students. Instead I think it has the opposite effects. Overall the scores of the students improve at a very high expense. The scores are not improves by a great deal, but in front of us there are problems causing by the law. There are a shortage of teachers and spacing. Since the funds are cut when the school did not meet the standard, they are no money to improve the situation. It is unfair the teachers get the brunt of it, not the parents. Students learn better in the family helps them learn. Government should not punish the school when more of the responsibilities of a child education lay at the hand their parents.

bridging the gap of men and women in NFL

“Commissioner says NFL keen to court women fans? talk about how the NFL is trying to market women fans. In the past years, they had been commercializing cars, electronics, and beers. These products are gear toward male gender. Last year Super Bowl 40% of the viewer was female. This year in the Word Cup many viewers were women, but many advertisers overlooked them. NASCAR has been marketing for women as well as men. Now the NFL is starting to sell women fan gears and trying to reach out for the women audiences. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=reu-womendc&prov=reuters&type=lgns
Sports are dominant by the male population. Now women are breaking in the tradition. This is a good way to shorten the gap between gender inequalities. This is smart strategy for the advertiser to market their products toward women; it also encourages women to watch and participates in sports events. A few years ago, it was hard for a high school to have a separate women sport team. As a society we have move a few steps closer to gender equalities. There is still gender discrimination in sports such as football. Football represents the ultimate male sport. There are rare cases in high school where a female play in football and their position would be a kicker. Hopefully in the next twenty years they would have a women play in profession football.

Universal reasoning

In class on Tuesday, I tried to make the point that there was obviously a bias in our religious objectivity in America, though the example used was not extreme enough to properly convey my point. The fact still remains that in America we carry biases towards religiously ground policy that is based in a Judeo-Christian monotheistic practice. The best way to illustrate this singular theistic zeitgeist (that does stand in face of the first amendment) is to observe how the public applies ration when a religious practice that is not generally acknowledged infringes on a third party.

The case of female circumcision is a perfect example of this. The father imposed his cultural values upon a child who had absolutely no say in the matter. It is easy for us to apply modern science and human rights to the situation to see that the practice is medically unsafe by every standard, and to understand that it is a practice that is intended to prevent proper maturation of genitalia that induces sexual pleasure. The child is in this case collateral damage of an indefensible cultural practice. Most people are of this mindset when confronted with this situation along with the supportable facts.

For the comparative case, look to the situation of a pharmacist refusing to sell emergency contraceptives to a mother of four whose condom broke during intercourse. This situation lends to more political controversy, yet I feel that this situation is easy to resolve when we measure those unwillingly infringed upon. In this case two parties are being infringed upon, that are separate of the religious belief of the pharmacist, end up being the customer and the pharmacy.

The customer feels the blunt of the insult because she has come to receive help for medical situation that requires professional services. In all cases the role of a medical professional is to explain their knowledge of the situation to the customer and allow the customer to decide, that is the first thing that is taught at every professional medical program; it is the professional standard of ethics. We must not forget that the customer is not the only party negatively affected by this situation, the reputation of the pharmacy will cause it to be such that it will garner less business. If the employer knew of that an employee would refuse legal pharmaceuticals to a customer on religious grounds, would it be likely that that employee would be hired? Of course the first argument made towards this is that the employer would be seen as discriminating against that applicant because of his faith. The fact that the direct cause of not being hired is due to an inability to carry out the job nullifies this argument. Such an argument is comparable to saying that a basketball team practices discrimination towards people of small stature.

The fact that one situation must be argued for and that the other is generally accepted is a clear indication of cultural bias (or religious bias; both are similar). When seen through the critical lens, the child and the customer could unwillingly be infringed upon on a similar scale. The child is afflicted for life and the customer may just as easily have her life changed in a negative way through a child that cannot be supported. For us to hold true the standard set by the first amendment, we must apply our reason equally to all situations so that we do not force ourselves to justify paths not supported through reason if only in our apathy.

I am offended by stuff

I also read the article on the peace sign Christmas wreath. Has it really come to this? That we can be offended by anything and everything that happens? I’m not sure what the Homeowners Assn. Is trying to accomplish by banning peace signs from people’s homes, but it seems rediculous. I remember a few years ago, a guy ended up getting kicked out of his home for having some fake pink flamingos on his lawn.
Small communities which are governed by homeowners always seem to take the conformist or assimilation approach to multiculturalism. Diversity is an ugly word to Homeowner Associations. How someone’s feelings torwards a wreath made national news, I’ll never know, but it goes to show how much energy people put into analyzing the symbolic representations of objects rather than just taking them for what they are. It’s a wreath. If someone wont take down their peace sign wreath, its not harming anyone.
We must realize that often, when we feel offended, we are simply looking too deep into things. We must learn to take the big picture into considderation and ask weigh the pros and cons because “I am offended? is not a valid excuse to tell someone that they are wrong. If you really want to be on TV, cure cancer.

University of Michigan and Affirmative Action

Over the years, it has become more and more evident that affirmative action only fuels the fires of racism by further instilling ideas of racial inferiority. On December 22nd, 2006, The University of Michigan eliminating the consideration of race and gender for undergraduate admissions.
The change came as a result of an initiative on the ballot this past election to remove affirmative action as criteria for both admission of students and hiring faculty and staff. 58% of voters approved the change.
The change will take place in the hopes that the college may feel free to admit the best students for their curriculum rather than worrying about the river of lawsuits for discrimination which result from affirmative action.
I wonder if they will simply not ask for the race and gender on the applications or just not look at them when deciding because, in many cases that information is used to give out minority scholarships and other aids of that nature.

Is Multculturalism bad for Women?

In this article Okin argues promoting minorities rights are antifeminist. Culture is defines as ideas or practices of gender roles. Many cultures put women down and their main role is to serve the men. Religions such as Christianity and Islam put female in a bad light. In the religion women is portray sinful and have little used except reproduction. In France it was okay to have polygamy, and then they banned it. People who are behind group rights are usually males and they promote what benefits them the most. In other culture girls are forced to married at a young age. The practice of clitoridectomy is in big debate right now. Male population wants to cut the women genitals to ensure their virginity and fidelity in a marriage. People are using cultural practices as their defenses in the court room to get their sentence reduce. Cases such as raping and murdering are being reduced. Japan let rapist free if they offer to marry their victims. In this case it is the “shame? of the family and the rapist can redeem himself if he gets marry the girl. Men killed their wife for infidelity, but when the men is having affair them women killed themselves and their kids. The women get blame for their husband affairs that is why she wants to kill herself and her children. As more special rights are being grant the gap between gender equality increases. http://www.soc.umn.edu/~smajda/polisoc/private/readings/okin_okin.pdf
When immigrants came over to another country in one hand they need to assimilate to their new culture, but it is also a good thing to keep their know culture. Okin made a good that most cultural put women in subordinate roles. Not only minorities have these problems, even in United States we have gender discrimination in the work force and other places. Trying to solve the problems of gender equalities are hard because these things happen in their private sphere. The practice of clitoridectomy of this article is similar to the article we discuss in class in Georgia. The father is also using cultural practice as his defense. Many people are abusing cultural practices as their defense. I believe when a person immigrant he or she have to accept the rules and regulations of the new country. Any practice that harms and degrades another human being should be banned and no exception should be allowed.

Starbucks Craze in China

A recent article on Cbsnews.com writes about the Starbuck craze in China. Even though the majority of Chinese commonly drink tea as their prefer choice of beverage, Starbuck has found a niche to market their coffees. Like elsewhere in the world, they are aiming there products at the young people who are open to change and who follows popular trends. Initially, people went to Starbucks as a hangout place, but soon became addicted to the coffee as time went on. Now Starbucks has around 200 stores in their China chain, and is still looking forward to expand their market because they believe that China is the next big thing. This is the current philosophy in China, “Coffee represents the change.?

It’s not surprising to see Starbucks merging into China’s market. There have been other predecessors like McDonalds, KFC and Wal-Mart who have already utilized the potential in China’s market. This globalization trend is possible in China because the Chinese have opened their doors to the foreign market and their investors. If change is what China want then these opportunities are good for them because it has provided more jobs to the people. In the other hand, this capitalistic approach has not made China anymore democratic. Shaeffer argues in chapter 8 that this change has only made the Communist Party stronger. This makes sense because China has never wanted to democratize. This flow of money going in and out is only fueling and helping China to remain as a power country.

Arguments of peace sign Christmas wreath

I found this article when I was browsing through MSNBC News. It’s about a woman who hung a peace sign wreath on the side of her home in a subdivision in Colorado and some of her neighbors who complained. It’s really quite an outrageous story. The first line of the article is, “A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.? I’m confused about how a peace sign is supposed to be a sign of Satan but maybe I’m just missing something. The woman who owns the house and the wreath said that she was not even thinking about the war in Iraq when she hung the wreath, that peace is something bigger than not being at war. I looked “peace? up in the dictionary. And although it was defined as freedom from war, it was also defined as tranquility and harmony. The neighbors who feel that the wreath is an anti-Iraq war protest are jumping to conclusions and only upsetting themselves. Since when did a peace sign become so offensive? I always thought peace was something everyone wanted for the world in its entirety, not only specific regions or happenings. The woman who owns the wreath could just as easily turn the situation around and say those who are complaining are anti-world peace because that’s what the wreath may symbolize to her. Either way, this isn’t even really an argument over a difference of beliefs, it’s more a pathetic excuse to get mad and complain about something.

However, it would be unfair to ignore all the neighbors who didn’t have a problem with the wreath. This article is really about only three or four people in the neighborhood who had a problem with the wreath, apparently one of which was the president of the neighborhood’s Homeowners Association, which might explain why this whole thing was blown up into such a big deal. The article ends with, “Kearns ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn’t say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members.?


The exploding politics of biotechnology

The article I read talked about the issue of stem cell research. It touched upon the election in Missouri and the ballot measure that was included that would ban all stem cell research. Like all arguments this issue has two sides. One side says that this could have life saving potential and the other side says that this is a threat to human dignity. The main idea is that biotechnology, like stem cell research, is starting to become another hot button issue like gay marriage and abortion.

This is somewhat related to what we have been talking about for the past few weeks. I think that the main driving force behind the opposition, like that of abortion, is religion. There are conflicting beliefs here that make a hindrance to the issue at hand. The issue could be seen as should religion be a factor in governmental policy? The article also talks about how complicated stem cell research really is. Stem cells as of now has not cured any one but to actually see if that is possible, scientists would have to go futher on to the point of human cloning. This raises issue because you could related it back to abusing science.


Imams taken off airline in Mpls

In the last few days there have been several stories about the six imams that were taken off a flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix. I found three different articles on the story. Two of them are from the Star Tribune, one of which is about Keith Ellison writing a letter to the executives of US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission requesting a meeting to discuss what happened. The MSNBC article featured a clip from MSNBC News which was really interesting. This story caught my attention because of what we were talking about in class on Tuesday. This is a perfect example of how people can view a cultural practice differently and because it’s within the context of the United States it becomes further complicated.

From all the articles I read, I gathered that the greatest concern of the supporters of the imams being removed had to do with 9/11. It seems the rule is if a passenger is concerned about another passenger for any reason, they can report it to the captain who will make the call. In this case, a passenger reported a concern about the imams after seeing them pray on mats before even boarding and some of them praying once on the plane. A flight crew member also said the men were moving around the plane a lot which raised some concern. The argument against these concerns is that these men were racially profiled. In the MSNBC video clip, the national director of the Muslim public affairs acknowledged all Americans are scarred from 9/11 so he understands the concern of the passengers but that it should not be left up to random individuals to determine the safety and security of airline procedures. I think he does have a point here. Passengers could pick out anything about anyone and report it as a concern to the crew. However, before the suspicious passenger can get kicked off, the pilot must make the call whether that person is really a risk or not. In this case, the pilot chose that they were. But how was the imams’ behavior different than a nun’s or a monk’s or whoever’s. The difference in this case is 9/11 and the fear that has been produced in people which now leads to racial profiling. When you blame and categorize an entire group of people based on the extreme actions of a few, that’s completely unfair. I think the solution to this situation could perhaps be in the educating of airline personnel about Islam so they are aware of the norms and practices of Muslims.


Paris riots

I read an article online recently about a gender institute that is going to be started in the EU. This institute will review all existing EU gender equality law, increase awareness of gender inequality, ensure gender equality is considered in all policies, and press for better statistics. The EU decided to bring this about because of the huge gender gap still rising on that continent. More men than women are graduating universities every year, but still women get lower pay, and fewer top jobs. Another reason this institute was brought about, is so the EU has a base for their roadmap of policies designed to end gender inequality.

This article tied nicely with the gender and genes issues we were discussing in class. The speech that Summers gave about women came to mind. He stated, “the most prestigious activities in our society expect of people who are going to rise to leadership positions in their forties near total commitments to their work…it is a fact about our society that that is a commitment that a much higher fraction of married men have been historically prepared to make than that of married women.? This is a ludicrous statement, because if he would look at the facts, and like the facts above. More and more women are achieving great things in life, even if they are married or not. He only chooses to remain in the dark ages.

Kieth Ellison

A recent announcement from newly elected Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison stated that he would not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the Quaran. As one could imagine, this raised quite a ruckus since Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress.
Leftists argue that since the Quaran is Ellison’s holiest book, he should be allowed to take his oath on that book. Those who oppose have begged the question of how far we would take it. Would we let Mormons swear in on the Book of Mormon? Could Neo-Nazis swear in on Mein Kampf? Would Atheists have to swear on any book at all? Could a congressman swear in on The Cat in The Hat if they really liked Dr. Suess?
This is a sensitive subject given the current global climate and the tension between Muslims and the rest of the world. My thought is that taking an oath on any book is simply done for traditional purposes because most congressmen break them anyway. So using the Bible is part of that tradition and use of any other book would be breaking that tradition. Some feel that allowing Ellison to break that tradition would help ease the tension between American culture and Muslim culture, those opposed feel it would only create more tension.

November 28, 2006

Vietnam Experiencing Economic Growth

An article on BBC news international writes that Vietnam is now experiencing an economic growth. A country that everything once was owned by the state has opened its doors to a transition into privatization. Many people have dwelled on this opportunity to start their own businesses and interact with the international world. This has also lured many people from the countryside to come into the cities and participate in their share to make some money. Its acceptance as a member of the World Trade Organization has also fostered more opportunities for the country to be prosperous. The lookout for this is good in that many are expected to benefit from this change.

This reminds me of how Shaeffer talked about how democratization is spreading around the world. Even though Vietnam is not yet up to the level of a peaceful transition from a dictatorship to a democratic government, its once communists economy is gradually turning more capitalist. Similar to its China counterpart, gradually shifting to a capitalist economy would allow its economy to grow substantially. I think that Vietnam is heading this way because it has seen the downfall of many countries that did not have an open economy. Particularly as outlined by Shaeffer, Latin America and countries in Europe like Spain or even North Korea today. It is probably modeling after other Asian countries like China as I’ve mentioned above and Taiwan, South Korea and Japan because these countries have experienced tremendous growths in their economy.

Darwin's Nightmare

The documentary film Darwin’s Nightmare talks about Tanzania’s economic problems, especially how the introduction of the Nile Perch has affected the people there. No one knows for sure when or how the Nile Perch was put into Lake Victoria, but its introduction has had a profound impact not only on Tanzania’s economy, but its ecological system as well. The Nile Perch has taken over the lake and has killed off many native species to the point of extinction. Even with this negative impact, the Nile Perch is now the most profitable fish in Lake Victoria. It is exported to Europe, Japan & the United States; making huge profits for the companies running it, but having no benefits for the people of Tanzania. The Tanzanians can’t afford the fish; even if they fish it themselves they would rather sell it for money to buy rice. Another important issue that the movie brought out was the fact that this exporting of the fish only brings the problem back home. The planes that bring these fish out also bring in ammunitions that go to foster the wars in Congo and the nearby countries. Tanzania is caught in the middle with no firm ground to establish itself to compete with the world and have upward mobility.

This is definitely a huge problem not only concerning Tanzania but the world as well. It’s the riches countries in the world that are consuming these fish not the Tanzanians. Tanzania and countries like it are being exploited to fulfill the needs and lifestyles of the modern world. It’s ironic that these fish exporting companies are not run or owned by Tanzanians but outsiders who have really no interest for the country. While the fillets of the fish are exported, the Tanzanians are only left with the skeletal fish to eat. Many of these sites where the fish skeletals are processed are overrun by maggots and infused with ammonia causing many of the people working there serious health problems. As a majority middle class society in the US, we can’t really see how our actions and decision may impact or influence these third world countries that are providing the goods for us, but something as little as buying the fish can have an impact. It seems that according to Mrs. Vogel’s talks about caring and making a difference in the world, the US would stop consuming the Nile Perch if it knew where it came from and the problems behind it.

Chimps and Humans

Are humans ancestors of apes? This is probably one of the most controversial topics there is, that humans derived from apes. This may or may not be true, but we both share very common characteristics and behaviors, such that in an article found on cnn.com which explains that younger chimps act a lot like a human, or more specifically, act like a toddler. Even though there is scientific proof that proves this the theory of humans sharing common characteristics, there is also proof that chimps also experience the same learning abilities such that of a toddler. The article explains this theory with an example of chimps searching for termites with a stick. A toddler would also relate to this action..digging through dirt with a stick, looking for insects. (The photo in the article also shows a lot of what the behavior may be between a chimp and a toddler; squatting low to the ground...looking) because this would be typical for such a young age, such as the article states, "The study involved animals as young as 3 months and as old as 11 years." This article is also about roles between genders. Females in the chimp colonies and their daughters were found to be gathering food for the family rather than males. Males on the other hand, were found to be nearby playing within the trees. A quote from Tomi Hall, found near the end of the article explains this concept very clearly, ""Boys at this age tend to be a little bit more playful, and the girls tend to be a little bit more grown up acting, and more responsible...I can call on the girls a lot of times to do things that I know they will carry through and do, whereas sometimes I have to follow the boys around so they do what I've asked them to do." I chose this article because it can relate to our discussion between chimps and bonobos. I find it interesting to see the similarities and differences between other species, especially ones so controversial, like this example of chimps vs. humans. Continue reading at http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/04/19/chimp.termites/index.html

Is That What You Really Think?

In a recent article "Voting with the Heart," in Scientific American, the work of Charles Taber, a political scientist at Stony Brook University, on subliminal cueing and its impact on political responses is assessed. Test subjects were asked to give either a positive or a negative response to a target word as quickly as they could. These target words remained on the screen after the subliminal cue had been flashed, and all had unambiguous good or bad connotations. Separate from the association test, the participants were surveyed on their political views. When cued with words corresponding to issues the test subjects supported, their response times were shortened, even though the target word had nothing to do with the issues. As well as examining the effects of cues on specific issues, cues of groups pertaining to the views of the subject were used, and had the same result. More insidiously, when the cue words were simply "we" or "they" the impact was the same as when using explicit groups or issues that the subject identified with.

This finding is a bit disturbing because it highlights how issues that we would normally believe we can think critically and objectively about can be fundamentally guided one way or another by cues beyond our conscious perception, and apparent control. This idea seems to fit with the ideas of self-deception put forth by Robert Trivers, and cited by Pinker. We hold within ourselves the idea that political issues are something we can think rationally about, and in convincing ourselves of that idea, it makes it easier for us to debate as though we were truly dispassionate. On another note, Pinker raises the point of how two people of disparate views can argue an issue with one another, and each will come away with the impression of the other being impervious to logic unless they acknowledge that they are arguing over views that in many cases stem from passions rather than logic. This again coincides with Taber's findings, as his work implies that underlying biases we may not even be aware of can play a significant role in our responses to issues. Hopefully more research into this topic will shed more light on the mechanisms behind this reaction, and being aware of its ramifications can help us try to offset it's impact.

Scientific American:

Charles Taber:

Trivers and Self-Deception:


I for one, am an advocate for diversity and acceptance of others, but don't you think that sometimes we take it just a little too far? After today's discussion in lecture, it got me thinking of how the original intent of an action can get so skewed in the execution. For example, I'm frequently complimented on campus for my "exceptional command" of the English language, and I'm always asked how many months have I been in the country for? When I ask them what in the world they could possibly mean by that statement, they apologize and speak slower and enunciate.

The original point is not lost on me, yes they are trying to make me feel accepted, but in the process, there are glaring deficiencies and assumptions. I've lived in this country for 20 years now and it's a bit disheartening to say the least when people come up to you with the pity eyes, trying to compliment your native English as passably decent. Perhaps if we quit antagonizing subjects pertaining to assimilation and acceptance into our culture then that would alleviate a lot of the tension. Sometimes a subject can suffer from overexposure and undermine what the originators set out to do.

Why Pinker Annoys Me

I am strongly opposed to Pinker’s writing. Some of his ideas are decent, but I cannot tolerate the way in which he presents them. He talks down to any social scientist or biologist who does not agree with him and paints them as lunatics. He comes off as extremely obnoxious, which is not the best way to get your point across. To figure out why I hate pinker so much, I wrote in the margins of the Pinker-Spelke debate and the book we are reading, The Blank Slate. I’ll briefly go through some examples of why Pinker is obnoxious from the Pinker Spelke debate.

First obnoxious thing…?For those of you that just arrived from mars…? –that’s just dumb and makes the reader, even if they have heard about what’s going on, feel alienated.

Then he goes on to say that Liz Spelke, his collegue, has been quoted as saying “there is not a shred of evidence? for the biological factor in determining male superiority in fields such as math and engineering, she says it is difficult for her to see how someone could argue that there was. Pinker jumps on this opportunity, making it personal, saying that how could she, as a collegue who he agrees with most of the time, say that there wasn’t a shred of evidence on the other side. He says that he would never even say that. – This whole part is not necessary. I feel as if he is just trying to show that he as a person is more intelligent and reasonable, not that his side of the issue is correct.

“Again for the benefit of the Martians in the room…? –why are you so annoying???

“I confess to being a feminist?- Why do you have to “confess.??

“The truth can not be sexist?- however, truth is interpreted by people. Do scientists insist that they are sure that they know the truth and they are absolutely right and that’s the end? No, they don’t. In addition there are truths such as presented in a very popular medical school book that is still being used today regarding the sperm penetrating the egg that go something like the determined aggressive sperm attacks the passive patient egg (example from an anthropology class I took last fall semester), I can’t remember the exact reading. It’s that kind of interpretation that is sexist and can have significant ramifications. Our truths are shaded by our cultural understandings. Sorry, we are people, and people are socialized.

He also brings up a point about interests in career choices. Women are biologically attracted to jobs in which they work with people and men are attracted to jobs in which they work with things. However, he completely neglects that women are brought up to think that they should work with people, while men are brought up to think they should work with things. This is not as prevalent as it has been in history, but it still exists and Pinker conveniently ignores that.

Also, when he discusses SAT scores he says that the ration of scores over 700 is 2.5 to 1 male to female, which he admits at down from 13 to 1 twenty five years ago. What he should also recognize when admitting this fact is that why have these numbers changed? Could it possibly be because the social climate has changed? Do gender stereotypes still exist? Could it be that as gender stereotypes decline the difference in SAT math scores go down, because women and men really are both as capable at math as the other? Pinker conveniently ends the train of thought before it reaches that conclusion.

Also he says that the tests are “surprisingly good.? He cites the reason as those who are in science careers typically scored in the 90th percentile on the SATs, he also says that SAT score is linked to the prestige of one’s degree and the number of patents. However, he neglects to think…hmm…what does the university depend on for admission?…SATs! Therefore those who do have the better SAT scores will get into better schools and get better scholarships and so they have great advantages over all of the other people who took the SAT. Currently, getting a good score on a standardized test is the gateway to college, and that is wrong.

“Among baby vervet monkeys, the males even prefer to play with trucks and the females with other kinds of toys.? This is the dumbest quote I’ve ever heard an intellectual say. People have a long history of imposing human traits on animals, just because it seems like an easy thing to do, and this is a perfect example. Where did he get this data??? I just refuse to believe it.

He also says the only people who won’t say girls and boys are fundamentally different are those who are “childless.? That is also crap. He doesn’t recognize that, as Spelke points out, parenting strategies are unconsciously different depending on what sex they think that their child is.

He also talks about the boy who was raised as a girl but then ended up being a man again. My response to this is what about all those people who are raised as the sex they were born as but feel like they are the opposite sex? My roommate is a perfect example of someone who was raised as a boy, but firmly states that he is not a boy. There are plenty of people with ambiguous genders. It is possible that gender is mostly biological, but it is necessary that there are exceptions and gender is definitely not only biological as Pinker tries to point out.

That is just a sample of why I think Pinker stinks.

Amy's the Winner

"Today you had the chance to raise your voice for change, and you did it." This quote is from the first elected female senator, Amy Klobuchar, who won by a landslide, 60% to 36% according to an article found on wcco.com, from this years past election. Klobuchar is speaking the words of what many Americans feel presently, that the war in Iraq and all the controversies in Washington needed to be changed. After Sen. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, announced his retirement, Klobuchar was one of the first Democrats to take a stand and to start a campaign which then would place her in the running for the elections. Her campaign was fierce against her opponent, Kennedy, which he ran a campaign based mostly on his military experience, and with the current war, this cost him the race. Klobuchar did not weigh in on the war as much as Kennedy did, she explained that one of her many goals was to somehow balance the budget from the war. It seems though, she was more focused on her goals of bettering the college tuition, and making health care more affordable. If you want to continue reading more about Amy Klobuchar and her opponents, go to http://wcco.com/election/local_story_310074816.html

The Giant Middle Class

As soon as I began the readings for this week, I was reminded of a class I took last year. The class topic had to do with social class and inequality. I distinctly remember the first week of class when our professor asked everyone to write on a sheet of paper what social class they thought they were a member of. We then anonymously put our papers in a pile and our professor looked through them and tallied the number of people in each social class. It was very interesting because, even though it was completely anonymous, everyone except three people in our class of 40 identified with the middle class. A few people specified lower-middle or upper-middle, but only one person identified with the upper class and two people identified with working-class. Everyone else was simply “middle?.

In chapter 1 of “One Nation, After All?, Wolfe discusses this tendency to identify with the middle class in America. People are generally reluctant to admit to being members of the upper classes or lower classes in society. Although many people think of class standing to be purely decided by economic factors, Wolfe suggests that the middle class in America also has to do with morals and beliefs. He refers to the middle class as a “moral class? and says that they are “ordinary people trying to live by traditional rules of working hard, saving for the future, and being loyal to family and country (Wolfe 10)?. So maybe the reason so many people identify with the middle class is not because they are afraid to be different. Perhaps it is the morals of the middle class that appeal to people who fit into other classes economically.

First Muslim to Congress

As we all know, the elections have passed and the American people have chosen the ones to go to Washington to represent their states. By doing this, one state in particular made history...as Minnesota elected the first Muslim to Congress, Kieth Ellison. An article on wcco.com explains his history and election campaigns. It says that Ellison was elected to the 5th District and his main goals were focused not only on the urban community, but also the minority and religious communities, for example, Jewish. Ellision states in the report, "We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews. Buddhists," he said," We brought in everybody". Many people didn't know that Ellison was even a Muslim such as Hayat Hassan, a single mother who voted for him because of his beliefs or positions in which he'd take on in Congress, who states, "I didn't even know he was a Muslim until one of his campaign workers told me." If people did not know that he was of a different religion, would people still favor him, or would they have voted for another candidate? This would have been interesting to see. I thought I would touch base on this article because history was made especially for Minnesota since Keith Ellison was the first Muslim to Congress. It has brought the minority communities closer together and had brought some hope for other religions as well, knowing now how much they can succeed. To see the article, go to http://wcco.com/election/local_story_310080755.html

Articles from class

If you want to read some of the articles you didn't get a chance to see in class today, here they are:

November 27, 2006

Since when did everyone start taking comedians seriously?

I believe it was Pen and Teller’s reality TV show Bullshit! where I first heard the full critique of the modern sense of profanity as a taboo. The most profound point that was made during this episode was that the words said are not what really matters, it is meaning that we put behind them. This point was again eluded to by Pinker in The Blank Slate through his Euphemism Treadmill. There is a barrier that causes society to not see that the real danger lies in the negative emotions associated with hate speech and that barrier happens to be the simplistic attitude carried by most people. The hate is not in the language, the hate is in the intention. The fact that we focus on fixing the language usually diverts our recourses from more fruitful pursuits (eg. Stemming the negative emotions or teaching people to control them).

This is where Kramer comes in, just last week Michael Richards went berserk on a heckler during a standup performance. The performance shows him attempting to keep his cool by turning the jokes to the heckler. Unfortunately the jokes went over what was deemed tasteful, and the comedian lost his ability to pawn his statements off in a joking manner. As a consequence all that he said was taken quite literally, and even Michael has apologized for his racist tone. Yet, I can’t help but feel that the situation has been taken a little bit too far. Bill Hicks is the most profound comedian I have ever listened to, and there was a performance where a very similar situation arose for him. The whole set was a disaster for him because a significant number of his audience were obnoxiously drunk and would not stop badgering him. Consequently on more than one occasion he profanely attacked the hecklers, but the difference between his attack and Michaels was that he was able to convey to the majority of the audience a sense of ambiguity behind his statements. This allowed his statements to be seen as humorous, simply because they were so absurd.

The important contrast to be noted is that Bill Hicks’ audience was not able to take him seriously, whereas Michael Richards’ audience took him very serious. Firstly, this is due to the fact that Michael Richards just is not as good of a standup comic as Bill Hicks was, but Bill Hicks did spend most of his time getting heckled so he was good at keeping his comic cool. Also it must not be ignored that the audience did forget that they were watching a comedian and that comedians are supposed to shock us, it’s what tends to make them good comedians.

The backlash has been as expected. Michael is deemed a racist in the eyes of the public, and that is the end of it. The major focus on what he said drowns out any inclination that maybe he just faltered when trying to heckle the audience member. He used racial stereotypes and language, but that’s what comedians do. It makes us uncomfortable so that when we are amused the emotions are contrasted. That’s why comedians are funny. Maybe someday we can get past the view that words are everything and look a little deeper at situations when we asses situations.

For those who have seen the video where Michael Richards loses it, have a look at Bill Hicks, but BEWARE...
He loses it in this one [WARNING]
Contemporary culture[WARNING]

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the Green Scare

Recently both houses of congresses voted overwhelmingly the pass the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law which they claim is meant to battle “eco-terrorism,? or terrorism against institutions which exploit the environment or animals. It is part of a larger policy course these past few years, which environmental rights activists have labeled the “Green Scare.? Supporters of the bill say that it will protect scientists, researchers, farmers, and other industries from animal rights extremists.

The main criticisms of the bill are similar to other counter-terrorism legislation passed in recent years, such as the USA Patriot Act, and are that the law is too vague and curtails civil liberties. The bill is supposedly meant to curtail violent extremism, yet it specifically mentions nonviolent protestors. Many of the nonviolent tactics that animal rights activists use, such as sit-ins, blockades, trespassing into research centers to investigate animal cruelty, and freeing animals who are used as test subjects, would now be considered “terrorism.? And in fact, according to this law, it is a crime for animal rights activists to cause “loss of profit? to companies.

The most ridiculous thing about this bill, in my opinion, is that while it is true that some groups, such as the ELF and ALF occasionally cause property damage, they go out of their way to make sure that no animals - “human or nonhuman? - are hurt by their actions. So, to me, someone who lived in New York City and still has lots of family there, it is rather offensive that the government is now putting the murder of 3,000 people in an actual terrorist attack in the same category as activists freeing puppies, monkeys, and other animals that are used for various research and testing projects

November 25, 2006

Teaching the "REAL" Thanksgiving

So, we're all post turkey glow and happy to have had a few days off school . . . Do you remember Thanksgiving week when you were in elementary school? Hand trace turkeys and construction paper pilgrims hats. It is what would be considered romanticization of the first Thanksgiving.
I just read an article on cnn.com; “Teaching Thanksgiving from a different perspective.? In this article it talks about the sensitivity that some people have about the holiday and how elementary teachers are starting to teach that the first Thanksgiving was more than full tummies. Teachers are now trying to teach children what really went on during these first few years of our country and not sparing children the dark side.
Do you remember when you found out that Thanksgiving was kind of a hoax and that Christopher Columbus was not the good-natured adventurer that we’ve celebrated all these years?
I never thought about it. I thought that they must have taught us in that happy vague way because children could comprehend it better. I never considered it different as much as maybe an alternative spin. I wonder why we were taught in that way.
I mean, we all know that the winner writes history, but if you’ll inevitably find out anyway, what’s the point of glossing this over to such an extent? Are we afraid to own up to our past? I think that it would be interesting to do a sociological study or psychological study about how people view the United States when they have learned about the past of our country in different ways. Will those that have learned the fuzzy rose-colored story have a higher level of nationalism than those that do not? I think that this is one of those overlaying study areas that we were talking about at the beginning of Pinker. How has the past of the country been, historically, portrayed to children and how do the views of our country differ for those groups of people? I guess I just want to know if there’s a reason for glossing over our atrocities rather than owning up and moving on.
If you’d like to read the article it can be retrieved at : http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/11/22/teaching.thanksgiving.ap/index.html

What's so big about blogging?

Blogging has been all the craze in the last couple years with its popularity continuing to rise. Until this class I had never ventured into the blog world and therefore had no idea the fad it had become. A story on CNN.com reported that there is approximately 57 million blogs already available with about 15,000 more becoming available each day. Blog topics range from banana bread to war in Iraq and many people have started to use blogs as news sources. The CNN story also gave a “how to guide? to starting a blog of your own listing the key ingredients as (1) finding a platform, or subject to write about, (2) having a large ego, and (3) saying something controversial. After reading these to be the guidelines it makes me wonder how accurate these blogs are, especially when being used as news sources. The more I read these blogs the more skeptical I become. Of course many of the major news sources like CNN use correspondents as their blog authors but many times it is just an average Joe-blow writing some of these articles. Just because I could write a blog about the elections doesn’t make me a credible source. Many people argue that blogs give these everyday people a voice and an outlet to express their opinions but these opinions are not always accurate and should not be taken as fact.

As I was watching the elections on CNN on the 7th during their broadcast every now and again they would cut to a group of bloggers sitting in a coffee shop waiting to create their blogs in response to the elections. CNN also outlined these bloggers to be a strong influence helping specific candidates to win, such as Joseph Lieberman. This reminded me a lot of the Boyd article that we read for class that was entitled “The Web Rewires the Movement.? The article discussed how the web has changed the face of campaigns and national support, and blogging fits into this change perfectly. Bloggers can put a spin on a story to increase support for a candidate as well as decrease support for another. The internet has become more common among Americans creating a large market for internet news sources, blogging being one of them. According the national survey data that we used for out survey reports in class about 6% of people use the internet as a news source, however, as the newspaper readers continue to wane and the use of the internet continues to rise, one can only imagine that the blogging sources will continue to rise as well. I cannot see the popularity of blogging declining anytime soon and until then this blogs will continue to be influential to candidates, campaigns and the general public alike.

November 24, 2006

The Last Suffrage Movement?

On Election Day 2006, Jesse L. Hunter of Eden Prarie, age 17, went to his polling place, showed his ID, and passed through and was allowed to vote, believing that he was informed enough to cast a ballot, regardless of his age. For taking part in this action, however illegal it was, he took a step that about half of Americans are typically unwilling to, taking a few minutes out of his day to make his voice heard in how his government should be run. For this action, he faces up to a year in jail.

Voting age is often a controversial subject. Up until only a few decades ago, the voting age in American was 21. Because of social justice movements, mostly the anti-Vietnam War movement, the voting age was lowered to 18, with the reasoning that if a person is asked to die for his country, they should also be allowed to vote for or against those asking them to die. This argument could also be made for today’s young people. Even though you still have to be 18 to fight in a war, military recruiters target children younger than that in high schools, and many future soldiers make commitments to the military before they turn 18. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that if you trust somebody to be informed and educated enough to commit their life to the military, you should also trust them to have some kind of say in their government.

In addition to that, there are countries that have voting ages lower than 18, some of which have the clause that they must be employed to vote under 18.

Another good reason to let those under 18 vote is the Education Policy. This is obviously going to affect those under 18 more than anyone else, yet they are not allowed to choose a candidate who may benefit their own education system. Even if someone isn’t willing to give those under 18 credit for being informed enough to vote, surely they can admit that a high school student, with the possible exception of a teacher, knows more about the problems and issues affect education than anyone else.

And regardless of one's feeling on the issue, isn't a little silly to threaten somebody with a year in jail simply for trying to vote?

And in today’s America, where only about half of the population vote, and many Americans are incredibly misinformed and/or ignorant about policies, leaders, geography, et cetera, I cannot see much of a downside to letting those younger than 18 a say in a government.

November 21, 2006

Asking patriots to serve....again

An article I read a few weeks ago hinted that National Guard and Reserve units in the United States face the possibility of being deployed to Iraq for second tours. The way the current operational tempo stands, every major National Guard brigade will have already served a one year tour in Iraq, the possibilty of new deployments would mobilize those units that served in the first wave of the Iraq war. This poses many interesting questions, as we are faced with an unprecedented level of usage of the reserve forces of the United States military. The current Iraq engagement already has outlasted World War II in duration, and it shows no signs of being resolved any time soon. Some people and congressmen have suggested a reinstatement of the draft to ease the burden shouldered by our armed forces, and disperse the duty.

I, for one, do not believe that the draft is the right approach. I do think it is true that the military disproportionately represents the lower classes as well as minorities. It is not too far off the mark to suggest that the poor are fighting the rich man's war. A draft, however, will not solve the inequality that is present in our society, but, rather, it will degrade the quality of our armed forces by replacing volunteers with conscripts.
The question, then, is how many times shall we, as a nation, ask our armed forces to expose themselves to combat? At how many deployments do we draw the line, and say, "now you have served your country, you are truly a patriot"? The stress on our reserve forces will be tremendous, that I can gurantee. But, the dedication and sense of duty felt by myself and my fellow soldiers is not something that can be measured or capped. As such, I believe that we can sustain another round of reserve call ups without crippling our armed forces.

November 20, 2006

Gender Differences May Prove Beneficial

The information on gender differences has long been conflicting. Specific research, scientists, and groups go back and forth over the issue of gender equity of the brain. To be quite honest I don’t know which side to believe. Pinker argues that equality of the male and female brains does not necessarily imply that they are the same. He describes differences to exist without question, but that these differences do not make one gender “better? than the other rather than serve as counterparts to one another. Cultures and mammals around the world show a regular pattern of male dominance and protection and female nurturing and childrearing. This argument, however, often sparks a lot of controversy as well, especially among feminist groups. Just because a women is naturally less aggressive, more nurturing, and overall better equipped for caring for children does not mean that she must be confined to that role. Just because someone is good at arguing does not mean that they have to be a lawyer. The topic of gender differences has actually come up in another one of my classes recently and a piece of information I found interesting was that males that had lower amounts of testosterone than average males actually had higher IQs and females that had higher levels of testosterone than average females had higher IQs. This may point us back to thinking that there really isn’t a real difference between the male and female brain; even though many researchers often cite hormones as the main cause for these gender differences.

I see a lot of this controversy showing up in politics today. With women such as Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton potentially assuming roles of unprecedented female power they are receiving a lot of criticism from their peers and the public. After reading Pinker’s chapter on gender, however, it sounds like those qualities that are innate to women may actually prove extremely beneficial to them. The natural verbal and communication skills that a female possesses may actually make a woman like Nancy Pelosi, very good at being Speaker of the House. There has never been a woman in this position, and she may in fact, excel at it. Other characteristics of women such as being less impulsive, less aggressive, better at reading facial expressions and body language, more empathetic, and better at perceiving underlying or implied messages may be characteristics of a very good leader. A poll done on CNN was released today showing Hilary Clinton leading the race for the democratic nominee for President with 33% support. http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/11/20/2008.poll/index.htmlThis is not to say that because men do not innately possess these qualities that they are not good at these positions it will just be interesting to see the difference in styles. Again, this goes back to the analogy just because some is good at arguing doesn’t mean they will make a good lawyer. The women may potentially flop in their positions. We cannot use gender to predict how these women will handle these positions (if elected) but by all accounts of the female characteristics they are naturally equipped to do well and hopefully they will.

School of the Americas

This past weekend I took a 24 hour bus trip down to Fort Benning, Georgia. Why did I do such a crazy thing at this time in the middle of the semester when I have far too many papers to write? I went to protest the School of the Americas (SOA). The School of the America’s is a school run by the US military that trains Latin American militias effective “counter-insurgency? techniques, including torture. Many of the graduates of the SOA or as some call it, “The School of the Assasins,? have committed tremendous atrocities, from killing nuns who were doing humanitarian work, to killing priests, to murdering union organizers, to being responsible for brutal massacres in which thousands of women and children were. Many of the graduates are currently in prison for what the SOA has taught them to do.

This is why every year there is a huge protest at Fort Benning. For one weekend out of the year the small military town is overwhelmed by protesters, and even though the city isn’t happy about it (they sponsor a counter protest) the local hotels and restaurants are happy (gotta love capitalism). Sunday is the day of the vigil, which was the most powerful demonstration of protest I have ever seen, often at protests we forget that the things that are happening make us sad, and we focus on being mad. There is also a lot of civil disobedience going on. People can be seen climbing over the fence, some praying at the top, and then jumping over into military property where they are immediately arrested. It’s also possible to get carted away for just covering your face (something they don’t tell people, a fifteen year old from Minneapolis went to jail).

The protest is more than well guarded. They have cameras and video cameras ready to make sure they have pictures of everyone’s faces. They also have a mysterious weapon, tucked away in bags at their sides (a friend and I asked and they wouldn’t let us see it).

Even though it is a powerful form of protest and it definitely does have its effect on the participants and causes stress to the city and the military school, I started the weekend off a little pessimistically. The protesters are only there one weekend a year. Then everything goes back to normal at Fort Benning. Do our protests really change anything? It seemed like we’re just preaching to the choir and we aren’t doing anything constructive. Over the weekend I came to the conclusion that even though there aren’t protesters there 24/7 364 days a year it’s still worth it and effective in its own ways.

First of all it is effective because there is work being done around the School of the America’s all year long. Often people need a large protest or action to charge themselves up for the rest of the year. There’s nothing like coming together with people who are just as passionate as you are to make you feel even more strongly about what you believe and what you are doing. School of the America’s watch is constantly researching and providing information to everyone who asks for it. The U.S. congress is again going to re-consider a bill to close the school. Nicaragua and several other Latin American States have stopped sending people to the school of the Americas, largely due to the work that SOA watch does.

In addition, each year thousands more people come than the previous year. This year was my first year at the School of the America’s. I didn’t even know what it was until this past year. The School of the America’s protest is the school’s largest media event. The school likes to stay out of the spotlight of the media (hmm…wonder why?). If it wasn’t for the protest I might have not even heard about what was going on and neither would thousands of others who just like me, came for the first time this year.

So for those of you who don’t protest because you don’t think it’s effective. Think again. There is a reason why people all over the world have to fight for their right to free speech and their right to assemble. If it wasn't effective governments wouldn't care. We in the U.S. are lucky enough to have these rights. Why not use them?

November 18, 2006

"The New York Times" Versus "The Guardian"

Being a student in the Global Studies department here at the University, I am constantly finding myself fascinated by international perspectives, especially when concerning world news. So, when choosing a topic of comparison for this particular assignment, it is no big surprise that I became interested in reviewing The New York Times newspaper compared to one of Britain’s most popular newspapers, "The Guardian."


When skimming the New York Times, two articles caught my attention immediately: one titled "Bush Praises Vietnam's Rise" and another concerning education, titled "Most Students In Big Cities Lag in Basic Science."

The article "Bush Praises Vietnam's Rise," by Helen Cooper, November 16, 2006, discussed President Bush's visit to Vietnam and how the Bush Administration, though reserved, are beginning to recognize the comparisons between the war in Vietnam 31 years ago and our current situation in Iraq. However, President Bush went on to state that "Vietnam's transition to a modern, growing economy gave him hope about what could be rebuilt from the ruins from Iraq" and that "the lesson he drew from the bitter American experience in Vietnam was 'we'll succeed unless we quit.'" The point was raised that Vietnam turned out well despite America's withdrawal and Bush responded by saying "the situation in Iraq is more complicated and that retreat was not an option."

The second article concerning students lagging in basic science, by Diana Schemo, November 15, 2006, discussed how 8th graders in 9 of 10 major cities in America are failing to demonstrate even a basic understanding of science, (according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests). The solution proposed was that in the beginning of next year cities would begin testing students annually in science under the "No Child Left Behind Act."

When turning to The Guardian in search of interesting comparisons between national and international news, I came across two articles that covered similar issues as the articles that I had previously read in The New York Times.

The first article titled "Bush To Face The Ghosts of America's Last Failed War," by Suzanne Goldenberg, Nov. 16, 2006, was similar to the New York Times' article concerning Bush's visit to Vietnam. The article openly discussed comparisons between the war in Vietnam and America's current situation in Iraq and how it is a comparison that the Bush Administration has been resisting since 2003. The article went on to state that "the most compelling parallel between the two has little to do with either Iraq or Vietnam and is about the nature of power and America's view of itself in the world." The article also made an interesting statement that "once again America is sending troops to a far away country that it does not understand and committed forces for reasons that seem unclear at best." The article concluded with a list of points that made for a direct and un-deniable comparison between the two wars.

In the second article that I read, titled "Top State Schools Urged to Seek out Disadvantaged Children," by Jaimes Meikle, November 16, 2006, education secretary, Alan Johnson, stated that "leading state schools should seek out children from deprived backgrounds to help end the stubborn problem of underachievement and low expectations." The article discussed Johnson's plans to make every school ensure that each child, whatever their ability, could rise two levels in their achievement and that the leading system should be altered by measures showing how schools improved the prospects of all students ranging from the least able to the most gifted. His plan is to remove the barriers, (one being money), that prevented disadvantaged children from realizing their potential. The article concluded by stated that the new curriculum is already being reviewed to improve matters.


"The New York Times" newspaper, being the largest metropolitan paper in the United States, is published in New York city by Arthur Ulzberger, Jr. and distributed internationally. It is owned by the New York Times Company, and has achieved international scope, circulation, and recognition. The paper is organized into three sections concerning news, (International, National, Washington, business, science, health, sports, New York region, education, weather, and obituaries,), opinion, and features, (art, travel, events, etcetera.) In my opinion, although internationally circulated, it seems as though the newspaper is intended for educated adult, (and young, mature adult), Americans. I am making these assumptions based on the general content of the articles. In my experience, I have noticed that the articles tend to be a bit loaded, wordy, have a tendency to hold an American perspective on international issues, and finally, because a large majority of the newspaper focuses on issues concerning Americans.

"The Guardian," being one of Britain’s most popular newspapers, is based in London and owned by The Guardian Media Group. It has been noted that the editorial articles tend to hold liberal to left-wing political views. In my experience reading this newspaper, I noticed that the majority of the articles ride the fine line between objective news and personal opinion. Being that many of the articles and editorials tend to gravitate towards the more liberal end of the political spectrum and hold a British perspective on world news, It was my assumption that this newspaper is intended for a more liberal, British citizen. I feel that this newspaper could attract both an adult and young adult to teenager reader. Most of the articles were written in a very clear, concise, manner, making it easy to understand for a wide-range of readers.

Discussion and Analysis

When I think of people sitting down to read newspapers such as "The New York Times" and "The Guardian," It was always my assumption that they were doing so in order to update themselves on important National and International news from an objective standpoint. But, when doing this comparison, it became clear to me the amount of influence that the media has on our personal views and opinions of global issues and the role that one's nation plays in the world. This comparison was particularly interesting because I chose articles from both papers that were based on similar issues, but differed drastically in the way they were discussed in the news. It became clear to me that none of the articles I read were very objective at all; in fact, they were so full of personal opinion and in the most manipulative manner: they were worded as if the authors held objective standpoints. I must say, that most of the journalists for "The Guardian" did not try to hide their personal opinions as much as those writing for “The New York Times.? The article in “The New York Times? on Bush’s visit to Vietnam is a good example. This article was worded in a way that made it seem as though it was objective news. However, being a person with very liberal political opinions, the conservative undertones in this article were immediately apparent to me. Considering that Bush is realizing the need to recognize the comparison between Vietnam and Iraq, the article started saying "Vietnam's transition to a modern, growing economy gave him hope, (Bush), about what could be rebuilt from the ruins from Iraq." Although the article did raise the argument on Vietnam improving without American occupancy, it went on to quote Bush about Iraq being a different situation and that "the lesson he drew from the bitter American experience in Vietnam was that we'll succeed unless we quit." The article concluded by turning away from Vietnam and Iraq and switching focus to some positive accomplishments the U.S has recently achieved. The way in which this was presented almost gives us a sense of national pride; to be strong and not give up on "The War on Terror." Personally, I do not buy it, but it was almost convincing. The article in "The Guardian" on this topic was the complete opposite. It outwardly stated the comparisons between the two wars and Bush's reluctance in recognizing them. There is no hiding of personal opinion in the bold statement that concludes the article: "Once again America is sending troops to a far away country that it does not understand and committed forces for reasons that seem unclear at best."

The two articles discussing issues in education were also of particular interest to me because not only were these articles filled with personal opinions rather than being objective news, but they were also two similar situations that stated the countries’ different solutions to these problems. Britain has determined that “tests, targets, and tables are undermining education and endangering the mental health of children,? while America is adding testing in science to the “No Child Left Behind? act. It will be interesting to see which solution provides the best results.


This assignment was so fascinating and I recommend that everyone read national and International newspapers one after another as I did; the comparisons are endless.

November 17, 2006

Instant Runoff Voting for Minneapolis

Earlier this semester I blogged on Instant Runoff Voting and how it is carried out and Minneapolis has just been added to the very short list of US cities that use, or will use, the system in future elections. San Francisco is another city that uses Instant Runoff Voting and it has actually made an impact on a recent district-supervisor election. After none of the candidates claimed the majority after the first round the lowest vote earning candidates were eliminated and their second votes were redistributed to the remaining candidates. The second votes were enough to push Ed Jew, a Chinese-America owner of a flower shop, to a 52% lead. Many labeled his victory as an upset and attributed it mostly to the amount of second votes that he received.

The Star Tribune recently ran an editorial about IRV as well, and how, if it had been in place in the last election could have changed the outcome of the 2006 Minnesota gubernatorial race. This is not the first time that third party votes have kept the winning candidate’s percentage below 50%. Tim Pawlenty recently won with 46.7% of the vote, which has left the majority dissatisfied with the victor. Leaving such a large proportion of voters unhappy would have been avoided had IRV been used. IRV would allow for the winner to hold onto the majority of the voters. This editorial also acknowledges that IRV will also encourage candidates to create appeal outside their defined party lines, which could be beneficial to the majority. Positions and plans would appeal across party lines possibly creating increased support.

Minneapolis voters approved a trial of IRV system in 2009 elections. It will be interesting to see if this system will soon be seen statewide or if it will flop. Currently the IRV system is a very uncommon technique with very few participating cities in the United States. With major cities like San Francisco and Minneapolis starting to use this technique it may ignite a nationwide trend. Other cities may use the Minneapolis trial as a model for potential use in their cities. With very few cities using the technique, Minneapolis may play a huge role in the spread to the rest of the country. There is a lot riding on Minneapolis for the proponents of Instant Runoff Voting.

Zahn vs Van Susteren

The media sources I chose to compare are CNN’s talk show “Paula Zahn Now? and Fox News Channel’s talk show “On the Record Van Susteren?. These talks shows are both hosted by female respondents and are aired on channels that have a long standing rivalry. This is the first I had watched either show. I picked these particular shows as they both advertised to cover the day’s top stories in news.


CNN News
Show: “Paula Zahn Now?
Comcast Cable Description “Emmy-winning anchor reviews the day’s top stories and interviews newsmakers (News Magazine)?

-Covered comments by General John Abizaid made on Capital Hill today.
-Paula interviewed Jamie McIntyre, a CNN pentagon reporter, regarding the General’s comments. General is pushing for “beefed up version of current policy?. General is not interested in phased withdrawal or increased amount of soldiers.
-during interview pictures of troops shown and clips of General’s meeting

-Interview with Dana Bush, CNN White House Correspondent, regarding meeting of Armed Service Committee.
-Top contenders for the presidential election on committee. Clips of the meeting shown which comments were made by John McCain who feels a status quo approach to the war in Iraq is not acceptable. Comments also made by Hilary Clinton.
-Dana reports the Republicans being very aggressive with comments at meeting.

-Brief report on the chance Rumsfield will be put on trial for war crimes
-International human rights lawyers may file charges in German court
-Will be filed on behalf of 12 detainees that experienced extreme war torture

Commercial Break:
-mention that show is supported by Volvo
-Volvo Ad
-Movie preview for “Bobby?
-Delta/American Express Credit Card Ad
-EHarmony Dating Service
-Radisson Hotel and Sleep number beds

-Panel discussion on the possibility Rumsfield facing trial for war crimes
-Interviews with:
Vince Warren, director of Center of Constitutional Rights: Tried first case in Germany and believes it was dismissed because of pressure from the US Government. Believes case will be tried because there’s new prosecution and Janet Karpentry will testify.

Noel Francisco, former counsel to President Bush: Trial pressure because of special interest groups which disagree with American Foreign Policy. Predicts the charges will not go to trial.

Adam Zagorin, Time magazine correspondent: No matter what occurs this trial is an embarrassment to the US.

Discussion time short; not much time allotted
Commercial Break:
-Anderson Cooper preview, CNN show
-Coors ad urging parents to prevent underage drinking MVPParents.com
-ESPN Football/Comcast
-Lou Dobs preview, CNN show

-Discussion surrounding new Al Jeezera English version telecast
-is it news or propaganda??
-Interview with Glen Beck, talk show host from Headline News. Beck has a show regarding media and how it does not always depict the truth.
-Beck does not believe Al Jeezera will make it to US TV sources.
-showed examples of items aired on Hizbuallah TV by Islamic extremists. Clip showed an interview with a 3yr old who considered Jews apes and pigs. Clip showed of a 13 yr old proud of this father who was a suicide bomber.
-Beck makes note of the importance of the public knowing about such radical television and what influence it can have.

Commercial Break
-Ameriprise Financial
-Volvo Ad
-Cingular-Xmas Theme
-British Airways
-Move preview for “The Queen?

-Report on Ehren Watada, 29yr old soldier refusing to deploy to Iraq who faces charges by military.
-Interview conducted with Watada.
-Watada states he enlisted in the military to protect his Country. He found out that the US Government mislead the army and public as to the reasons for invading Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Watada does not want to fight in a war that is illegal and immoral. He was willing to deploy to other areas, like Afghanistan, but the army would not allow it.
-Watada denied his reason for refusal was that he was afraid to be killed. Watada stated that’s the risk you take whenever you are in the military.

Panel discussion in reaction to Ehren Watada’s refusal to serve in Iraq:

Paul Rieckholff, former Army leader in Iraq: Understands Watada’s political stance but his actions cannot be accepted. Army needs to maintain order and Watada is breaking the law.

Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now? TV and radio show: Supports Watada’s actions and they are very significant.

Josh Castell, former Army specialist who served in Iraq at Abu Ghraib: Watada’s actions are justified and give moral courage to other soldiers. Have an obligation to disobey all unlawful orders which is outlined in the Constitution.

Commercial Break:
-Stainmaster carpet
- Coors ad urging parents to prevent underage drinking MVPParents.com
-CDW-retirement planning
-Volvo ad
-Vonage phone

-Discussion regarding OJ’s Book “If I did it, here’s how it happened?.
-Zahn reports on content of book and two part TV interview scheduled to air on the Fox Network
-Ted Rowlands, CNN reporter
-During report pictures showed of Nicole Brown, Ron Goldman and OJ
-Statement read by Nicole Brown’s sister regarding outrage from family
-Interview conducted with Karl Manders attorney for Goldman family
-Manders states plans to go after money from book publishing and Fox TV interviews as OJ as an outstanding judgment from civil suit
-Manders reports how inconsiderate Fox Network is being and how ironic that the interview is airing during the holidays

-Brief coverage on today’s Stock Market ratings

-Brief coverage on Enron executive sentenced for securities fraud

Commercial Break:
-Accenture Ad
-5 Eyewitness News
-Home security system
-Tires Plus

-Discussion covering concerns with emergency room treatment.
-Story reported by Dr Sarah Goldkin and Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporter
-concern with waived consent in cases of extreme trauma
-Wall Street Journal report on excessive use of polyheme (fake blood) in emergency rooms. Polyheme use has not been researched enough and there has been an increase of heart attacks in patients that have been treated with it.
-Dr Goldkin and Dr Kiltzman give their opinions
-Interview with Hillary Williams, a country singer, who was treated with Polyheme and supports its use.

-During entire show rolling news flashes on the bottom of TV screen
-Show Ended-

Fox News Channel
Show: “On the Record Van Susteren?
Comcast Cable Description: Greta Van Susteren “The host and lawyer conduct interviews and covers breaking news (talk).?

Show starts right into the news. No introduction or opening music or ads

-Report on Michelle Young who was murdered 13 days ago in Raleigh, North Carolina.
-Van Susteren talks with Fox News reporter Jim at the scene of the crime.
-The facts of the crime are given by Van Susteren
-Michelle was killed sometime between after midnight and was found dead in her home by Michelle’s sister
-Jason, Michelle’s husband was out of town. He called the sister to go to the home to retrieve a fax that he did not want Michelle to see.
-2yr old child was alive in the home when Michelle was found. Michelle also pregnant
-Van Susteren asks several questions of Jim regarding the crime scene. Many pictures are shown
-Van Sustern very inquisitive and exchanges dialogue with Jim the reporter
-Discussion lengthy

-Interview conducted with Jeanine Pirror an experienced prosecutor, judge and District Attorney.
-Discussions timeline of Young’s murder and what Pirror’s opinion is
-Pirror questions the integrity and alibis of Young’s friends who were with Young until 10:30pm the evening she was killed

-Van Susteren continues discussion with Jim Fox News reporter
-Asks about if the friends have been checked out and what Young’s work schedule
-Continued suspicion discussed about Young’s husband

Commercial Break:
-Burlington Coat Factory
-Ameriprise Financial
-Kare 11
-Mills Fleet Farm
--commercials seemed short in duration—

News Break by Harris Faulkner, Fox News Reporter:
-Briefly reports on the following:
-Iranian president and nuclear issues
-US Airway looking to buy Delta airlines
-Pension Report

-Report on Renton Duckett, toddler that has been reported missing since August 27th.
-Van Susteren gives facts of story
-Trenton reported missing by mother, Melinda. Report was suspicious and a lot of pressure was put on mother. Mother committed suicide on Sept 8th.

-Discussion with Todd Connor, Fox News reporter, regarding latest news on the case.
-Clip show of police officer at news conference relaying new facts on the case
-Officer reports that eye witness that saw mother and child on day of reported abduction. Mother came to the Wendy’s where witness is employed two times on that day; once with son and once without. Police believe that Melinda staged the abduction which gives hope that Trenton is still alive.

-Conner and Van Susteren discussed police report. Van Susteren questions why Wendy’s employee waited so long to come forward. Discuss report by police. Van Susteren asks questions to Connor regarding other facts on the case.

-Van Susteren reports on 3 suicide notes written by Melinda. Stated she would not be a good mother to Trenton but talks in the present tense which police are relaying on the implication that Trenton is still living.

-Discussion lengthy

-Van Susteren previews Fox News show O’Reily Factor

Commercial Break:
-Exxon Mobile
-CVS Pharmacy

-Report by Van Susteren on OJ’s book “If I did it, here’s how it happened?.
-Van Susteren reports that Ms. Regan the publisher believes this could be OJ’s confession
-Van Susteren reads statement by Denise Brown, Nicole Brown’s sister, regarding the family’s opinion about the book

-Interview with John Q Kelly an attorney for the Brown family.
-Kelly states how OJ is making a mockery of the Brown and Goldman families. Kelly believes OJ’s motive is to get attention. Kelly was the lawyer in the OJ’s Civil Suit and recalls OJ’s crazy demeanor and creepy presence during the hearing.
-Van Susteren asks questions during time with Kelly

-Interview Conducted with Gloria Ailred who also has books published by Judith Regan.
-Van Susteren asks Gloria her opinion of the book and possible reasons why OJ would write it

-During entire segment pictures of OJ are shown. He is shown during trial but most are of him after trial signing autographs and interacting with the public. Short segments of his Fox News interview are also shown.

Commercial Break:
-US Post Office
-Burlington Coat Factory
-Ambien CR-sleeping medication

-Report covered by Van Susteren on campus attacks occurring in Florida
-Video surveillance shown of attack in an alley
-Sketch shown of suspect
- Police crime tip line number shown and Van Susteren urged anyone with information to call

-Report by Van Susteren on sex scandals in Colorado High School
-Chuck Murphy, Fox News reporter gives details of the stories
-29 yr old teacher who is the wife of the principal is charged with sleeping with a 17 year old student
-Son of the school president has pleaded guilty of fondling a 13 yr old student
-Van Susteren asks more details of each of the crimes
-Murphy reports that information is limited as minors are involved so information has been kept confidential
-It is not clear if the 17 yr old student involved will cooperate with authorities on the charges

Commercial Break:
-Dish TV
-Blood Pressure
-Western Hotel
-Comcast/Happy Feet movie
-Call of the Wild
-Time life CD collection sale

News Break by Harris Faulkner, Fox News reporter
-Briefly reports on the following:
-Bush’s visit to Singapore and discussion of US/Asia relations
-2008 exploratory
-Federal Reserve-inflation concerns
-Post Office-cut time to wait for commemorative stamps from 10 to 5
years. Wait for Presidents wait will remain one year.

-Van Susteren continues report on sex scandal at Colorado high school
-Interview with Carrie McCandless.
-McCandless reviews age of consent. If person is under age 18 there is no waiver of the age of consent law when sex is with a person of trust.
-Van Susteren discusses this with McCandless

Commercial Break:
-Lexmark copiers
-John Hancock retirement
-Hummer Ad
-Breath right

-Van Susteren reports on storms on the East Coast
-Chris Knowles gives weather report with East Coast being primary focus

- During entire show rolling news flashes on the bottom of TV screen

-Show Ended-


What I found most interesting when researching both of these shows was that Zahn had previously been employed with Fox News as Van Susteren had previously been employed by CNN. Zahn went to CNN after she was fired from Fox News for contract violations. Van Susteren went to Fox News soon after Zahn was hired at CNN. Rumors have it that Van Susteren was upset by all the attention Zahn was receiving although Van Susteren denies this in the reports that I have read. Another fact that I found interesting is that Van Susteren had various changes made to her appearance via plastic surgery after her departure with CNN. Both women have a similar physical appearance A majority of the news related talk shows on both of these networks are hosted by males.
CNN is thought to have a more liberal agenda and is argued to slant stories towards US interest when reporting on world conflict and wars. As I watched Zahn’s show I did notice that those panelists that had more of a liberal view on the topic were given more time to discuss and were asked more questions. The less liberal panelists were given less time or asked less controversial questions. Zahn held two different panel discussions during her hour show. Zahn covered a variety of topics that were also top stories on other news sources on the day it aired. Zahn used a mix of interviews and video clips to report the story.
Fox News is thought to have a more conservative political position and is thought to have a more Republican following. As I watched it was difficult to get a sense of the shows political position as no specific political topics were covered. Although Van Susteren was the host of the show, she also did most of the questioning and directing of the stories. Van Susteren has a legal background working in the past as an attorney and legal analyst. It was obvious by the way Van Susteren questioned the reporters as an attorney would. It was interesting to see the stories covered on Van Susteren’s show. The advertisement of the show stated the show would cover breaking news. Van Susteren heavily covered stories on crimes in the news rather than an overview of topics.


My first observation with both of these shows was the overall presentation. Zahn’s show had more music and hype than Van Susteren’s. Van Susteren’s show began without any music or fancy introduction. Zahn was pictured in a variety of settings throughout the show. During her interview with Glen Beck, both were sitting in stools across from each other. During her panel discussions Zahn was sitting at a professional desk with TV screens to see those panelists that were not present with her. Van Susteren dressed more masculine, was always pictured at a professional desk and a computer monitor was near her reach. CNN played more on Zahn’s sex appeal than Fox News did with Van Susteren. Van Susteren was dressed very business like whereas Zahn was dressed more youthfully and fresh.
I was hoping to have more content comparison in relation to the stories both of these shows reported. Van Susteren’s show turned out to be a lot different that I had expected. One story both shows reported on was the upcoming release of OJ’s book. This is particularly interesting as Fox Broadcasting is the one who conducted the controversial two part interview with OJ. Zahn’s coverage of the story was more lengthy that Van Susteren’s. Zahn definitely made reference to the Fox Broadcasting involvement and allowed the Goldman’s attorney who was interviewed to further bring attention to this connection.
Zahn included a mix of panel and individual interviews to provide reports. This was helpful but as I mentioned earlier the panelists most always represented a more liberal view. On both stories that panel discussions were held there were always two of three panelists that were more liberal. The more conservative of the three panelists was given little of the air time compared to the other panelists. Zahn covered every topic in some detail. At times I found that some of the discussions were cut short but for the sake of time this was of course limited. I felt Zahn did little to add to the discussion or ask very intriguing or taboo questions. She was more of the time keeper of the show.
On the other hand Van Susteren was definitely in control of her entire show. She covered a few stories in great detail. Even when she had reporters giving her the facts she pressed them for questions just as an attorney would. She was more aggressive in her inquiry into the stories reported than Zahn. Van Susteren did have a few interviews with outsiders during her show but they did little to add to the story as they did in Zahn’s show. A lot of the content of the show was discussions between Van Susteren and a Fox News reporter. The show was advertised to cover “breaking news “ but I was not impressed with the coverage. The primary focus was on highly publicized crime. I was annoyed by the two “New Breaks? held during the broadcast. These breaks lasted about one to two minutes and covered four to five news topics. I found them out of place in the show and also found myself wanting additional information on the topics covered. The other portions of the show were covered in great detail and it didn’t make sense to have these news flashes.

November 16, 2006

Local AM vs. National TV

In choosing a pair of media sources to analyze and compare, I wanted to see how national versus local news or political discussion differed, but I also wanted to see the differences and/or similarities of different mediums. In doing this, I decided that I needed to maintain the same political background for each media source, local AM radio, and National television news channel, and decided to see how liberal/Democratic media sources differ, because I am used to seeing Fox News Channel from time to time and rarely have listened to conservative AM radio shows. So I wanted to see something different, and compare national tv from local radio from the same political bias.

Chronicle: Starting off, I listened to local AM Radio 950, Air America Minnesota for nearly an hour. What I heard a lot of was on the topic of ‘faith in the election process’. Also, nearly every other sentence on the show “Minnesota Matters? was a derogatory comment about a republican politician, or the entire party. During an advertisement, they used comments like “celebrate the end of right-wing trash talkers? for veterans to come to a dinner. Then, covering the news topics briefly, referred to some funding decision from the president of St. Thomas University and a few other incidents in the community, such as mention a case of hostages held in their own home in Chanhassen. A caller then called in to get back to the show and said something about how Keith Ellison went on a show and was either mocked or humiliated somehow I’m guessing, which they never said, and that he and all democrats need to “stop putting up with crap.? They then talked about how Bill O’reilly never listens to anyone he lets on his show and how Fox News is falling apart and said that Fox reported that “terrorists are happy that democrats are now in power.? They then went on to say that democrats need to immediately begin the campaign for senate to replace Norm Coleman because he is ‘going to have so much money’ and mentioned that Tim Pawlenty only won the election because wealthy individuals (Denny Hecker) and insurance/loan companies who can benefit from him being in office gave him large amounts of money. Immediately after the show, an ad for the Ed Schulz show on 950 said “Anyone dealing with President Bush, or having anything to do with the wrongdoing thats gone on...your @$$ is out.?

The second media source I looked at was CNN, known to be a rather liberal news source. I watched specifically a show hosted by Wolf Blitzer called The Situation Room. The first part of the show had on a member of the House of Reps. from some state I didn’t catch but being interviewed he said “democrats have been given an opportunity to make some changes but they have also been given the responsibility to the people of this country.? Then on Iraq, briefed on a supply convoy “ambushed? and ‘troops desperately search for 14 missing Americans and talked about 2200 more marines are being sent to help as investigators try to sort out exactly what happened. Then, democrat Harold Ford Jr. who lost in senate race in TN talked about how he hopes that Bush will listen to the Iraq examining committee and deal back and forth with democrats to determine a good solution for the war and create some stability. John Edwards talked about maybe running for President (wife had recovered from cancer and said “republicans can’t accuse democrats of having no spokesperson anymore? because of the amount of seats they now have. Finally, the show ended with two powerful democratic congresswomen from CA, and they have a strained relationship in a fight for some position I guess, and Pelosi said that seniority is not a prereq. for the positon, and said that Harman’s not as against Iraq and herself.

Context: The local AM radio’s intended audience is, seemingly clearly, Minnesotan’s living near the Minneapolis Area who are anti-Republican, and already knowledgeable and interested in politics, for they never explain what the issue is, only talk about it in a somewhat belligerent manner. The author Mark Heaney hosts the show and I was unable to find out his background in politics and/or radio. The show itself is to discuss liberal politics and its agenda specific to Minnesota and get Minnesotan’s involved with call’ins, etc. The socio-historic context for this show/station is that it is now the most listened to liberal station in Minnesota, after starting up to take on AM which was primarily dominated by corporate-owned republican talk shows. Congressman Bill Luther and attorney Janet Robert started the station recently in 2003.

CNN is a major national news source, intended audience being general public, American citizens, and working professionals, so clearly the discussions are more likely to be censored and strict. The author, Wolf Blitzer, is quite famous for his show “the Situation Room? and his content is owned by CNN, which is originally started by Ted Turner. The general reporting of news on CNN is unbiased, and aimed purely to inform, but the shows are rather democratic and showing great interest in the politicians representing their views.

Analysis & Discussion: What I found in doing my comparison was, first off, that the AM radio show really surprised at how they talked about Republicans for 45 minutes straight of bashing. Even more interesting, people would call in and join in, as if the best way for a local AM radio show to gain ratings was to get the community involved and bash the opposite political party to do so. I have never really heard people say some of the things they said on radio before and realize that CNN could never get away with that and so run a more professional show with a host and guests that have some decency. There was almost no specific derogatory comment toward Republicans from any guest on CNN. The way that they differ was in their intended audience and purpose for that audience. One thing I found to be similar, is that with a show, they each just went from topic to topic very quickly, and if they went on to something I didn’t know enough about already, I was completely lost because they each only talked about an issue without informing the listener to what the case/issue is.
I think that this was a very interesting comparison for me because I have never really payed attention to the fact that maybe the media I get my news from affects tremendously what I think or see. I also liked seeing the difference in guests they had on their shows, and also see how democrats may think or talk about political news. I also learned something about civic participation in relation to the media, and that is a result of me only knowing what I knew about the topics of discussion on the shows because of what I see and glance through on the internet from time to time. As the world gets busier (my schedule), we spend more time taking care of things on the internet and only have time to catch up by reading it on the internet. When I have free time to relax, I don’t want to turn on AM radio in my car, I want to listen to music, and the same goes for watching television. I strongly believe that despite increased television shows and channels reporting political news, and on the radio, the internet is the most important to most citizens on a daily basis because its the only way to “keep up?.

CNN News vs. MSNBC Live

I decided to watch to 30 minute segments from CNN Newsroom and MSNBC Live and their coverage of varying national to international topics. This was a relatively small time frame to get any real depth in material but it was easy to understand many of the varying issues that would be relevant to the average viewer. I wanted to get viewpoints from both sides of the political landscape either liberal or conservative. It is widely known that CNN is more conservative and MSNBC is mostly liberal.

I. Chronology
CNN Newsroom - 30 minutes
- U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and Senator John McCain's call for more troops in Iraq.
- John McCain takes first exploratory step to the presidential candidacy in '08 (Republican)
- Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson taking first exploratory step to presidential candidacy
- Democrats meeting to decide leadership roles in the House and Senate
- Hurtha and Moyer fighting for majority leadership role
- Severe weather situation in Montgomery, Alabama. Storm (tornadoes) ravaging through the Southeast region.
- Coming Up:
- Democrats plan for Iraq
- Continuing weather coverage
- Battleship Intrepid stuck in mud.

Commercial Break
- Volvo SUV
- National
- "Combat Hospital" Promo
- Chase Home Equity Lender
- Promo for "Lou Dobbs Tonight"

- Severe weather in Southeast region, specifically North Carolina now.
- Intractable Intrepid, U.S.S. Intrepid stuck in mud for 10 days in New York City
- Just In: Sheriff in Riegelwood, North Carolina reports five confirmed deaths in tornado storm.
- Coming up:
- Baghdad store's being looted
- Wal-Mart in trouble

Commercial Break
- Promo for "Paula Zahn Now"
- UBS Financial Firm
- Westin Hotels & Resorts
- Chrysler Car
- Kyocera printer
- Citgo gas station
- Discover Business Card
- Promo for "Warrior One: Hummers"
- Head-On prescription

- More storms ripping through Riegelwood, North Carolina.
- Wal-Mart watch, promoting higher wages with the support of Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards.
- New York Stock Exchange opening bell and opening numbers
- Storm coverage back in North Carolina

MSNBC Live - 30 minutes
- Pelosi anointed Speaker of the House
- High-speed chase of 16 year-old driver
- weatherplus.com coverage of severe weather in Southeast region, Alabama and North Carolina specifically
- NYSE & NASDAQ opening
- Vote on #2 in House Majority leader between Murtha (D-PA) and Hoyer (D-MD)
- Not "Brokeback Mountain" relationship between Sen. Reid and former colleague
- Coming Up: Senator McCain exploring the option of running for presidency in '08

Commercial Break
Smart Balance Omega Foods
Cadillac Escalade
Iams dog food
The Jewelry Exchange

- John McCain exploring 2008 bid for Repbulican candidate
- GOP: Rebuilding years
- Trent Lott back as #2 in Senate
- Coming up: Pelosi & Hilary Clinton combination

Commercial Break
- Kraft Crumbles
- Ditech.com
- Geico
- Liberty Medical
- Promo for "Countdown w/ Keith Obelerman"
- Halls
- One-A-Day Women's

- Breaking News, six people confirmed dead from tornado in Riegelwood, North Carolina
- Women In Command, Nancy Pelosi as Speak of the House and Hilary Clinton as potential president candidate in '08
- Developing Story: Leadership

Commercial Break
- Promo for tonight's shows on NBC
- Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls
- "The Fountain" movie trailer
- Buick Lucerne + On-Star
- E*Trade
- Promo for Scarborough Country and Doc. Block later tonight.

- Breaking news of sever storms in Southeast region and tornado watch/warnings

II. Context
By nature (well I guess not so much nature as environmental surroundings) that I am a Republican by heart and I would prefer to watch CNN over MSNBC. Both stations were what I expected in trying to identify each station as either conservative (CNN) and liberal (MSNBC). However, most of the stories on CNN would not reflect a very distinct conservative approach because of the limited amount of coverage on each topic because of the tremendous coverage the Southeast region demanded and with good reason.

In my viewing I found that both stations primary targets were adults in more of a business aspect or citizens with a primary interest in ongoing politics. CNN spent a lot of time jumping from topic to topic covering a wide variety of topics. In an approximate seven minute span they jumped from politics to weather to digging out a trapped ship. It appeared that CNN was attempting to maintain an unbiased political aspect and the topics of choice definitely helped not promote any one side's opinion.

In my viewing of MSNBC I would have to admit that I was less intrigued with this station because I know that they generally lean towards a liberal approach. Their topics worked well into one another and they also spent a considerable amount of time on the ongoing sever weather conditions around North Carolina, Alabama and other Southeastern states. However, they had a segment on the Republican parties' loss of both the Senate and the House and brought in both a Republican and Democratic analyst to weigh in on the current issues of today's to party system. It appeared that the Democratic analyst received a lot more airtime than the Republican and also the Democratic analyst was much more abrasive and confrontational. But beyond the few minutes attributed to the few topics on politics it was difficult to get a sense of political agenda through MSNBC but not as "coded" as CNN appeared to be.

One thing that genuinely intrigued me was the use of commercials by each station. Both stations ran many commercials as often as possible but if I had to say whether either side ran more commercials I would have to say that MSNBC ran more commercials more often. Both stations offered a wide variety of commercials reaching out to a small demographic based on each station. CNN is viewed as more conservative, Republican, they ran more commercials promoting finances and upscale merchandise which would appeal to a more middle-upper class demographic. MSNBC ran a variety of commercials that could not be linked to any specific demographic because they covered a large scale from upscale automobiles, Cadillac Escalade, to a more down-to-earth on-the-go viewer, Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls. I was very interested in the amount of commercials that were ran by both stations as well. You would watch either one and they would show their broadcast for five or seven minutes at a time and then they would have three to four minutes of rapidly shown commercials. It is obvious to see that both stations are operated through commercial success and they tone down the quantity and quality of substance in their live news shows because of the almighty dollar. All in all the importance of money will ultimately weigh supreme in businesses and the average viewer will suffer because the substance is dulled down to fit into a time restrained segment.

III. Connection and Analysis
I believe there are many connections I could make between my connections and the Putnam and Pinker literature that we have read. I stated earlier that I am a Republican by nature meaning I grew up in with Republican viewpoints surrounding me through my parents and extended family. Pinker eludes to this phenomena in his chapter politics where he states that people are predisposed to their own political offiliations through genetics and the immediate family. I think this is very true because I as a Republican naturely gravitate towards CNN or maybe Fox News when looking for a quick fix of information when something has intrigued me. I find that it is in people's best nature to gravitate towards to a news station that best suits their personal understanding. After viewing both programs I would have to choose CNN because of their wide coverage of topics and their lengthier intervals between program segments and commercials.

Putman would be able to draw unlimited relations between class, society and civic participation to viewers choice in television stations and also the draw to news information outlets based on age. Putnam would argue and I would agree that older people are most likely to get their information from an outlet such as CNN or MSNBC because they grew up in an era where television blossomed and people are more inclined to stick to what is normal. Where in and around my generation we grew up with the internet boom and find it easier and more reliable at times to find out information through this outlet. I believe that personal preference has a large contributin factor to what people watch and are willing to try out.

I would say that both sides were very informative and offered the viewer as much as they could in the limited time that they are given. It is mainly a preference of what your own political beliefs are and whether or not you watch a certain program or not. You will be able to find a news station at any time of the day preaching on many different topics but with their own political influence. The downfall of these stations is there subjected stance is based on the owner/executives that run the station. What they want to have published (broadcast) is based entirely on their beliefs and they can have ultimate say on any topic and how a story is represented. It is the job of the viewer to understand this and make a conscience decision on what they want to view and how they view it.

CNN v DemocracyNow

I chose CNN on television and a self-proclaimed independent internet news source called Democracy Now . My question is this: Which medium of news influences the other? Most network and corporate news giants have accompanying news websites, that mimic their television versions in content and quality. I would like to know if an independent web-based news source would also tend to mimic television news, or if it maybe the other way around.

i. Chronicle
I watched CNN for about an hour, and everything listed is part of a segment called “The Situation Room? these were the stories featured:

- A segment called “The Situation Room?, a live showing from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill on politicians discussing the Iraq situation. The issues presented were: Can Iraq forge one country? and how many troops should be there, if at all?
- “Comeback Kid? – a controversial Republican representative gets elected to a house leader position, despite a comment 4 years that was regarded as racially insensitive. A former senate candidate, Lt. Gov Steele and also a black Republican, discussed this with a CNN news anchor.
- The Cafferty File “Narrowing the Gap?? in this segment, an anchor posts emails of viewers responses to the problem of the increasing gap between the haves and the have nots.
- “Sexiest Politician? Alive– a version of People’s Sexiest Man of the Year, with candidates such as Senator Obama, Gov. Swarzenegger, former candidate for Senate Harold Ford, and former VP candidate John Edwards
- Political Theater – Continuing Live Coverage from Capitol hill on the discussion of the Iraq situation between (mostly) 2008 presidential candidates and General John Abizad, heading the war.
- War Crimes Court – a possible suit against Donald Rumsfield is underway for war crimes, 3 different commentators with different view points and a CNN anchor discussed the implications
- “Al – Jazeera? – News or Propaganda? – Al-Jazeera launched the English version of the Arabic satellite network. A commentator suggests that it is “Bin Laden’s YouTube? and encourages anyone whose cable provider airs Al-Jazeera to immediately cancel their service.
- “Refusing to Serve? the first officer in the Iraq war to refuse to serve and faces imprisonment
- O.J. Simpson’s new book, If I did it

I read through DemocracyNow’s news stories, and these were the stories featured:

- Out of Iraq or More Troops? A Debate on Withdrawal with Fmr. Senator George McGovern, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and AEI's Joshua Muravchik
- Battle Brewing in Congress as Bush Admin Seeks Closure of Iraq Reconstruction Corruption Monitor
- “US Accused of Killing 30 Iraqis in Ramadi?
- “ Iraq: 40 Hostages Released from Baghdad Education Min.?
- “US Soldier to Plead Guilty in Iraq Rape, Murder Case?
- “Israeli Killed by Palestinian Rocket?
- “Mexican-American, 7, Campaigns Against Mother’s Deportation?
- “Mexican Protesters Target Wal-Mart? – claims that Walmart abuses the rights of laborers
- “South African Parliament OKs Gay Marriage? – the first in Africa to do so
- Al-Jazeera International Launches Today – Comcast refuses to air Al-Jazeera, British bureau chief defends it
- Reid Elected Democratic Senate Leader
- “ Abramoff Begins Prison Sentence?
- Tsunami Warning Issued for Japan

ii. Context:
"The Situation Room," anchored by Wolf Blitzer, is a show modeled after the White House Situation room, and is an assemblage of CNN correspondents, and eminent analysts & guests for mostly live coverage of the day's events. CNN is part of the giant media conglomeration AOL/Time Warner. As such, and from the stories presented, the intended audience is the broadest possible. It because of this they are careful not to present graphic depiction of the war, or details that would be offensive to their audience.
DemocracyNow! is a national, daily news program airing on over 450 stations in North America, including satellite television, public TV and college stations. This company is the brainchild of award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. The content shows that it is a very liberal independent station. Along with providing some head lining news that would be a feature of most mainstream news sources. It catered to a very liberal idealogy, airing or posting news that fit the liberal political agenda, like gay marriage.
Both shows broadcast live and via internet ipod, videostream,transcripts, albeit CNN broadcasts to a larger number of viewers.

iii. Analysis &Discussion
I observed these different news media on the same day, but they shared only a few stories. DemocracyNow! may not single handedly represent all independent media news source, but it boasts that it is “pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the US.? So its content must strongly represent the content of other independent sources. Some of the headliners for the day, like “South African Parliament OKs gay marriage? does not strike as of immediate interest and relevance to the American public. At the same time it is also refreshing to hear opposing viewpoints such as the ones concerning Al-Jazeera International, which quotes a British bureau chief speaking in defense of Al-Jazeera as politically objective, even in light of the fact that it is the tv station that aired many of Bin Ladens tapes. I’m very sure that CNN would never air such a viewpoint. What is also refreshing about DemocracyNow is that there are no ads on the website, and when it is broadcast (depending in what context). During the showing of the “Situation Room? every 15 or 20 minutes I was barraged by at least 10 minutes of commercials, and most of them, I noted catered to an upper middle class (like financial consulting firms, etc). That aside, CNN does have its pluses – as a corporate media it can offer live broadcasts that independent news media can not, and access more readily news that independents can not. Like the story of the officer who is refusing to serve should have really been a headliner in DemocracyNow but wasn’t I’m sure due to structural shortcomings (in comparison to the technologically advanced CNN). Also in a way mainstream media can be more objective, because it does it have any other agenda but to communicate news unlike independent media sources which are always claiming to broadcast from more diverse sources of news and information, and maybe broadcasting exclusively from the same diverse news and information sources. In that way, letting the audience know their intentions, they are transparent in the way they present their news. While CNN claims that the situation room “is making the entire process of newsgathering more transparent and placing the latest news and information at the viewers? by presenting it live.
The question than appears to be, what is more important to presenting a transparent diverse news? That it is aired live or that it draws from sources not normally used by mainstream media such as CNN? I think it is both, but because independent media, by nature, does not accept corporate or government sponsorship it is very unlikely that it could attain the levels of coverage or attract the same broad type and number of viewers as CNN would. My original question is which medium influences the other, and the answer, based on this analysis, is that corporate media is influenced by independent web-based media because without independent media I’m sure CNN would not have been compelled to offer something like the situation room, which purports to be “transparent?.

A Few Notes

  1. I've uploaded the lecture notes for both today's class and tuesday's class. As usual, follow the Students Only link.
  2. I wanted to mention in class today that since we've got a full week's worth of materials for next week, but only one day in the classroom, that you should start with the #2 - 4 on the assignment sheet: the Pinker-Spelke debate, Summer's statement and the ASA response to Summers. If you're unaware of the controversy over Summers' remarks, you may want to read this short newspaper article as well. A quick summary:
    The president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, sparked an uproar at an academic conference Friday when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Summers also questioned how much of a role discrimination plays in the dearth of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities.

    Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, walked out on Summers' talk, saying later that if she hadn't left, ''I would've either blacked out or thrown up." Five other participants reached by the Globe, including Denice D. Denton, chancellor designate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, also said they were deeply offended, while four other attendees said they were not.

    After that, read chapter 18 first and then 19. If you can't get to 19 by Tuesday, that's fine. We'll pick up with that after break.

  3. Just a reminder that once we get back from break, you'll have less than two weeks until our in-class rough draft peer review. Your rough draft makes up 50% of your final paper grade, so do not procrastinate! If you want feedback on the ideas you have for the final paper, ask for it! Soon! If you can't make my office hours, I'm available by appointment - just email me and ask. On Tuesday, I will give out more details on the final paper.

  4. If you're interested in the research on moral intuitions I mentioned in class today, I was talking about Marc Hauser's work. His new book, Moral Minds, is a great read. You can also watch a video of a lecture he gave on the topic here: for slow or fast connections.* You can even take his Moral Sense Test online.

* I got these links from edge.org but since you have to scroll way down the page to find them, I put the direct links here. So yes, in case you were wondering, I am indeed willing to violate internet etiquette just to make your lives easier.


Critics of news outlets often note the “slant? of news outlets. They note that the news on these outlets is often overwhelmingly liberal or conservative. I understand how overt that can be in obviously political articles (the elections, national issues) but I thought it would be interesting to research how different non-political articles would be. Does the slant still show in stories where there is no obvious political grounds? If a child loses his puppy is a conservative news source going to report on different aspects of it than a liberal news outlet? If they do report on different aspects, why? Are there intrinsic reasons that someone with a different political stance would report a politically free situation in a different way?


I decided to look at websites. I thought that I could more easily pick apart wording, ordering of aspects of the story and historical context more easily. Also, I thought that if people knew that their articles were going to be permanent (anything on the internet could be considered permanent because even if it’s pulled someone else could have pulled the content before it was taken off) that they might choose their words a little more judiciously and the political affiliation would be more nuanced.

I chose CNN.com and foxnews.com. I am liberal and I keep hearing that CNN has a liberal slant. I am not conservative but have heard that Fox News has a conservative slant. I chose these two websites because they are mainstream and two of the most read news websites on the Internet.

I chose two stories that seemed random and without any possible political implications. The first story I chose was on the tsunamis that hit Japan because it is about the environment and there are subtle differences in political attitudes to the environment.

The second article I chose was about a boy that is missing in Florida. A very political state but I thought it was a harmless enough story.


The two websites that I looked at are, not surprisingly, owned by two different companies. Apparently the two men that were at the heads of these businesses are somewhat at odds. Ted Turner was CEO of Time Warner until earlier this year. Rupert Murdoch is CEO of News Corporation. Ted Turner is a fairly liberal man from Atlanta, Georgia. Rupert Murdoch is an Australian who could be construed as, though I could not confirm, a conservative man. There are several articles on websites other than CNN and FOX NEWS that quoted Ted Turner’s general unhappiness with Rupert Murdoch. Most of the comments have been geared towards Murdoch’s support of the war in Iraq.

CNN is owned by Time Warner. Time Warner also owns Court TV; this information might be useful to note for the articles that I found. Thanks to Ted Turner they own a lot of teams in Atlanta. Time. It was reported that Time Warner was to purchase part of Russia’s NTV in 2001.

Fox News is owned by News Corporation. They own all of Fox movie and TV companies and several sports teams (and Madison Square Garden) in New York. It is noted on “The Big Ten? website that they own the largest commercial Bible imprint company. Rupert Murdoch’s family owns 30% of News Corporation. It is interesting to note that in May of last year there was a report by mosnews.com (Russian news website) that Rupert Murdoch was planning to invest $130 million into the advertising industry in Russia. Another report I found said that in 2004 Fox News was pulled from a Japanese satellite dish company.

Discussion/ Analysis:

These two companies reported stories very differently. In the story about the missing child there were definite and transparent biases, though probably not political. In the story about the tsunami the differences were greater but not political.

Keeping in mind that I chose these stories perfectly randomly there were interesting results. For both stories both companies used information from the Associated Press.

The tsunami story had the most differences in the information presented. Fox News spent almost as much time reporting that just north of the island where the tsunami hit was an area where Russia and Japan were in conflict over four islands. That could have something to do with being pulled from a Japanese satellite or that they invested money into Russia’s economy. It’s hard to say because the information didn’t show a bias one way or the other. CNN spent more time on the general story but touched briefly on the US impact and the 2004 tsunami. Fox News also presented this information.

The story about the missing boy in Florida was a little more interesting. Apparently, the mother of the boy was on a CNN show before she committed suicide. On the CNN website they had a blurb saying that this particular CNN personality was committing some of her shows to investigate this story. On the Fox News website they heavily implied that this host could have driven this mother to commit suicide. They mentioned this personality in the opening sentence of the article. They said the personality “ignited controversy.? They make it seem like the woman was drawn to kill herself. In the CNN article they paint a different picture of the woman. They imply that the woman was using her son as a pawn against her husband. The article says that the woman “threatened to harm her son if her husband Josh Duckett did not do what she wanted.?

Fox News spent as much time talking about the new witness, with little detail, as they did the pending investigation. CNN spent more time talking about the mother than they did anything else. They had specific information about the suicide note, which Fox News did not. I looked up the story on Associated Press to find out how much information they had about the case and they didn’t have any information about the suicide note. An interesting aside; the article on Associated Press drew a straighter line between the CNN personality and the suicide of the mother.

These two news sources did have different spins on these two stories. I can’t find any reason why one reported about Russia and the other didn’t in the tsunami story. Given the history between Turner and Murdoch I don’t find it surprising that the story about the missing boy in Florida had the spin that it did. I find it interesting because these were random stories. I have no idea how often the opportunity rises that allows the companies to make such pokes at each other but it is interesting how much secondary drama can surround a simple story.

Political Ideology:War in Iraq



I chose to look at the political ideology of two blogs on the same issue. I chose this because I have never read or studied any blogs before. I hear about blogs all the time through school and friends that post/read them frequently so I want to see what they have to offer. I am also very interested in the issue of the war in Iraq and this will be a good way to read up on some different opinions on this issue.



Blog Title:
Focus on Iraq (5 min)
121 comments/replies (45 min)


Blog Title:
Iraq: A New Mission (5-10 min)
36 comments/replies (30-40 min)


Background directly from the website:
This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. One that recognizes that Democrats run from left to right on the ideological spectrum, and yet we're all still in this fight together. We happily embrace centrists like NDN's Simon Rosenberg and Howard Dean, conservatives like Martin Frost and Brad Carson, and liberals like John Kerry and Barack Obama. Liberal? Yeah, we're around here and we're proud. But it's not a liberal blog. It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory. And since we haven't gotten any of that from the current crew, we're one more thing: a reform blog. The battle for the party is not an ideological battle. It's one between establishment and anti-establishment factions. And as I've said a million times, the status quo is untenable.

Article Specific:
The intended audience is anyone that is interested in liberal opinions/ideas on the war in Iraq. The specific blog author, Meteor Blades, is an independent/anonymous author. He or she is just a person with a liberal opinion on the war hoping to get a response or other ideas as to what needs to be done to resolve the issue.

RedState is a conservative (Republican) blog. It was founded to give a place for bloggers with conservative ideas to come and post their opinions on various issues. It is run and operated by 4 men with highly political backgrounds. Their backgrounds can be found on the website under the about link.

Article Specific:
The intended audience is anyone that is interested in a conservative opinion/views on the war in Iraq. The specific blog author, Leon Wolf, is an independent author. I assume he is someone that has an opinion or idea that he wants to share with others in order to get feedback or other ideas on resolving the issue.


I found the political ideology comparison very interesting. First, I found that even though the two blogs have different political interests the authors agreed for the most part on the war in Iraq. They agreed that democracy in Iraq is not working and that new plan of some sort is needed. Another similarity is that both blogs had replies to the original article that did not always agree. People are not afraid to criticize others within the same political party. The only difference I really noticed was the political ideology behind the start of the war. Meaning that the liberals felt that they would not have gone to war whereas the conservatives stand behind the justification originally laid out by the bush administration.
As I have stated before I have never looked at or compared blogs before, but I believe there are definitely positives and negatives to them. I feel that they are very personal and with the anonymity people can express their opinion openly. I think this is why they really exist. I also found that politicians or possible candidates actually look at blogs to get some of their information on what are hot issues in the country. A big negative is the reliability and validity of some of the posts that are not cited. Being Sociology major it is hard take an opinion or argument with no justification. I would also say that another big negative to blogs is that it requires Internet and does not reach everyone. For example I would have never known about these two articles or blog sites if I were not told about them. Lastly, blogs have the advantage of getting the word of the people directly from the people themselves whereas other sources of media such as the news on TV (CNN) have analysists or news anchors representing the public.
The following are some questions that came to mind when doing this analysis. What can be done to improve the reliability and validity of blogs? Why are these blog sites not advertised more towards the general public? Are there any statistics on whether blog ideas are actually implemented or taken into consideration for possible policy changes? If blogs are to become apart of mainstream media how will the current mainstream media like TV news adapt to this change?

“Covering Islam?: Al Jazeera vs. CNN

For this assignment, I have watched an interesting documentary called “Peace, Propaganda, & the Promised Land: US Media & the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict.? This documentary was made by the Media Education Foundation, which is an independent organization that aims to provide documentary films and other sources in order to foster critical thinking and analysis about the interconnectedness of mass media and the corporate world, as well as political interests of different factions which have substantial influence on the media. This documentary was instrumental in making me decide which direction I wanted to go with this assignment. The two sources that I decided to focus on are the online Al Jazeera and CNN networks. My aim is to look at the ways in which these two media sources differ in covering the Middle East, hence, I only focused on their “Middle East? headline sections. How are the two sources different in covering the Middles East and the current conflicts in the region? In what ways does CNN, and similar American news media, shape American assumptions about the Islamic world? In what ways do both networks hegemonies problematic representations which further dichtomize the West and the East? These are some of the questions I would like to address in this project.

The below are the news topics in the “Middle East? section of each source

Al Jaziira headlines under “Middle East?
Saddam Sentenced to Death
Iran Ready to Provide Lebanon with missile Systems
US Aircraft Carrier Cruising in the Gulf
Israel’s Massacre Slammed Worldwide
Israel steps up anti-Iran rhetoric
Qatar’s ‘modern mentality? includes outreach to Israel
Israel jets ‘threatened’ French troops in Lebanon
Hezbollah minister quits cabinet
U.S. raid kills Iraqi civilians
The battle against Iran begins
Iran’s nuke program “almost complete?- Ahmadinejad
U.S. soldier pleads guilty in Iraq rape-slay case
Israel Kills 9 Palestinians in “major Gaza operation?
Egypt sends 5,000 troops to Gaza border
Palestinians block Gaza roads, protesting unpaid wages
“Israel’s massacre in Gaza slammed worldwide? aljazeera.com

CNN headlines under “Middle East?
U.S. officer: Iraqi army lacks discipline
Five U.S. troops die in Iraq
U.S. officer describes disarray in Iraqi army
Dozens more killed in Iraq
Howard: Iraq strategy won't change
Palestinians: Israelis kill 19 in Gaza
Baghdad's morgues so full, bodies being turned away
Israel to expand Gaza assault after Palestinian attack
Iraqi Sunnis kill 10 Shiites, kidnap 50 others


According to the BBC, Al Jazeera is “on of the world's most influential media brand and the fifth most influential in any field, after Apple, Google, Ikea and Starbucks? (BBC). Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, in which the Emir of Qatar funded its establishment ten years ago as a media source which will report fair and balance news from all over the world. Many of Al Jazeera’s early reporters where from BBC. In its ten years, the channel and the magazine has been very controversial, both from a Arab/Middle Eastern and western viewpoints. The network is known for irritating Arab regimes and elites when it comes to reporting their evil sides. In contrast, Western leaders accuse Al Jazeera for being “disgraceful? for showing the close-ups of the bodies of dead western military personnel. It is also criticized for being Bin Laden’s “mouthpiece?, since it is the first network to receive Osoma Bin Laden’s videos. Al Jazeera claims that any news channel would get the tapes and be the first to show them if they had the opportunity, however, since it has a studio in the Afghan capital, Kabul, Al Jazeera has advantage over other news media. Al Jazeera is launching its English news channel which will be the first English news coming from the Middle East with audiences around the world (BBC).

The Cable News Network, or CNN as its widely knows as, is one of the major cable television news channels. Ted Turner established the network in 1980 as part of the Turner Broadcasting System, which is owned and operated by the Time Warner corporation. Since 1980, CNN has become one of the most respected and most watched news networks in the U.S. as well as outside the nation. It has headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, Washington D.C., and New York City. CNN is said to be available to “88.2 million American households and more than 890,000 U.S. hotel rooms. CNN international is the global part of the network, which reaches 1.5 billion viewers in over 200 countries (BBC).

Analysis and Discussion

I chose to pair Al Jazeera with CNN in this assignment because a) both networks are accused of being biased in their coverage of the Middle East/Western affairs, and b) both networks have substantial influence on their viewers’ assumptions about the Middle East, as well as the rest of the world. When I went to both Al Jazeera’s and CNN’s websites, I looked at the headlines under the “Middle East? section and read view of the articles there. The two networks’ coverage in this region heavily depends on what is important to them, in other words, the geopolitical interests of the regions they are operating from have impact on what and how they cover their stories. Being in the Middles East, Al Jazeera’s main focus is on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as well as the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah. One of the article I read is titled “Israel’s massacre in Gaza.? The article discusses the Israeli shelling of a neighborhood in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Eighteen Palestinians were killed, mostly women and children. Within the article, there are thought provoking and discomforting images. One is a mother and her two children, probably under the ages of 4 or 5, killed by the shells, and covered by their dried blood. Another is a muddy ground filled with the blood of the victims. The third image includes two men who are lifting a wounded or dead child, while protesters are behind them in a chaotic street. Family members and mourners gather around another victim’s body. All these images are very graphic and are instrumental in showing viewers the reality of the conflict brewing in the Middle East, especially in the Israel/Palestine region. Whether it is the Iraq war or the Israel/Palestinian conflict, almost all the articles contain graphic images of brutal death and destruction. The reader/viewer’s emotions will be evoked, no matter what. The language used to describe the conflicts is another factor that plays an important role in Al Jazeera’s coverage. The article above, for instance, uses the word “massacre? to describe the recent death of the eighteen Palestinians from Israeli shells. Another article’s title reads “Israel’s forces kill Palestinian women.? These words get to the point by evoking one’s thoughts. Powerful images combined with powerful words are some a strategy used in mass media, and Al Jazeera does just that.

Unlike Al Jazeera, CNN’s main focus is the Iraqi war and the so-called war on terror. Again, this has to do with the geopolitical interest of the country/region the media network operates. Washington’s current priority in the Middle East are the war on terror and the Iraqi war, so it is not surprising when most of the CNN coverage of the region are within these two American ‘concerns’. Many of the articles on CNN website are on American soldiers in Iraq, the escalation of violence in Iraq, when the U.S. plans to pull its troops out, and the rift between the Sunnis and the Shia of the country . Since a large portion of the American public views this network, it is obvious why it covers stories that the ordinary American might want to know about. A few nights ago, I watched “Anderson Cooper, 360*?. Cooper discussed the affects of wars, especially the current Iraqi war on the American soldiers. Whether they lose their limbs, battle post-traumatic disorder, or become homeless and drug users, soldiers in the current war and previous wars have experienced isolation from the rest of the very society they risked their lives to protect. Programs such as this one are very common on CNN, both on line and on TV. The war on terror, is another constant coverage theme, not only on CNN, but also on the many other news outlets in the country. Few week ago, I wrote a blog on the geopolitical influence on the American media. I talked about how the image of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmedinjenad, on Time Magazine is influenced by the relationship America has with him and his country. Before the Islamic revolution in Iran, the Shah’s portrait on the magazine showed a favorable representation of the pro-American leader, and when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, the representation shifted. Hence, political interests of the U.S> foreign policy in the region is crucial in this debate. From an economical standpoint, CNN is part of a corporation which also controls many other mass media sources. This corporation, like any other institution, has its own agendas on the profit they want to make from their news sources, their own political interests in the issues covered, and the influence they want to have over their viewers. As a result, the geopolitical interests of the nations in which media networks operate, as well as the economical interests of the owners are crucial in understanding the ways in which representation are constructed for the consumption of the American viewing/reading public.
Additional Sources

“Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land: US Media and the Israel/Palestine Conflict“. -Although this documentary by the Media Education Foundation is criticized for being one sided - on Palestine’s side - it provides an insight look into the factors which dictate how and why we see what we view/read on the media:
-Director of the documentary: “We rely on the media for information about events occurring in the world. News, especially, Television news exerts powerful influence on our perceptions; telling us which events are important, and shaping our understanding of the issues…Controlling the images and words used to explain the conflict [Israel/Palestine conflict] has become as important extension of the struggle [between the two groups].? The director goes on to say that coverage of this conflict is “influenced by complex set of institutional relationships? which she refers to as filters:
1) Among the most important of these filters are the business interests of business corporations that own the mass media, interest that extends beyond the United States and across the globe to the Middle East
2)The economic interest of corporations are shared by political elites, politician and policy makers who form a second filter These political elites have power to access and influence the mainstream media and are themselves part of a system dominated by corporate money and interests
3) Israeli/American PR and lobbying firms…Most important of these is APAC (American/Israeli Public Affair Committee) widely regarded as the most powerful foreign lobby in Washington?
-The director calls these “institutional filters,? which determine what American news anchors will show and discuss on TV about the Israel/Palestine conflict.
-Different journalists from the Middle East as well as the U.S. and Europe provide their input in the documentary.
-“In non-American coverage, BBC, for example, the suicide bombings are generally put
in the context of the occupation, and that they are response to conditions
which are very dehumanizing to Palestinians, against which they are defenseless,? says Professor Karen Pfeifer (Middle East Research & Information Project, USA).
says. Rabbi Michael Lerner (Founder & Editor of Tikkun Magazine, USA): “There is absolutely no understanding on the part of the American media, and hence
the American population that is educated by that media about what creates
the circumstance.?
Within the documentary we are shown a clip from MSNBC: “MSNBC investigates the ‘Mind of a Suicide Bomber‘, so hard for us to understand why they would be willing to sacrifice their lives in this way.?
This documentary is powerful in the way it shows what shapes the news we see everyday about the Middle East, especially the Israel/Palestine conflict. The documentary looks at political and economical interests of the corporation who own the media networks, as well as the geopolitical relationship and interests of both the Israeli government and Washington. Although I could not find a similar well-done documentary critiquing Middle Eastern media, such as Al Jazeera, and their coverage on the U.S./West and Israel, I think non-American medial also face criticism of being biased due to where they stand on the issues covered. Overall, this documentary is recommended to anyone who want to look outside the box and see how powerful the media is and its ways of constructing representations of the rest of the word.

Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World by Edward Said. Although written in 1979, Said’s critique of the western media in covering the Islamic world is relevant to the today’s debate on biasness in the western media. The ideas discussed in this book are continuation of Said’s milestone work, Orientalism. Said argues that western media, specifically the American mass media, constructs a representation of the Islamic world - its political, cultural, and religious aspects - which further dichotomizes Islam and the West. This Orientalist discourse is today seen in all the media networks. In both Orientalism and this book, Said warns against the limitation of such discourses which will produce dire consequences for cross-cultural understanding.

NY Times OP ED vs. Star Tribune OP ED

I chose to examine the online Op-Ed sections of the NY Times and the Star Tribune. By doing this, I hoped to gain greater perspective on the role of each paper and the types of readers each attracted. Looking at the subjects that the Op-Ed section covers in each paper reflects what the readers are interested in and how they view subjects covered within that particular paper. These sections illustrate not only what type of readers read each paper, but also what each paper covers and with what bias. Each paper also employs regular Op-Ed journalists, so by looking at the credentials and prestige of each journalist may also reflect upon each paper’s role in society.

home page, linked to opinion page.
Opinion page contained links: editorials, columnists, contributors, letters, NY/region opinion, readers’ opinions, the Public Editor, Editorials from abroad
Topics covered: editorials: voting system and political representation, breast cancer, prison arts, religion and politics. letters: local schools, religion and foreign policy, Iraq. Editorial series: “An Insecure Nation,? “Fixing Albany.? Columnists; most have entire web pages dedicated to them and their media, as well as links to their biographies, columnists have written for numerous papers, worked as correspondents, earned many awards, and often have several books published.

home page linked to opinion page.
Opinion page links: Commentary, Letters, Sack, Editorials, Blogs, Columnists, Talk
Topics covered: Editorials: Minneapolis public schools, MN health insurance, appliance energy efficiency. Letters: remembering street names, eulogy. Editorial series: “With Water in Mind.? Columnists: local; six, none with explicit credits, national; Steven Thomma, the chief political correspondent for the McClatchy Washington Bureua, worked for Pioneer Press, earned two rewards, including best regional reporting.

NY Times:
The Times has been around for over 150 years. It circulates throughout the entire country, and is considered one of the most prestigious news papers in the U.S. www.ntco.com is a site containing all the background information for the NY Times. It offers guidelines for ethical reporting and integrity, as well as its policy on news source confidentiality. The Times belongs to a company called the New York Times Company. Shares may be held by anybody. The Editorial section of the NY Times works separately from the news section, and report directly to the paper’s editors. Columnists for the Times meet with each other prior to writing their pieces to discuss current issues. The Times was the first paper ever to offer and ‘opinion’ page dedicated entirely to reader feedback.

Star Tribune:
The Star Tribune is currently owned by the McClatchky Foundation, also a corporate company allowing public shareholding. The Mcclatchky Foundation is based in Sacramento, C.A. but claims to follow a strict ethic of allowing local autonomy in reporting and columns. The Star Tribune Company also claims to follow ethical reporting standards. The site does not mention the role of the Op-Ed section within the entirety of the paper.

Analysis and Discussion:
Comparing the Op-Ed sections of the NY Times and the Star Tribune made differences in each paper’s intent and readership very obvious. Perhaps the most obvious was the role of the Editorial writers for each paper. The NY Times employs very experienced and prestigious writers for its editorials. They meet as a group once a week to discuss current events and how and what they will write about them. This compares to the Star Tribune, where the Columnists remain fairly independent from each other and write on a range of topics from current events to local or social affairs. Some of these columnists have background journaling experience, but others are simply well spoken individuals with opinions. The subjects covered by both the columnists and the readers in the opinion sections also illustrate a large difference in the content and intent of each paper. The NY Times covers many issues from local school policy to global implications of religious interactions. This range of topics not only comes from the columnists but also the readers. The extensive coverage of global issues and politics suggests that the readership and content of the NY Times has more of a focus on global interactions. The inclusion of International Editorials in the Op-Ed section further illustrates this point.
The Star Tribune, on the other hand, has a much more local focus to its reporting and readership. The Columnists are Minnesota locals, and many of the subjects covered relate to Minnesota events and policies.

Anderson Cooper and Bill O' Reilly

In selecting a pair of media journals to compare and contrast, I chose CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, and Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. I sought out two broadcasts that I believed would represent opposite ends of the political spectrum in their partiality; the assumption being that Anderson Cooper would lean more liberally, and O’Reilly would espouse conservative views. Each program was one hour long, and they were aired on the same night.

I. Chronology of Events
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
The following are a list of topics covered in order, as well as the commercials that were shown in between segments.

-Kidnappings in Iraq; paramilitary forces kidnapped 60 people at a college in Baghdad
• Interview with 2 retired Army generals, both of whom recommend maintaining troops in Iraq
• Interview with correspondent from Iraq

-Story on relative ease insurgents in Iraq have in buying Iraqi police uniforms, and their usage in kidnappings and attacks

Commercial Break:
Pacific Life
HOM Furniture

-Showdown: Iran
• UN inspectors find uranium traces
• President Ahmadinejad celebrates Iran’s achievement of a nuclear power
• Iran may become new superpower in the Middle East

Commercial Break:
Salvation Army
Jamaica travel
Radisson Hotels
Paterno Wine

-Islamic Extremist Agenda
• Author Glenn Beck discusses his new book The Extremist Message
• Discussion of Iran and it’s aims, the Islamic teaching of children to hate Jews

Commercial Break:
Exxon Mobil
John Hancock Financial Services
Movie Commercial

-Iraq Veterans having trouble finding employment
-Rudy Giuliani and his possible run for President in 2008
• Does not fit with Republican Party, too far left to gain votes of Christian Conservatives
• Interview with Republican strategist and woman representing evangelical group(Family Research Council)
• Disagreement between the two over how far right the Republican Party should lean

Commercial Break:
British Airways
Sopranos DVD

-LAPD’s excessive use of force
• Video of police brutality

Commercial Break:
Roni Deutch Law Offices
Toyota City
Oppenheimer Funds

-FEMA trailers and homes destroyed by elements due to neglect by FEMA at the taxpayer’s expense
• $4 Million dollars worth of damage

-Case of Marine charged with killing innocent Iraqi civilian pleads not guilty
-U.S. parishioners decry gay priests, but support both genders as priests
-Zune, the Microsoft Ipod challenger released today
-Photo of homecoming U.S. soldier from Iraq with son

I. Chronology of Events
Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor
-Is America a noble nation?
• Polls showing most Americans believe it is, Democrats do not

-Debate over illegal immigration
• “secular progressivists? support it and want to provide them with benefits at our expense
• Anger of people in Texas over immigration
• Interview with professor of theology, debate over whether the Vatican cares more about immigrants than the security of Americans
• Interview with Pat Buchanan on same subject

Commercial Break:
Public Storage
Avodart prostrate medicine

-Interview with 10 year old boy suspended for hugging his teacher and his mother
• O’Reilly spends 5 minutes lecturing the boy, and suggesting to his mother some means of punishment

Commercial Break:
Best Buy
Oral B
Oppenheimer Funds
LA Weight Loss

-Brittany Spears and issue of sex tape with former husband
• Is she being blackmailed
• Interview with Star magazine journalist on subject
• Question of whether Americans are at the same risk for being blackmailed

Commercial Break:
GlaxoSmithKline Avian Bird Flu commercial
Steve Irwin DVD

-Interview with author of book who believes terrorism threat somewhat over hyped
• Says terrorism in not as big of a threat as we believe
• O’Reilly berates the author and compares rise of terrorism to Hitler and Nazi Germany

Commercial Break:
Holiday Inn
Weekly Standard Newspaper

Airport Anarchy
• Interview with author of travel book and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
• Issue of the hassle of traveling through airports
• Why we have to take our shoes off, lost luggage, ban on liquids

Commercial Break:
Minnesota Wild
Luther Chrysler

-Incident in Corpus Christi, TX, where a Pee Wee football coach assaulted a referee
• Interview with a psychiatrist
• Parents need to instill values in children

Commercial Break:
Smart Balance Omega pills
Lending Tree

-O’Reilly reads viewer emails, rants against a Newsweek article that links him with Vice President Cheney, refers to the “mindset of mainstream media?

-question of whether we are losing our religion, O’Reilly states that “the worst atrocities in history have been committed by atheists?

II. Context
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 did not satisfy my assumptions that it would fit the typical “liberal media? mold. CNN is owned by Time Warner, a meglo-corporation, which I thought might bear some negative subjectivity on the reporting, but it did not. Anderson Cooper 360 premiered in 2003, and offers a two hour long program, 5 days a week. The show sometimes broadcasts live from breaking events; most notably Hurricane Katrina and the Sago coal mine disaster in West Virginia. Anderson Cooper is an award-winning journalist who has covered events around the globe, and he joined CNN in 2001.
The reporting on the show did not exhibit bias, or leftist tendencies, and the reports focused on international events as well as domestic issues. Interestingly enough, Anderson Cooper was not even on the show for this presentation, but, I have seen his show enough times before to firmly assert that the show was in line with his viewpoints and style of reporting. The show did not cover a large selection of topics, but instead focused in-depth on several issues. It was evident that the show was covering topics that were pertinent to a wide selection of American society, and it was not simply trying to grab viewers with sensationalist stories.
The one issue I did take was with the approach to Islam and extremism, although it is not fair to fault only CNN, or Anderson Cooper, because this issue permeates almost all mainstream American media. The focus on Islamic extremists, who represent a small fraction of Muslims, and the perpetuation of an “us versus them? viewpoint only serves to exacerbate the current problem, and does nothing to educate Americans about the nature of the majority of Muslims. Aside from that issue, I found the program to be relatively well-balanced, and the reporting was well done and on the issues that matter.

Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor fit nicely into my pre-held hypothesis of conservative based, right wing journalism. Fox is owned by notorious billionaire Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-American right wing ultra-conservative. Fox News was launched in 1996, and The O’Reilly Factor along with it on the claim of “Fair and Balanced reporting?. Fox News rose to become the top-watched news channel on cable television, supplanting CNN. Bill O’Reilly has been repeatedly accused of partisanship on his show; Al Franken documented much of his right-wing rhetoric in his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. On an interesting side note, the increasingly popular show, The Colbert Report, a satirical news show on comedy central is based on the The O’Reilly Factor.
O’Reilly is a Republican Christian, and he makes no qualms about asserting that fact repeatedly on the show. O’Reilly panders to a narrow audience that represents a large portion of American society. The issues that he discusses on his show, such as values and religion, resonate with a large number of people. O’Reilly’s show neglected international issues such as kidnappings in Iraq and instead focused almost entirely on domestic news such as Brittany Spears. I found O’Reilly’s style distasteful and abrasive, and his professed prejudice goes against the principle of objective journalism. O’Reilly’s penchant for berating his guests and interrupting them only made more evident the agenda of his program.

III. Analyzing, Comparing, and Contrasting

It was interesting to compare the two programs in the context of this assignment. I enjoyed watching Anderson Cooper’s program, and felt that he presented well-researched and relevant journalism. O’Reilly’s program, on the other hand, was almost a chore to keep watching. His personal tirades and attacks on guests grew old quickly, and the fact that his hard-hitting journalism covered Brittany Spears, fighting football coaches, and naughty 10 year-old boys was repugnant in the context of the global problems that we face today. These are not the issues that Americans should devote their time to; indeed, my first blog posting was on the neglect by the media in covering the Iraq war, and their choice to instead report on superficial issues such as Hollywood engagements. It is especially discouraging when one takes into account the large audience that O’Reilly’s show has, tens of millions of Americans are subject to this trend.
One intriguing trend that I noticed while watching both programs was the target audience of the commercials in between segments. It appeared that the propensity of the commercials were to appeal to older, upper-middle class individuals, with such advertisers as BMW, Oppenheimer Funds, Lincoln, and Intel. The trend seems to reflect Putnam’s research that suggests older Americans are far more likely to watch the news than younger generations, but also holds some implied assumptions that only wealthy Americans tend to watch the news. In this vein both programs were similar, as well as in the frequency of commercials. Each program lasted one hour; Anderson Cooper’s program had five commercial breaks, and O’Reilly’s show had six.
The similarities between the two shows were rare and hard to place, while the disparities were abundant and obvious. Anderson Cooper’s show places emphasis on international reporting of issues, while O’Reilly’s show seems more focused on value-based issues within the domestic sphere. O’Reilly’s bias was evident and painful to endure, Cooper’s, while probably not nonexistent, was well-concealed if present.
I fully intend on watching Anderson Cooper 360 again in the future, for I appreciate the objective standpoint and coverage on issues that are relevant. It was educational to watch The O’Reilly Factor, I enjoy gaining different viewpoints on issues, but at the same time it reinforced my negative view of Fox News, and Bill O’Reilly.

The Economist v. The Nation

I. Introduction
Much like the Kennedy-Nixon debates of our grandparents’ generation, media depictions of politics has been a determining factor in current ideology because the media controls the information that is given to the masses. More importantly, the media controls the context and connotations of this information. Since newspapers, Internet news, and television enjoy immediacy when delivering the news, they often forgo analysis in favor of instant factual information. This can be detrimental to politics because issues become skewed and biased due to the short amount of time and space offered in the average news article. Periodicals tend to offer more analysis because they do not have an obligation to cover all of the news events and can afford to focus on a few key issues. Also, periodicals allow the author more time to write an article and conduct research because they are not printed daily. Although periodicals inherently offer more analysis than other news forms, they do not offer information free from bias. I will argue that the depth of analysis does not affect the ability for a source to be biased.

II. Chronicle
I choose to compare two weekly periodicals, The Economist and The Nation to determine if an increase in analysis would offer a less biased news source. In an effort to make a fair comparison, I choose an article from each magazine that was on the same topic. First, “In God’s Country? by Eyal Press from The Nation will be discussed, followed by “Deconstructing the God Squad? from The Economist.

“In God’s Country?
This article, displayed on the cover of the November 27 issue of The Nation, explained the role of religion in both the Republican and Democrat platforms. First, this article draws the correlation between the religious right and the Republican Party, “It’s undeniably true that the Republican Party and the religious right have grown increasingly hard to distinguish in recent years.? However, this article does not claim that the religious right is polarized from the secular left. Rather, this argument supports the claim that some liberals adhere to the same religious views as conservatives, they simply do not vote on them. In America, the issue is not the number of people who are religious, or the number of people who vote. The issue is if people vote on their religion. Historically, the church has been a good place for grassroots organizations, such as the Civil Rights movement. The more links either the liberals or conservatives make between religious views and party agendas, the more likely people are to vote for them. This is not an advantage that only the religious right can claim, but one that the secular left has equal access to. This article argues that liberals who attract voters due to their secular views are, fundamentally, the same as conservatives because both parties are using an extreme belief to capture a small percentage of the votes.

‘Deconstructing the God Squad?
The article in the October 21st issue of The Economist examines the relationship between the religious right and the Republican Party. After analyzing data from the 2004 presidential election, terrorism and Iraq combined was the chief concern of 34% of the electorate, while values lagged behind at 22%. Additionally, churchgoers amounted to 17% of Bush’s support, while married couples with children amounted to 19%. The results of this data are twofold: voters are not making decisions solely on values and Republican support can be found in places other than a church. Also, this article suggests that the divide between Republican and Democrat votes can be found at the class, not the religious, level. This is shown by the success that Clinton enjoyed among conservative Christians with below average incomes. By and large, voting pools are determined by class, “poorer Protestants are much less likely to vote Republican than affluent ones. And conservative Protestants are actually more likely to support progressive taxation than ‘mainline’ Protestants are.? Overall, this article argues that the link between religion and political party is weak because voters consider other issues when voting that lie outside the scope of religion.

III. Contextualize
The Nation is a weekly magazine based out of New York City. The Nation is the oldest published weekly magazine in the United States, founded in 1865 as an abolishment publication. Over time, The Nation has morphed into a cornerstone of liberal media, focusing most of the articles on liberal culture and politics. The Nation caters to a niche market; liberal thinkers. Unlike a newspaper that writes for the masses, The Nation has the luxury of knowing the markets perceptions and publishing articles to fill the niche. The intended audience for The Nation is liberal thinkers; therefore, there is not much risk involved when publishing a particularly leftist article because a person who opposes the left probably would not be reading the magazine.

The Economist was founded in 1843 in London, United Kingdom. Focusing primarily on international business, news, and politics, The Economist caters to leaders in these arenas. Where The Nation takes a liberal stance, The Economist favors fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. Rather then creating a niche market within either the left or right, The Economist attempts to capture the essence of these issues and provide a global context for the ramifications. A benefit to The Economist is its application to the global economy, rather then just the United States.

IV. Analysis & Discussion
The articles that I chose to compare were similar in more than merely topic. Both of them cited some of the same sources, such as “The Truth about Conservative Christians? by Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout. Also, both of these articles cited the same figure for voting based on values, 22%, in the 2004 elections. Additionally, both articles found the correlation between religion and party to be weaker then is perceived by the general public. Despite the difference in host country of the publication, both articles can to relatively the same conclusion. When I started this project, I anticipated the European publication to be more critical of the religious right then a publication in the United States.

The difference in these articles is how the information is applied. For example, in The Economist the 22% of values voters was used in contrast with voters for terrorism. In The Nation the 22% of values voters was used in contrast with votes for economic issues, which was lower. Although both magazines used the same number, 22%, they used it in comparison with different figures to support their argument. This statistic, used in two different ways in two different articles, is an example of how statistics and research can be formed into supporting any argument the author decides upon.

I was not surprised that both articles were biased in some way. Inherently, writing is a biased activity because listing information would be too cumbersome and ineffective for the reader. Analysis is necessary to reduce the volume of research and information available to an article that the average reader can understand. However, this process is bound to result in some biased analysis. It is the responsibility of the reader to recognize the bias in the media and use the information given as a springboard to their own analysis, rather then the media simply handing out opinions. Publications such as The Economist and The Nation provide a better springboard for personal analysis because they give analysis to consider. Newspapers, Internet news, and television reports serve and important function to relay information to the masses. However, periodicals server an equally important function because they encourage the reader to analyze and consider the information in a different way.

KARE 11 Local News vs. Star Tribune Local News

I chose to compare the 6 pm local news on channel 11 (KARE 11) with the local news in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I watched the local news on TV for November 14, 2006, and I read the Star Tribune for November 15, 2006. The reason I chose these two mediums to compare was because I figured the newspaper would give further detail on most stories and it would be interesting to see which details the television news chose to use for their broadcast. The local television news runs for only 30 minutes from 6:00 to 6:30, 10 minutes of which was commercials. However, reading the paper took me much longer. I didn’t keep a minute by minute log for the newspaper like I did with the television news but I spent all-together a little over an hour reading. The newspaper obviously has several sections that were not relevant to the local news stories I was looking for but I browsed through most of them anyway to see if I noticed any of the same stories that were discussed on the TV news. After comparing news stories and seeing little difference between the two, I chose to compare the actual mediums I used for this assignment.

KARE 11 6pm Local News

6:01pm Man broke into house in Maplewood (30 sec.)
6:02pm Gunmen broke into home of Eddie Brown, Eddie attacked him outside, dog
stopped other man, one man got away (2-3min.)
6:04pm Squad car crash, alcohol involved (30 sec.)
6:04pm Rep. Mark Olson not allowed near wife, clip of him saying he needs to apologize
to God, to wife, to public…
6:05pm Tim Pawlenty gets a C-, Legislation an F; Racial equity vote on grades
6:05pm Air travelers should remember 3-1-1 –> 3 oz., in 1 clear bag, 1 bag of luggage
6:06pm run through next stories before commercial
6:09pm New Brighton donating, wanderers, wear bracelets with sensors (20 sec)
6:09pm Brick by brick rebuilding cobblestone streets, how they’re building them, 22 lbs
each, city council restore streets that were brick or cobble
6:11pm Something about ground freezing (10 sec.)
6:11pm Conjoined twins separated at Mayo Clinic, from Mankato, doing well (30 sec)
6:15pm weather, snow in the south and Wisconsin, SE wind today, …
6:18pm too many bowl games?, gopher hosts Iowa on Saturday, …
6:20pm high school football team will play in dome, Rosemount vs. Lakeville, Saturday
6:22pm Bobby Knight abuse? Chin hit to raise player’s attention (15 sec)
6:22pmWebb wins Cy Young, lists stats for baseball player (20 sec)
6:23pm Rundown on local sports
6:26pm News at 10pm – David Swift and family endured hours of captivity by man, what’s it like to go to jail for drunk driving, new sport
6:27pm Second-grader brought Brad Johnson to school, BJ read to class (30 sec.)

Star Tribune Local News

Minnesota’s recycling rate hasn’t improved in 10 years, officials say (large article)
Much work ahead for instant-runoff voting (large article)
Farmington kids give Johnson extra points
Newspaper and gay group settle dispute
Maplewood police nab house-to-house thief
Olson asks for forgiveness after assault charges
Several briefs
A few obituaries
Minnesota math, reading test scores drop
Latest Knight incident gets ho-hum response (large article)
Texas Tech falls in behind Knight after his latest ‘incident’
Arizona’s Webb wins Cy Young

III. Context

Channel 11 has gone through several transitions before reaching the station they are now, KARE 11. Channel 11 marks 1953 as the year they became the area’s third television station. It reached television sets within a 30 mile radius. Not long after, Channel 11 expanded their viewing area to within 50 miles. Soon after, the transmitter was moved from the Foshay building in downtown Minneapolis to a taller building in Shoreview and viewing coverage reached up to 72 miles. In 1973 the station set up in a new studio in Golden Valley, where they still are today. In June of 1986, Channel 11 was renamed KARE 11.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune was first published in 1867. It is now the leading newspaper in Minnesota, being read by 1.5 million people each week (Star Tribune). The Star Tribune is owned by The McClatchy Company. The McClatchy Company is based in Sacramento, California and is publicly held. It is also the second largest newspaper organization in the country. The Star Tribune was given its name in 1987 as sort of the end result of three newspapers combined over time: the Minneapolis Tribune, the Star and the Minneapolis Journal.

I tried to find information on whether these two mediums leaned to one side politically over the other but did not have much luck. Wikipedia said about the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press, “The Pioneer Press has a somewhat conservative orientation and publishes a substantial amount of human-interest stories, while the Star Tribune is more liberal and favors hard-hitting news.? I learned KARE 11 is owned by NBC but I did not find much on if they were biased one way or another.

IV. Discussion/Analysis

After doing this assignment I was a little disappointed with my two choices of news sources to compare. Other than the obvious point I knew I would find, that being the Star Tribune would have more thorough reports on stories than a half hour news show, I did not see too much that interested me. Perhaps I should have chosen two sources that were greater opposites, or at least where one had a more extreme bias than the other. However, I did not. I chose local news – television versus newspaper.
A few things I noticed right away were that the newspaper offered a lot that a television news broadcast could not. The newspaper not only featured local news but offered several different sections that would all be helpful in educating a person about many different things relevant to life here in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. There were classifieds, obituaries, home and garden, editorials, etc. All these sections are important to being thoroughly informed about what’s going on in and around the metro area, but do not make the cut for TV news. Part of me thinks that while newspapers offer a huge breadth of topics and stories, the TV news is working with a smaller time frame so they select stories that will really grab their readers’ attentions. Many times you get the small snippets of a story that will be of most interest to the viewer, but as a result the viewer may receive a less informed version of the story.
At the same time, I think one benefit to the TV news is the chance to give viewers a quick version of a story. I think the bit I watched about the high school football teams practicing to play games in the Metrodome this weekend may not have received as much attention in the newspaper as they did on TV. Since TV moves much faster than reading articles, they can discuss things that may seem less important but get away with it because it lasts for such a short period of time. Another benefit that TV has that newspapers don’t is the ability to have live footage of an event or person, rather than just reading the words they said. It can give a story a whole other meaning to be able to see someone say something versus just reading about it. However, it is important to note that most newspaper sources have online versions as well where video clips are available for viewing.
One big benefit of newspapers that viewers don’t get with TV news is being able to remember details of a story. I know when I am reading something for myself, compared to hearing it or seeing it, I am more likely to remember and recall details about a specific event. There have been times before when I am watching TV with one of my roommates and they will ask me about what was just said on TV and I can’t tell them because I was completely zoned out. This is not to say the same cannot happen with reading something but my point is that you learn more by reading than simply watching a brief and often simply-put news story.
I think all these things are interesting as far as the differences between mediums: TV and newspaper. However, like I said before, I was a little disappointed that I did not see more variation in the actual articles I read between those two mediums rather than analyzing the mediums themselves. I did enjoy the assignment though because it was thought provoking and I don’t usually buy a newspaper so that was a treat. I found the newspaper offered little side boxes with interesting facts relevant to the articles and that you don’t see with TV news. I will end with one I found particularly fun. “Residential and commercial recycling in Minnesota reduced greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 an equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road (Star Tribune B1).?

The media and our World View

Ryan Hauschild
Soc 3301
Media Journals

When given the assignment of analyzing media sources, I immediately knew what media I would pursue and how I would do it. I receive 90% of my news information from the internet and two websites in particular. Every morning and evening I check CNN for the day’s news and I also check BBC world news for a different national perspective. One day last semester a story broke about photos of torture in Abu Grab being leaked out of Australia. I noticed that the story was the lead story on the BBC news website and it was the second leading story on CNN’s website at the same time. On a hunch, I immediately went to the FoxNews website and to my shock, the story was not even reported on the main page of the FoxNews website. It was at that moment that I realized how great the variation of coverage and selection of newsworthy articles based on partisan world views.
I approached this assignment with the same premise that where and when the stories are presented on the webpages are indicators of significance and agendas of the editing staffs. When I began to perform a basic content analysis on the websites, I operated under a common presumption that FoxNews tended to slant to the right of the political spectrum and it often promoted a conservative right-wing pro-Bush administration world view. The other presumption that I shared was that CNN tended to slant to the left but for fear of being labeled leftist CNN tries to remain in the middle but this at times leads CNN to be too soft on the right for fear of “coming from the left?. I wouldn’t say that these ideas are universal and absolute but in general dialogue about the media these ideas have been tossed about by scholars.
With these theories I concluded that there should be a slight difference in how the two media sources present the same facts and there should be variation in what stories the websites do and don’t report. I analyzed what stories were reported by what particular outlets and where they ranked in significance on the website. For FoxNews, I ranked the three headline stories presented on their website in significance and I noted what stories were in the section “Latest News?. I Used a similar method for CNN’s website where I noted the headline story and what stories were under the title of?Latest News?. The BBC news website has a similar format to FoxNews with the three headline stories stacked in importance and “Other Top Stories? of to the side like the other two sites. I only noted stories that were linked to political and world view of the right or left and how those stories were presented . I took special note of what stories were present in one website and not in another. My main focus for this assignment is the reporting of stories that may question or confirm world views of the right or left and where the facts of the story actually fell into play.
On November 8, 2006 at 10:49AM, of the three main headlines on FoxNews’s website, “Hamas Calls for Attacks Against U.S.? was the one that raised my eyebrows . Another story in the latest news was “NATO Troops Kill 15 Suspected Afghan Insurgents? that, like the Hamas story involved political world views. What was significant on the FoxNews website about Hamas calling for attacks against the U.S. was that the story was not reported at all on the CNN website! This story appears to promote the cycle of fear and terror that the Bush administration has been accused of using for political gain in the past. The fear of terror promoted on the FoxNews website fits well into my theory of news outlets promoting and reinforcing ideological world views. The article about NATO troops killing Afghan insurgents had the effect of presenting a winning picture of the War on Terror that also supports a pro-Bush world view and the story was also not reported on CNN’s site. The War on Terror is clearly being framed in a positive light by FoxNews but it is also intent on keeping citizens in a state of fear and submission.
On November9, 2006, both sites were similar in covering the death of Ed Bradley and the Democratic Victory in the Senate. A few differences, however, were that FoxNews reported another story about NATO forces killing Talaban Rebels. Once again, this story was not reported on CNN and it continued to present a positive picture of the War on Terror. CNN ran a story titled?Bush: I’m Open to New Iraq Ideas?. This story cuts at the “stay the course? slogan and presents Bush as admitting a need for change or a concession of failure in Iraq policy. This may weaken the Pro-Bush world view and I was not startled to find the quote absent on the FoxNews website.
On the 12th of November both websites had the bomb attack in Baghdad as their main stories. Oddly though, FoxNews called the attackers “homicide bomber? and on CNN the attackers were called “Suicide bombers? in the headline. I see little logic in using a different name and using a new phrase such as homicide bomber except as a means of presenting the action in a particular light. It seems to me that changing the term suicide bomber to homicide bomber is in line with manipulating terminology for political ends such as converting “global warming? to “climate change?. Calling the attackers homicide bombers instead of suicide bombers is parallel to calling one group of insurgents terrorists and another group freedom fighters or labeling one as a murderer and another as a martyr. This wordplay is a deliberate attempt by FoxNews and the right to present a well framed picture of the facts on the ground.
The most blatant attempt at partisan politically motivated framing by the media is the portrayal of the same event by two different media outlets with completely different perspectives. On November 15,2006 General Abizaid met before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and FoxNews and CNN reported the meeting with some variation. The headline story on FoxNews was “Abizaid, New Dem Leader Clash on Iraq Timetable?. The same event was not the main story on CNN’s website but one of the side stories in their latest news box but the story was titled? General Optimistic for Iraq Stability?. There clearly was a difference in significance and perspective on the story between the two outlets and the differences were clearly politically divided. In reading CNN’s version of the story, the Republican chair of the committee, John McCain seemed to be the focal point of the article and his questioning of General Abizaid was very tough. Reading the CNN article, I never would have came up with the same title that FoxNews had reporting the same story. By reporting that the Democratic leader clashed over withdrawls in Iraq, FoxNews has clearly displayed a anti-democrat bias and it continues to promote a conservative pro-Bush Right-wing world view. The stark difference in the reporting of the same story along political lines makes it clear that the media has political biases and this compromises the integrity of a free media as a safeguard for the American republic.
It is becoming more and more clear that the media has an important role in shaping how we perceive and comprehend the world. I have come to believe that people chose their media sources more for reinforcing their view of the world that attaining a new view of the world. The way that the media presents the information has an effect on the way we perceive reality and the significance of events based on the significance given by the media.
On the same day, both FoxNews and CNN reported that an U.S. soldier plead guilty to the rape and murder of an Iraqi woman. On both websites the article was in the latest news box and not a headline story for either site. It was an important story but it was not a headline story that can shape or reinforce American world views? The top headline story on the BBC world news website that day was “US Soldier Raped and Murdered Iraqi Girl?. What of the world’s world view?

Olbermann vs. O'Reilly

Initially, my drive was to compare the coverage of Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor to that of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, but my attention was drawn to Keith Olbermann while looking around on Youtube for coverage. The difference between Bill O’Reilly’s style of commentating and Keith Olbermann’s style presented such a stark contrast that I sacrificed the laughs of John Stewart to satisfy my intrigue of this contrast. Rarely do my sources of information come from anywhere other than NPR lending me to side very little in the partisan scheme of things, so watching most any television news (other than public) is somewhat of a strange world of shock to me. As such is the case I took two news sources so diametrically opposed to each other that the two just beg for direct comparison.


Due to the brevity of the clips on youtube, I gave each clip a good deal of depth when I took notes. I hope that by doing this I will be able to better compare the styles on the level of how they present. That being said, almost all of the below is paraphrased, and when delivery important, such was noted.

Bill O'Reilly licks George Bush's boots

- Round number 3 interviewing Bush
- Invited to the White House to interview the president
- *Cannot be confrontational with the president
- *Concentrate on conflicts
- No rehashing of WMD’s
Questions asked of President:
- Iran’s influence in Iraqi violence?
- Can any country legitimately stop the violence?
- Can’t we just divide Iraq up for each sect?
- Why are American so disapproving of War in Iraq
- Anti-Bush press as a cause of American division?
- Why do Russia, France, and China not see things your way?
o Do they not want to help?
- Iranians killing Americans in Iraq, yet Russia refuses to help.
- North Korean problem: do both Russia and China want America to be weakened?

Bill O'Reilly and the Bush-haters
- Blaming America episodes focus
- Clinton of Bush senior, which was hated more?
- Bush senior was hated more
- Secular-Progressive press despises Bush therefore they misrepresent this
- Carter proposes talking to establish understanding with terrorists and North Korea
o He is most definitely wrong
- Carter talked to Iran during hostage crisis yet no results came about making America look bad
- Carter talked to North Korea but North Korea broke agreements set up
o Ergo Carters method doesn’t work
- Still Secular-Progressive’s hate Bush so this is marginalized
- Decide for yourself audience
Questions asked of President:
- What do you think about your low approval rating?
- Is it discouraging that people don’t understand?
- You work hard, right? You can never take a day off can you?
- Getting pounded, how do you process that?
- What if your decisions don’t make a positive improvement?
- What about prospects of a democratic congress?
- Folley ordeal, how will it affect the GOP?
- I get pissed when people criticize me, you are more “philosophical? than me, and how do you do it?
- You don’t take it personally, even though the try to destroy you?
- Secular-Progressives (side note: we sent you a free copy of my book) don’t like you because you are a man of faith, you know that?

Bill O'Reilly Moans about Late-Night Comics
- Late night comics are left wing
- Connan proves it by calling fox news “fake new?
- Leno is a liberal guy, “he’ll even tell you that if you ask him?
- Colbert and Stewart make a living off of liberals
-  Their job is to mock, they do it to both sides
- This kiss left buts, but they are mean to people like me
- *They mock less intelligent people
-  You have shown that you can dish it better than you can take it Bill
- Still cannot figure out why there are no conservative comedians on late night comedy
- They must be pandering to a liberal audience
-  In no way! Just look at the people who watch late night comedy

Keith Olbermann on 9/11
- In the past, worked at trade centers
- Came here to make sense of what has happened
- 4 friends lost with images “seared still into my soul?
- I give respect to the firemen who also have their grave here
- This is very personal so “I belabor this? to prevent comments of being “soft? or that lessons have been forgotten.
- Those who should claim this can be shown “At best a grasping opportunistic dilettante and at worst an idiot?
- Five years late, the towers space remains empty, a “wound still open?
- This is beyond shameful
- Gettysburg memorial address by Abraham Lincoln…
- Leaders today have squabbled over the trivial and forgotten about this empty place
- The pander around not doing “any job at all?
- 16 empty acres demonstrate that the terrorists are still winning in New York
- Bush has done little to act the patriotism he preaches
- Now ground zero is the symbolism of “the promise unfulfilled?
- The only positive effect of 9/11 was the unanimous humanity that was achieved by all in America
- Bipartisanship as never before it was wasted on implementing policies that sought to show only a single party was fit to lead
- Yet no offer of responsibility for failed actions
- They continue to take advantage of fear to hold status
- The twilight zone episode “the monsters are due on maple street? shows how we turn in fear against ourselves
- Yet the freedom we have when used is un-American

Keith Olbermann on GOP 9-11 documentary
- Docudrama of the Path to 9/11
- Supposedly based on 9/11 commission reports
- Invented dialogue to use in the drama
- Copies distributed to prominent republicans, but not to Clinton despite his request
- Shows a clip that shows that the Clinton administration cares little about Osama Bin Laden
A 9/11 commissioner guest comments:
- Drama doesn’t actually portray what happened especially in regards to Clinton’s administration
- Events portrayed, “just didn’t happen?
- Doesn’t depict accurately, while claiming it does
- Cannot go so far to suggest an partisan imbalance (haven’t seen it all yet), its just inaccurate
- Clinton was NOT distracted by the Lewinsky affair as the drama presumes

Countdown – Fear
- GOP commercial on terrorism
- “These are the stakes? …explosion
- The real problem is that not everyone laughs at this commercial
- Terrorism is “to coheres by intimidation or fear?
- Republicans are using the commercials of fear
- CNN report on the insurgent stalking and killing of an American soldier was ridiculed by the GOP as “nothing short of a terrorist snuff film?
- Binladen is the new spokesman for the Republicans
- Panicking instead of thinking is now encouraged, or developed
- In the legacy of Joe McCarthy
- The Dirty bombs fiasco shows how pathetically prepared we are for REAL threats while being hailed as evidence the system works
- Bush needs to “Pull over and ask for directions?
- This indicates the last 5 years of safety have just been an accident
- Riding on the “Coattails of the Grim Reaper?
- New remains found at ground zero
- The republicans have all the control and yet nothing positive has been accomplished


Anyone who is familiar with either of these two commentators will know of the general traits to which I ascribe them, but these are hard to get simple from the chronicle above. If anyone has the time I strongly suggest watching the videos, my analysis may make a tad more sense.
The first major thing that stands out about the O’Reilly Factor is that Bill is very concise with whatever he says. He is immediately to the point of the argument almost as a discourse begins. This is part of the reason he is very quick to interrupt, anyone. This also allows his to hold a dominating presence over his guests. These are his strongest points, but when the flipside is assessed, it is very easy to point out that the majority of what Bill engages in is feudal arguments. By this I simply mean that he will pander about the point that someone is liberal for a few minutes by tossing out evidence as in a court of treason, and this is how an argumentation is formed for the accuracy of a statement, the proper methods of engagement, or even (very comically) patting himself on the back. He comes off as the stern person you would definitely like to have on your side, even though his methods are somewhat archaic when it comes to formalized debate. I should also not forget to point out that Bill makes a conscious effort to explain to his audience that he is not aligned with a party, and yet he vehemently attacks liberals in every situation that they come to the surface in.
The Countdown with Keith Olbermann has the feel of a modern day muckraker. The issues brought up are of general concern to the most of Americans yet the language of the reporting is very, grandiloquent. Every sentence is carefully worded and articulated so that not only the mean is paid attention to, but the much neglected voice becomes an instrument of connotation. Keith works to bring the art of the journalist process up to a higher bar; he actually makes one feel impassioned when he talks. The content of Olbermann’s reporting is at times exuberant and at times of the deepest aggressive conviction allowing a more dynamic person to arise from the simple view of journalist. It is this combined with the sense of passion that drew me to his reporting originally, but I continued watching because of the depth of his journalistic writing. It is not simply an attack on a right wing person; it is an attack on the rationale and logic behind the ideals held in the right. Even at this point his attacks are so definitively precise that you can almost see all the pieces of his argument fit together. As if it weren’t enough he invokes his well versed ability to use pertinent quotes that stimulate the viewer to think. All in all, one feels more informed after the viewing of The Countdown.

Analysis and Discussion

The differences are clear, and these differences are analogous to the methodologies that I have come to understand each political affiliation holds of itself. The fundamental difference between Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann is passion; Keith Olbermann is passionate in his presentation, and this invokes passion in his viewers. This is a quality that I cannot find in Bill O’Reilly for the most part because of his stark shift in personality when he interviewed the president. He went from “no you’re wrong and I’m going to keep interrupting you until you shut up? to the “I can’t be confrontational with the president? Bill. This puts Bill in a dubious light for me as do many other things that he does and ruins almost every ounce of respect I have for him. As for the difference of approach, I think it should be well noted that Keith becomes hard to follow after watching an hour of the O’Reilly factor. This is because Bill is obviously playing to an audience that cannot peer through his false representations, so inevitably he would lose audience members were he to be as eloquently fluent as Keith Olbermann. It must also be noted that every single video I viewed of Bill contained references this group of people called the “secular-progressives? and every time the name came up it received the stigmatism of a racist, someone who was destroying our society by their very nature of existence. I do suppose that Keith is the kind of person of whom Bill is referring; needless to say he spends very little time on specific precepts when they are not the centerfold of attention. He actually engages in logical thought for his argumentation this allows it to flow constructively and elegantly so as to solidify his stance far stronger than Bill is able simply by being loud.
If this were the absolute division of lines between political philosophies I know right now where I would stand, if only out of respect for the critical logic inherent in the left side of this situation. The opposite end of this spectrum is one that deeply scares me because of its ability to retain support in what seems to be blind faith. When it comes to such a powerful institution that has always and will always have the ability to corrupt, one must always be on ones toes, and otherwise we will find ourselves on the wrong side of a bad government. From simply listening to NPR for my news I was able to see many things that scared me in this transition phase of America, and to be quite honest I felt that the majority of the people would hold the control by playing on those who paid not enough attention to understand and actually know. I saw Bill O’Reilly and it made me sick to think that not only was this man being fed by such a large base, but that this large base would inherently be built up by his re-affirmations that have scarce little to do with constructive attitude that would make humanity as a whole stronger. I am only able to see gaps, which widen and widen until it’s too late to turn back. This is the way that I view the current situation in the Middle East; initial problems caused by the west because more problems to escalate to the point were now, no one can stop the violence. I see hope however, in the education of society as a whole and in the short run, the simple critical thinking that all Americans should be able to do well to be helpful to society. I feel a glint of hope from a reporter such as Keith Olbermann, because not only is he pushing progressive values that are intended to benefit everyone, but he is a strong encouragement to think freely, and critically.

Elections results from the Minnesota Daily versus the Pioneer Press

I chose to compare Tuesday’s elections results from the Minnesota Daily, a student-run and written newspaper and The Pioneer Press, the city wide St. Paul newspaper. I chose these because I wanted to evalute the emphasis put on city-wide and state-wide politics by students and by adults. Being a student myself, and living amongst others, I had a few ideas of how the results might turn out.

In the Minnesota Daily:
There were nine articles on the election results in the Minnesota Daily. The first covered who won the senate seat (Amy Klobuchar DFL over Mark Kennedy R- 58.1% to 37.9%). The second article covered that attorney general and secretary of state results went to Lori Swanson (DFL) with 52.98% over Jeff Johnson (R) with 40.9%, and Mark Ritchie (DFL) for secretary of state over uncumbent Mark Kiffmeyer (R), 49.24% to 44.01%. Swanson was taking over Mike Hatch’s position as attorney general who left to run for governor. It also covered her main concerns which included health care reform, corporate accountability and public safety. Another article covered how the DFL retained the St. Paul legislative seats, highlighting Ellen Anderson for District 66 senate and a continued “reign? for Alice Hausman as representative for District 66B. The next article covered how the race for governor between Mike Hatch (DFL) and Tim Pawlenty (R) was too close to call at the time of press for the daily, but Independence-party candidate Hutchinson had already conceded. The article also went through a brief run-down of all the candidates positions and platforms. The fifth article covered how Phyllis Kahn (DFL) retained her seat in the MN house, winning with 72.63%, and several quotes from her. The sixth article highlighted Pogemiller’s victory of the District 59 senate race. He was a DFL candidate and defeated Rahn Workcuff and Sandra Burt. This article also featured quotes from Pogemiller. The next article covered Michele Bachman’s (R) win for U.S. House seat over Patty Wetterling(DFL). This position was vacated by Republican Mark Kennedy. The article also featured student reactions at the U. The second to last article was on Keith Ellison’s win for the 5th District seat. Ellison (DFL) defeated Alan Fine (R) and Tammy Lee (I). This article also featured a student reaction section. The last article was on Betty McCollum (D) defeating Obi Sium, her only challanger, for the U.S. House seat in District 4. This article featured quotes on the outcome from students at the univeristy as well.

In the Pioneer Press:
There were nineteen articles in the Pioneer Press on Tuesday’s elections. They covered how the Democrats took control of the House, how Tim Walz defeated Gil Gutkneckt for the House seat, explained how the DFL party retains majority within the city, and how was Ellison breaking ground as a Muslim Congressman. There were also articles on all city-wide results such as sheriff, judges, and commissioners. The Pioneer Press also had articles on Milwaukee results and Wisconsin results.

The Minnesota Daily is a student-run, student-written newspaper for other University of Minnesota students. It is aimed at the students only, with little intention of being read by others. The authors of these articles were most likely students who voted, or had an interest in politics because they choose what they write about. Almost half of the articles included student reactions, which were important to the authors as well as the intended audience, other students. The institutional context for these authors is determined completely by their status as students, and their peers who are their readers. This is important because they are not writing for profit or for their income. They are writing to reach an audience, and this can lessen the amount that the news may get

The Pioneer Press is a St. Paul city newspaper that is written by professional journalists. It is intended for people in the city of St. Paul and surrounding areas, like Minneapolis. The writers are writing as their job, and are making money from the stories that get into the newspaper. This is where the two papers differ, because this is where news can get sensationalized or skewed to appeal to an audience.

iii)Analysis and Discussion
The results that I expected were for the Pioneer Press to have more coverage on the elections than the Minnesota Daily. This was true, however the difference in the size of the papers is quite substantial so the percent of election reporting is possible quite similar. The Minnesota Daily featured articles that were more on a statewide and national level, while the Pioneer Press featured more articles that were on a city-wide level. This makes sense because the Press is geared towards the population of St. Paul and has other papers in Minneapolis, like the Star Tribune, to take care of the Minneapolis issues. The Daily is intended for a wider audience, which is the student body of the university. This includes students that live on campus and off, also commuters from smaller or more rural areas. They both commented on state-wide results, which is to be expected, however the Daily had more feedback from its audience than the Press did. This may be due to the fact that it would be harder to find someone whose ideas are respected for a city paper as opposed to a student paper where everyone’s opinions seem just a bit more relevant to the audience. It was interesting to see that there were more articles in the Minnesota Daily than I originally expected, and I was definitely impressed with the knowledge of the writers. At a younger age its hard to know what is going on with politics, and all articles were very well written intellectual.

StarTribune and The New York Times

What does the nation say the day after the election? On November 8, 2006, it was that the Democrats were taking control of the House and that more Democratic Governors were being elected around the country. I analyzed the Star Tribune and The New York Times the morning after the election and I wanted to see how these two papers responded to the results and what their headlines were going to contain. I wanted to see what each paper focused on and what topic the stories were going to revolve around.

Star Tribune:
• “Democrats take control of U.S. House; GOP may keep Senate?
• “Americans threw Republicans out of power?
• Front page articles: “Governor’s race goes down to wire?, “Klobuchar cruises to Senate victory? and “Democrats take coveted seats?.
• Top “what’s inside? “A house First? “Bachman wins? “imminent upset??
• “first black person elected to U.S. House from Minnesota and the first Muslim in the nation? interesting
• Patty Wetterling looses
• DFL Takes the house
• Picture of Klobuchar
• Sheriff Stanek wins election in Hennepin County ( I think because the other person was Lopez, and because of his last name, uniformed people voted for the non-hispanic name)
• Just for fun I looked on the very back page of both news papers. Both had Verizon Wireless ads, interesting.

The New York Times:
• Front page articles: “12-year run ends- Chafee and Sanorum Are Out?, “A Loud Message for Bush?, “For Democrats, Time to Savor Victory at Last?, Clinton and Democrats Sweep Top Contests in New York State?.First black governor in Massachusetts, only the second in the nation since reconstruction.
• Paper more national news
• Voting machines breaking down
• Democrats taking over, kicking long time incumbents
• Very democratic
• In article “message for Bush? talks about how President Bush is going to have to change his mentality, not one party anymore, more pressure in Iraq. Talked about how the nation is telling Bush that something needs to be done in Iraq.

The Minneapolis StarTribune is the largest newspaper in Minnesota, reaching more Minnesotans than any other paper. The paper is known to be more liberal and is owned by The McClatchy Company. The Minneapolis Star merged with the Minneapolis Tribune in 1982 to create the well known “Strib?. The intended audience of the StarTribune is the residents of Minnesota and some of the surrounding states. The StarTribune covers sports, local, national, international as well as other interest areas on a daily basis. Some of the Authors contributing to the front page are Dane Smith, Patricia Lopez and Steven Thomma.

The New York Times reaches millions of Americans on a daily basis. The New York Times is owned by The New York Times Company. This company owns over 15 news papers, plus television and radio stations, as well as most of the Boston Red Sox. The paper’s first edition was in 1851 and has been reporting news ever since. The intended audience of The New York Times is anyone who reads the newspaper really, the audience is mostly education, intrigued individuals that want to learn about the current news both nationally and internationally. There were many different authors contributing to the front page of The New York Times, some include Patrick Kelly, Robin Toner and Adam Nagourney.

I wanted to look at the differences of these two papers the morning after the elections to see what the headlines were and what issues were discussed in the front page articles. The papers had many similarities, both headlines dealt with the Democrats taking control of the house. The papers both had supporting articles about the new possibilities with Washington not being under control of the Republicans. The “what’s inside? headings were also similar, highlighting some of the controversial races and new defeats and achievements such as Minnesota’s first black Representative and Massachusetts’s first black governor. Both also had pictures of the Democrats successfully winning across the country.

There were also a few differences, one being the issues that were discussed on the front page. On the front page of The New York Times, there was much more written about Iraq and the new pressures on President Bush to change something in Iraq. In the StarTribune, there was no mention about Iraq and the pressures to the President on the cover page. The StarTribune obviously had more hometown information such as Amy Klobuchar’s large victory and the close race for Governor. The New York Times also had more national results and information. The New York times also had an article focused towards President Bush “A Loud Message for Bush?, discussing what the American people are trying to tell President Bush. One little thing that I found that was interesting is that in the StarTribune, they refer to George Bush as President Bush, but in The New York Times, they refer to him as Mr. Bush.

Overall I enjoyed analyzing the differences and similarities between these two cover pages. I thought that the Strib would write more on the election’s aftermath and the possible changes it could have on the war. The New York Times had very interesting articles about the country and the path the government is now headed and the Strib had local success stories, which was to be expected.

November 15, 2006

World News vs. Local News

I chose to analyze the differences between world news broadcasts and local news broadcasts. I watched (on two separate occasions) the ABC World News and KSTP Channel 5 local television news. I chose these to compare these because I thought it would be interesting to look at the different amounts of time each spends on certain issues and the differences between what each considers to be important topics of the day.


ABC World News on 11/9:
- Election Coverage – 7 min
- Drug Recall – 2 min
- Ed Bradley (reporter) dies of leukemia – 3 min
- Car Ratings – 1 min
- Diet talk: good vs. bad – 1 min
- Guinness Book of Records achievers – 1 min
- Louisville band member story (blind and paralyzed in marching band) – 4 min

ABC World News on 11/14:
- Kidnapping in Baghdad – 2 min
- Big 3 Auto Companies meet w/ Bush – 5 min
- Chief Justice John Roberts interview – 2 min
- Education for immigrants in Texas (legal or illegal) – 4 min
- Wall Street/Stocks – 1 min
- Marketing changes toward kids from McDonald’s, Coke, and Pepsi – 1 min
- Hospital Infections – 2-3 min
- Panda populations increasing due to artificial insemination – 2 min

Channel 5 Local news on 11/9:
- Fire at UMN Steam Plant – 2 min
- Suicide of area musician – 30 sec
- Criminal Sexual Conduct charge on teacher at Fowell Middle School – 2 min
- Local accidents – 1 min
- Forest fire in Sherburne County – 1 min
- Local and national Election Coverage – 3 min
- Local National Guard soldiers home – 1 min
- Drug recall – 1 min
- Ed Bradley dies – 30 sec-1min
- Train Derails in California – 30 sec
- Able to link distant relatives from holocaust – 30 sec
- Female soldier loses limb in Iraq war; now training to become Olympic swimmer – 3 min
- Moose got loose in South Metro – 30 sec
- Weather – 2-3 min
- Sports – 3-4 min

Channel 5 Local news on 11/14:
- Woman goes into early labor with conjoined twins while touring Mayo – 2 min
- Sisters killed in car accident – 2 min
- Grant Everson jury selection (killed mother) – 1 min
- MN Representative Mark Olson apologizes for argument/abuse of wife – 30 sec
- Sen. Norm Coleman’s future in Washington – 2 min
- Hunting Death – 30 sec
- Playstation 3 coming out – 30 sec
- Truth in Taxation reports; why property taxes rise – 1 min
- Travel restrictions on planes – 30 sec
- Airline sales – 1 min
- Influential Album List – 1 min
- Weather – 2 min
- Police standoff w/ teenager threatening to commit suicide – 2 min


ABC World News was an interesting source because it allowed me to see what sorts of issues are seen as important to the broadcasters. ABC World News only has a half hour to sum up the events in the entire world so, naturally, they have to be somewhat selective and take into consideration what sorts of things their audience is interested in hearing about. The audience of ABC World News is quite large. ABC World News is broadcast internationally and is available online to anyone with internet access. The authors of ABC World News are typically the reporters who are on the air telling the stories. However, the ABC World News has much of its content reported by Charles Gibson. He is the news anchor for that particular broadcast, but he does not necessarily write all of the stories he reports. The content of the ABC World News broadcast is owned by ABC, and ABC is owned by Disney Enterprises, Inc. It is likely that Disney, as an extremely powerful company within the United States, influences what is shown on ABC, and specifically on the news.

I also found the local news to be rather interesting because they are locally owned and operated. I watched KSTP Channel 5 news and they are owned by 106 KSTP-TV, LLC. KSTP Channel 5 News also creates their broadcast with their audience in mind. The main audience of the local Channel 5 news is people that live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Compared to international news sources, this is a much smaller area to broadcast. In this case, the authors of the news are the local reporters who go out and find the stories. This allows the news station to focus the information it broadcasts toward issues that directly affect local citizens.

Analysis and Discussion

I found the comparison between ABC World News and KSTP Channel 5 local news to be very interesting. In some ways they were different, yet in other ways they were very similar. For example, there were a few of the same stories broadcast on both the world news and the local news. These stories, in my opinion, were the ones that were considered most important to both broadcasters. In order to be shown (and repeated) on local news, a story must be seen as important in the eyes of the broadcasters. Repeating things such as the death of a well-known reporter and drug recalls are seen as somewhat important matters that reporters want to be sure people hear about. On the other hand, the international news tended to report information that was relevant to many different parts of the world. Since their audience is so large, it is difficult to cater to one small group of people so they have to come up with matters that would seem important to a large number of people. The local news has the advantage of a smaller audience that is much easier to cater to.

It was interesting, when I was searching for the owner of the news material on ABC World News, to find Disney Enterprises, Inc as the “parent? company. It reminded me of the discussion in class about the media and how all the different sources are owned by a handful of companies. This is the perfect example of Steger’s point that it is the globalization of the media that is influencing our decisions and the way we think through what we watch. I skimmed through the Walt Disney Internet Group Terms of Use (http://disney.go.com/corporate/legal/terms.html) and found under their “submissions? category that they do not accept suggestions or creative ideas for broadcasts. It also stated that if someone, against this advice, wants to submit a creative idea, that Disney has complete rights to that idea and can use it as their own. This demonstrates the power that Disney has and wants to maintain over its viewers.

USA Today Vs. BBC on the Rumsfeld Resignation

There is no questioning the power of media in our world today. It shapes our views, beliefs, and opinions and makes us the people we are today. Throught the years, media has evolved and taken on new faces, however, the scope of media ownership has narrowed from hundreds of small owners to six giant conglomerates. The driving force behind this shift, as we all know has been capitalism. Many believe that the quest for money has clouded the truth with bias and made news programs play to the interests of the people, subjecting viewers to a distorted view of the world based on the programs they watch. For this project, I will compare two different distorted views of the topic of Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation.
The media sources I chose for this study were USA Today and BBC News. I chose these because I wanted to see how each source covered a specific political issue within the US which had potentially global effects. Especially when a defense secretary in a highly publicized and controversial war resigns after his party loses control of congress.


USA Today Articles:
GOP Angered at Rumsfeld’s Timing
Winners and Losers
Iraq War Can Still Be Won
Bush Welcomes Gates

BBC News:
Rumsfeld Exit Signals Iraq Change
Resignation of Rumsfeld Shows How Much Bush Administration in Disarray About Iraq
Rumsfeld May Face Charges
Midterms Impact on Iraq

The USA Today articles seemed to be focused at portraying the war in a “patriotic? and nationalistic light. The authors of the articles must take into account that their audience is comprised of people with a sense nationalism and therefore, bear a bias when looking at a controversial war which involves their nation. There is also the fact that the authors themselves may share the same sense of nationalism. The owners of USA Today are Gannett Co. Inc., who own many different newspapers and television stations nation wide. The people at Gannett understand that in order for themselves to be competitive in the market, they must play to the interests of the people. In the current international situation, this means not reporting things that will anger the average American.
The BBC articles seemed to care less about reporting things that may anger the average American. The interests of BBC lie in pleasing their readers, many whom have opposed the war from the beginning. Thus making it easier to criticize the Iraq War and the decisions made by American leaders. It was interesting to see how our foreign policy in the U.S. effects foreign nations. When our foreign policy is bad, it makes foreign nations mad, especially those who were dragged into an unpopular war with us; crazy how that works.

Analysis & Discussion:
The differences in the way each news source plays to their audience may very well be the source for some of the way each source reported on the Rumsfeld resignation. I found that the BBC was much more willing to call the war in Iraq a failure due to bad planning by not sending enough troops. Often articles on BBC simply rejected the idea of a war all together, recognizing that both sides have been suffering mass casualties and that a new secretary of defense may offer an opportunity to draw troops out sooner. Whereas USA Toady has headlines which suggest that the planning may have been bad in the war, but we can still “win? and seem very doubtful that a timetable for an exit from Iraq will surface under the new secretary.
The BBC saw the resignation of Rumsfeld as something that was good for the world, many reports focused on the idea that the reason for his resignation was a general disstain for the war in Iraq. The USA Today news source seemed to focus more on how close the elections were, claiming that the democrats squeaked one out. This may be in an effort to make the elections look more balanced, so as to not upset the republican readers by indicating that they have no support and no control.
In conclusion, I believe that the BBC news source is much less likely to feel that they must appeal to the average American bias, but rather that they must appeal to the bias of the rest of the world. This may explain the differences in the light in which we see certain national issues which have global implications. All news in catered to a certain audience in order to be successful, we can then raise the question, does the media shape our view of events, or do people shape the media’s view of certain events?

The New York Time vs. IndyMedia.org (For-profit vs. Collective, Community Based News)

I Introduction

For my Media Journal, I have chosen to compare the website of the New York Times with the main Indy Media website, www.indymedia.org. The point of this is to compare a national media source, which often gets criticized for being “liberal? or “on the left,? with a media source that is of the left, by the left, and for the left. Specifically, the point of this is to show that there is nothing “leftist? about corporate owned big-money media. Perhaps it would be better to compare some of today’s “left? news sources to historical leftist and/or revolutionary newspapers and pamphlets, but because of media consolidation, this is about the best comparison we have today. A newspaper accused of being liberal versus a community of activists working on their own, against corporate media, to bring out stories from their communities as well as other stories that “left? newspapers wouldn’t touch.

II Chronicle

While doing research for this assignment, I read the following articles:

New York times:
- Get Out of Iraq Now? Not so Fast, Experts Say
-UN Says Somali Helped Hezbollah Fighters
-African Children Often Lack Available Aids Treatment
-South African Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriages
-Soldiers Pleads Guilty to Iraq Rape and Killings
-Vatican Decries Fence Planned for US Border
-Abramoff to Start Prison Term
-12 Detainees Sue Rumsfeld in Germany, Citing Abuse
-Pennsylvania: Slot Machine Parlor Opens
-Enter, Pariah: Now It’s Hugs for Lieberman
-Protestors in Mexico Push Riot Police Back
-American Among Dead in Oaxaca

-transcript of ongoing live coverage from Oaxaca
-University and High School Students Opposed to New Education Measures
-Massive March in Oaxaca
-Government forces attack University, Fail to Capture Radio (Oaxaca)
-The New York City IMC Responds to Death of Brad Will
-NYC Indy Media volunteer Brad Will Killed in Attack by Paramilitaries in Oaxaca
-Celebrating the Fight for Civil Rights with Worcester ACLU
-Massacre in Chiapas
-US Promoting Military Training in Latin America
-Will the Democrats Turn a Blind Eye to the Destruction of the Bill of Rights?
-AETA: Congress Strikes a New Blow to Freedom of Speech
-Governor Jeb Bush Hides From Activists in T-Station Supply Closet
-The Intersection of School Reform and Gentrification
-Chicago Activist Burns Himself for Peace’
-Immigrant Rights Supporters and Anti-Immigrant Groups Face Off in Maywood
-At the Beginning of the Third Week, The Janitors Strike Continues
-The US Anti-War Movement: Getting Local and Keeping Positive

II Context
The New York Times is perhaps the best-known paper in the country, and often said to be the best source there is for international news. The intended audience is very large, from “intellectuals? or others seeking in depth news about the world and the United States to those simply living in New York. It is often seen as on the left, especially by those on the right, and therefore it tends to also be a popular newspaper for liberals. It is owned by The New York Times Company, which made nearly 3.5 billion dollars in 2005. This company also owns nearly two dozen newspapers, nine tv networks, 35 websites, and two radio stations, as well as part of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park, and 50% of the cable channel Discovery Times (considering how many media outlets they own, one would think that they are doing a very bad job of getting out their left-wing propaganda). The paper started in 1851, and got its international reputation around 1900, specifically setting itself apart from the so-called yellow-journalism of the time.

Indy Media, however, was started shortly before the WTO protests in Seattle of 1999 as a way to keep other activists and those interested informed on the events of the day. After the “Battle in Seattle? the idea caught on amongst anti-globalization activists, and many people started setting up their own Indy Media Centers(IMC’s), all connected through www.indymedia.org , and there are now about 200 Indy Media Centers around the globe, including one for the Twin Cities (www.twincities.indymedia.org). The audience of Indy Media is largely the same audience it was during the WTO protests. Basically, the audience is made of two parts: 1) those in a community wishing to publicize or report on specific activities (such as protests, debates, forums, and other left-wing political happenings) on their own local IMC and 2) those wanting to learn about more worldwide movements and events that largely go unreported by the mainstream media, which is what I am focusing on. Each Indy Media is collectively run, and anybody can post stories to the website, however members of the collective choose which stories go on the front page, and they have the power to delete stories and comments that are not appropriate or factual.

The mission statement of Indy Media is as follows: The Independent Media Center is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity

III Analysis and Discussion

I’ll begin with the New York Times. While it is true that it is a preferred newspaper for liberals to quote from, it is also a preferred newspaper for many people to quote from. All in all, it is a rather reputable newspaper when it comes to getting a wide variety of international stories factually correct. It’s also true that they have endorsed many Democrats, but the argument can be made (and it’s too long of an argument to full develop here) that there is nothing essentially “leftist? about endorsing what may be the party that is the second biggest supporter of capitalism in the world.

While reading the New York Times, there was not anything that specifically jumped out at me as interesting, because I have read the New York Times off and on for quite a number of years. The main stories that were on display on the International and US sections were similar to stories that are talked about in any mainstream news source. One of their articles, Get Out of Iraq Now?..., basically attempted to argue against withdrawal in Iraq by placing quotes by US generals throughout the article which contradicted opinions of those who wish to end the War in Iraq

On the other side, Indy Media puts the greatest stress on the activities of activists and leftists around the world. As we can see, many of the articles featured on Indy Media’s main hub focus on recent events in Oaxaca, Mexico, which has quickly become the boiling point for worldwide leftist protests. Additionally, we see stories from events in the United States, as well as analyses and discussion about what the left should be focusing on.

The comparison was interesting, I think, because even though I already have my opinions about corporate vs. independent media, this was an interesting way to try to develop them, by taking a reputable mainstream for-profit newspaper and comparing it to possibly the most democratic and independent media source which still retains reliability. Many of the points that we discussed about media consolidation in class were proven while reading these articles. Mainly, even though the New York Times provides good, intellectually honest news material, they cover largely the same stories you can find on CNN, the BBC, The Washington Post, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, or hundreds of other media outlets. Even when it comes to the opinion pages, consolidation has led us to two main ways of viewing the world: a nonthreatening liberal intelligentsia opinion and a conservative, sometime reactionary, but usually also “safe? point of view. And both opinions usually maintain a certain adherence to the “status quo,? and you can usually predict how one side will feel about an issue before actually reading a column.

Perhaps the best example of both the similarities and differences come from reading about Oaxaca. Mainstream media, such as the New York Times, may have reported about the initial teacher strike back in May, and also reported the more violent aspects of this past month. Indy Media, however, has been tracking the uprising for months, and it has become one of the top websites for getting up-to the-minute information about what is arguably the most important issue of the worldwide left since 1999. In addition, when an American journalist from Indy Media was killed by Mexican authorities in October, the New York Times ran a one paragraph article about it, and then moved onto more acceptable mainstream stories. Compare this to the reaction if any non-military American, especially a journalist, would have been killed by government forces in a Middle Eastern country? Or perhaps we can take the real life examples of the handful of western journalists who have been kidnaped and released in Iraq, and how some of them have developed into wonderful, heroic stories?

In conclusion, despite the fact that I hard on mainstream corporate media, I do believe that it serves a purpose in our society. I typically start my days reading the Star Tribune, watching CNN, or visiting mainstream news websites. It is a good way to get background information, as well as either getting some facts on the situation or another side of the story, which is very important. After that though, I spend much of my time hopping through a variety of independent news sources, such as Indy Media, infoshop.org, and various blogs and forums in order to be inspired by what other people are doing, read stories from a different point of view, or learn about news that the corporate media has not even spoken about. Also, both sides err. One who relies only on media that is volunteer/user run or political forums may be getting false information, or reading the words of somebody “off the deep end? whose article or post has not been deleted yet by the owners or moderators of the website. However, the same is possible with the mainstream media, especially during times when it decides that it is going to take a certain stand and not budge - such as in the months after 9/11. An example of this is when you hear people say about the WMD’s in Iraq that “Everybody thought there were WMD’s.? That’s not necessarily true, although somebody who simply paid attention to the very jingoistic journalists of post-9/11 America would have certainly thought so. There were many people, from foreign governments and press, and even the CIA and former weapons inspectors, who were saying that there were no WMD’s in Iraq, and that’s how many of us, especially those who follow the Independent news, came to the conclusion that there were no WMD’s in Iraq months before the war even started when even the antiwar arguments of many liberals who limit themselves to for-profit journalism was “we know Iraq has WMD’s, but we should use diplomacy instead.? Therefore, I believe, the only real way to be informed is to both get a large variety of viewpoints and slants, know the news behind the news, and try to remember the motivation of those that the news is coming from.

CNN vs. Foxnews

I chose to compare CNN and Foxnews for this assignment. I watched both of the programs on TV and compared what they talked about and how they talked about them. I chose these particular news channels, because I believe they offer the most as far as broad aspects of news, of any US news broadcasting company. I intended to look for something about the election to be the main thing I would look for when doing this assignment, but I found that to be completely covered up by the war in Iraq.

Foxnews television broadcast
oNews in politics was all that was talked about on the show that I was watching. The news was running on the ticker on the bottom of the screen, but I figured that what they were talking about on the television was much more important than watching and typing what I was reading on the ticker.
oThere was an attack in Israel on the Gaza. A mortar hit a building injuring several people.
oConvicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff is awaiting sentencing. He was convicted of fraud.
oUS airways makes hostile offer for Delta. US Airways made a hostile $8 billion bid for Delta Air Lines on Wednesday, ignoring Delta's repeated statements that it isn't interested in a merger. The move could start a stampede of competing bids in a long-predicted industry consolidation.
oPost office is cutting a 10 year wait to honor a noble American to be awarded their face on a stamp.
oCongressional democrats came to power in large part because they said they would change what is happening in Iraq
oJon Lieberman “what do you believe would be the effect on the sectarian effort on Iraq?? They may not like what the Middle East is telling them, but though. Those sentiments, from Jon Lieberman, echoed with CIA officers as well
oIn Iraq recent security handovers have involved turning over Iraqi troops to Iraqi’s from Americans.
oCamp liberty in Baghdad is the center of gravity for Iraq. The 1st cavalry is hoping they can make a significant change in a short period of time.
oThe ceremonial transition of authority was overseen today by many troops that had to return to Iraq to boost up security a bit.
oCapitol Hill is not going to recognize North Korea as a nuclear threat.
oThe white house is afraid that North Korea will sell nuclear weapons information
oPresident Bush has nominated 6 judicial leaders Dwalla, Meyers, Haines, Smith, and Caiser.
oDemocratic controlled congress says the system needs to be fixed for taxes.
oEveryone’s watching the democrats to see how they’ll pay for a number of promises they’ve given, without raising the taxes.
oDemocrats need more revenue now because they promised not to increase the taxes for the middle class.
oBoth parties have been trying to fix the alternative middle tax because more and more income tax payers are graduating into higher levels of tax brackets.
oDemocrats say they will hit top money makers and republicans worry how high taxes have to be to satisfy their hunger for money.
oThe tax increase mostly affects rich taxpayers in democratic states like CA and NY
oSan Francisco is a current centerpiece for gay marriage, but the ROTC has been a big issue in the city recently.
oSchool board voted 4/2 to shut down the ROTC youth program.
oThey are doing this because people think that they are turning young people killers and brutal beings.
oMany young people who are less fortunate say the programs are very popular and help them find structure and a sense of purpose. The school board feels that the US military has no place in public schools…period.
oNY democratic congressman says “who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?!? He says that his love for NY has an affect on his perception of other states.
oPresident Bush held an unusual meeting in Moscow earlier this week when he had a layover in a flight to Asia.
oVladimir Putin met bush and it was a rare friendly meeting compared to when they last met.
oSaturday Putin met with Iran’s top nuclear official, some experts believe the 2 issues of Russia and Iran are combined.
oBush went to Singapore, Bush will deliver his only speech of the trip he will highlight the importance of Asia in the world and discuss the way in which poverty disease terrorism and security are affecting the economy there. Then he will head to Vietnam and talk about economics in the country. He will then go to Indonesia, one of the world’s largest Muslim nations.
oAnti-Americanism demonstrations are already going on and the pres has yet to arrive.
oShould illegal immigrants have a chance at legal status? 57% of public thinks they should and 38% say they shouldn’t.
oEven among the democrats there is a division of what they think should grant legal status. They think it’s going to bring down pay of Americans and make Americans lose jobs.
oImmigration is a motivating and animating factor of the conservative base and a swing factor for many voters.
CNN television broadcast
oRace for president. Potential candidates need to get going now
oMayor Rudy Juliani is going to be filing paperwork soon to run for pres.
oSenator John McCane runs second being Juliani
oBush- “Opposition party won the senate and the house and what’s interesting is that they’re beginning to understand that with victory comes responsibility?
oNorthern Ohio, foster parents put what looks like cages around their children’s beds and say that it was for their own protection
o“I did it to keep our children safe and from hurting each other?
oThe Gravel’s face 16 counts of child endangerment
oAn alarm would go off when the child left their bed…the beds didn’t have locks, just alarms
oSocial worker saw the cages and knew the emotional problems of the children…she now faces criminal counts of child endangerment
oThe children did not feel physically abused…one child said he was kept in a bathroom for a few days…child says it was because he urinated in his cage
oThey could get 5 years in prison for each of the 16 charges now being held against them
oOnly a 3rd of our nations hospitals are doing everything they can to save a person from a heart attack
oHeart attack skill ½ mil people each year in US
oDr. Sanche Gupta “uncomfortable Pressure in the chest that leads to arm, back, neck or jaw…20% don’t survive each year
oEr’s that work the fastest save the most lives
oMinutes could mean life or death
oAngioplasty…catheter passed through heart which inflates a balloon that opens the artery and allows more blood to flow into the core
oStarting angioplasty en route in ambulance saves 15 minutes
oEvery minute wasted jeopardizes more heart muscles
oMany people look at schools and neighborhoods when moving, but they should also research hospitals because most people won’t know much about the hospital they will be taken to in the case of an emergency
o“Super max? is a maximum security prison in CO…the worst people in the US go there…
oSome of those criminals may be plotting terrifying crimes fro behind bars
oRamsey Usef, Zacarias Musawi, Richard Reid all locked up for life in the nation’s toughest prison
oPrison is understaffed, phone calls are not always monitored, and neither is the mail
oJustice dept. said the “unable to effectively monitor mail of terrorists and inmates?
oRueben Castro is running a drug and gang ring from behind bars…he’s been able to give orders in telephone calls and coded mail from “super max?
oHalf phone calls were not monitored last year
oWhat an earthquake can do to a home like yours.
oHouse sits on 250,000 sensors
o6.7 magnitude is simulated…largest wooden structure to ever undergo test
oHouse severely damaged with large cracks in the wall
oExperts say test could one day save lives
oDow record close
oAuto makers go to white house to talk about emissions
oHome depot feels major effects in house market

The intended audience is the general public for CNN. I believe they choose to broadcast to the everyday, normal American, because those are the people that are the most prevalent when it comes to ratings. They are the television watchers. By normal American I mean middle class. This content is owned by AOL Time Warner. CNN had a broader base in terms of what they talked about. Although they talked quite a bit about the war in Iraq and the politics behind it, they talked about things going on in American, but nothing really from abroad.

The intended audience for the Foxnews program I was watching were those that are in the up and up when it comes to politics, because on the program that I was watching it was talking about some controversial issues, like immigration and they were in heated debates about some political things that would be way over the average person’s head. Although they talked mainly about politics and the war in Iraq, they did manage to talk about politics all over the world and the US, which I thought brought a good aspect and different views on things with all of the interviewees they had on the show.

Analysis and Discussion:
In doing this comparison I found that CNN is an altogether better news station, because they aren’t completely devoted to everything that is politics. I think that the news stations vary greatly, because Atlanta can be far more liberal than New York City, but in New York I think they would be more up to date on anything that has to do with the stock market and many international things, just for the fact it is right outside their door. Although CNN is a major news center, I don’t think the location for the headquarters is ideal for ratings, because of the “southern? aspect. Foxnews is out of New York City and CNN is out of Atlanta. Although the two corporations are different in that respect, they were exactly the same in their reports on Iraq. They mostly reported on the war and the negative aspects of what was going on over there and how all of the negative things have impacted the US and all of the Iraqi citizens and soldiers on the front. I thought this was an incredibly interesting comparison, because I have always loved watching different news stations to get all sides of a story possible, and in this case it happened. CNN seems to be more of a conservative news station, while Foxnews is leaning more on the liberal side. When I chose these to sources of media, I didn’t intend on doing anything about Iraq simply for the fact that I feel that it’s a common thing to talk about and can get rather boring, but watching the broadcasts, I couldn’t help but right about the situation over there because it was the main thing being discussed.

I really feel that media in general compares to what we’ve been discussing in class about the “realness? of media and how the media can sometimes cross the borders of what is supposed to be told, and crossing over that grey area of what the American people don’t need to know. I feel this way about Iraq. I think the media needs to be more straight forward about what’s going on over there, and keeping it positive. I realize this would bring down the precious ratings they are craving, but there has to be at least one positive thing happening over there. The media in general needs to take greater care in accommodating all sides of the entire story so as not to upset the “grey? area it occasionally steps beyond.

Midterm Elections-National vs. International Coverage

I decided for this assignment to look at the national and international response to the 2006 Midterm Elections. To find my sources I used the internet because it was easy for me to access. The sources that I chose where form various news sources. In choosing the sources I tried to a range of news sources, liberal to neutral to conservative, so I could get balanced coverage. For my US news sources I choose CNN, Fox News, NPR, and Associated Press. For my foreign sources I choose BBC News, Al-Jeezera, Le Monde Diplomatique, and CBC. The main things I looked at is what was reported a few days before the election, the day of the election, and a few days after.

Dems projected to pick up four Senate seats
Canvass points to democratic control of senate

The 2006 election lacks a vision for the iraq war
With Election day in clear view, one last look

Fox News
Democrats Gain Ground in Senate

Eastern States seen as election keys

BBC News
Q & A: Us midterm elections 2006
Domestic issues swing it for democrats
Bush diminished as world leader

Democrats take House of Representatives
Senate win puts Democrats in control
US Democrats eye senate control

Le Monde Diplomatique
US Republican Deficit

2006 Midterm Elections
World Welcomes Shift in the U.S. political Landscape

Looking at the US news sources they tended to show that Democrats had good chance to winning the House but a slim chance of winning the Senate. A lot of the articles talked about the battleground states and how they are the most important ones to watch. Many of the incumbents were favored to win in their respective state. During the election there was some minor voting issues, no where near as controversial as the past two elections. Their seemed to be some dispute over the winner at the time in some states but most sources showed Democratic favor. In the following days there were still some disputed seats, such as Virginia and Montana, but I think it was pretty clear that the Democrats won the House and Senate. In general, many of the articles seemed pretty unbiased. For the most part the articles really did not go into much in depth analysis. NPR is the one exception in which they looked at the effects of the outcome of the election. I think at the time the other news services were more interested in talking about the results. Though recently news services have been starting to talk about what is going to happen next.

The international sources kind of focused on what the outcome would mean for the rest of the world. In the days leading up to the election and the day of they had pretty much been focusing on they key battles and the winners. One article that was really informative was the one from Le Monde Diplomatique. It gets really specific on what each party did to ensure votes. It also compared the economic effects to past elections. One key issue that most of the articles touched on was that of Foreign Policy. Of this would be important being that these are foreign country. One source said that Bush’s Foreign Policy could change but just because the Republicans are now the minority, Bush can still maintain his current course.

Discussion and Analysis

Overall the articles tended to focus on the races. At the completion of the race, many pointed their fingers at the Iraq War, domestic issues (stem cells, global warming, economic issues, etc.), and scandal as the main downfall of the Republicans. Overall I think that the articles tended to show little bias in what they were reporting. Even Fox News and their notorious conservative slant was minimal, though they did pick up the news story from the Associated Press. On the same topic, many of the news sources seemed about half and half when it came to original material or news wires.

Overall I think that the reporting was generally fair when it came to relaying information. There is many who speak of bias in the media which I saw little of, though I’m sure if I had the time I could find some in a broader search of news sources. I think at the time the main concern was telling the people who was winning. There really wasn’t that much concern for gain though in the past we have seen how Election Day coverage can affect the outcome.

BBC World News vs. ABC World News

I chose to do a comparison of the North Korean nuclear missile crisis between ABC Online World News and BBC Online World News. I want to compare the North Korean nuclear missile crisis because I wanted to see what kinds of news coverage were out there pertaining to issues in Asia countries. From my experiences, I don’t think that there has been a lot of time allotment devoted to news concerning Asia. Many times it’s more concentrated on news in Europe or in the Middle East even before 9/11. What I wanted to get out of this was to see how different the articles from ABC News were from the ones from BBC News. What was the American perspective towards this issue and how does that differ from the British view. Do both news organizations do a good job in representing the world view?

Chronicle: articles that I read from ABC & BBC Online World News

BBC News
-North Korea Claims Nuclear Test (4 min)
-North Korea Raises Nuclear Stakes (3 min)
-North Abandons Korea Nuclear Pact (2 min)
-North Korea’s Nuclear Progress (4 min)
-Nuclear Team Heading to North Korea (2 min)
-US Worried By North Korea Nuclear Weapon (1 min)
-Alarm as North Korea Raises Nuclear Stakes (3 min)
-North Korea’s Plea for Attention (3 min)
-US 'regrets' North Korea nuclear threat (4 min)
-North Korea issues nuclear threat (3 min)
-North Korea's nuclear program (3 min)
-Nuclear 'progress' in North Korea (2 min)
-US fears over North Korea nuclear plans (3 min)
-US: nuclear deal with North Korea endangered (1 min)
-Seoul's North Korea nuclear reactor concerns (1 min)
-North Korea nuclear weapons threat (1 min)
-US confirms N Korea nuclear test (2 min)
-N Korea 'nuclear test' condemned (3 min)
-N Korea still short of nuclear goal (2 min)
-South Korea's anger over nuclear test (4 min)
-N Korea offers nuclear talks deal (1 min)
-N Korea to 'give up nuclear aims' (3 min)
-N Korea blast 'was not nuclear' (2 min)
-Fresh activity' at N Korea nuclear plant (1 min)
-US rejects N Korea nuclear offer (2 min)
-UN declares N Korea in nuclear breach (2 min)

ABC News
-U.S. Won't Accept N. Korean Nuke Status (3 min)
-S. Korea, Japan Pledge to Work with U.S. (3 min)
-N. Korea Berates Japan, Condemns U.S (3 min)
-North Korea Lashes Out at U.S., Japan (2 min)
-Iran Test-Fires 3 New Missiles in Gulf (3 min)
-Britons: Bush a danger to peace (2 min)
-N.Korea can put warhead on missile: experts (4 min)
-Analysis: N. Korea, U.S. Both Flexible (3 min)
-South Korea as Kim's ATM (2 min)
-S. Korea, China Weigh N. Korea Sanctions (4 min)
-South Korea Enforces Sanctions on North (4 min)
-General Says U.S. Could Beat N. Korea (2 min)
-Analysis: China Stance May Aid U.S. (5 min)
-North Korea May Be Backing Off Showdown (4 min)
-N.Korea's Kim says no further nuclear tests: report (3 min)
-China. U.S. urges North Korea to return to talks (3 min)
-China to Enforce U.N. Mandate Vs. N Korea (5 min)
-China Envoy Delivers Message to N. Korea (3)
-Japan Rules Out Nuclear Weapons (2 min)
-Rice Says U.S. Ready to Defend Japan (3 min)


The BBC is the popular acronym for the British Broadcasting Corporation, which was originally founded in 1922 and was then called the British Broadcasting Company. The company was granted a royal charter not long afterwards, and was turned into a public corporation run by a board of governors appointed by the Queen herself. BBC’s sole purpose is to listen to and to respond to its viewers and listeners. The charter also waived it from any direct government intervention. Today, it is the largest broadcast news gathering agency in the world and importantly it is widely known for it news programs and reporting.

The American Broadcasting Company or ABC was started in 1943. It was not until the 1960’s and 70’s did ABC really become successful. Many of its hit shows were Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Betwitched, and soap operas like All My Children & General Hospital which are still showing today. In 1996 ABC was aquired by the Walt Disney Company and much effort was put into it so it can compete with the other networks. Despit all these efforts, ABC is still the second most watched network in the United States.

Analyze & Discuss

The BBC news website seems to be more open in terms of availability of offering world news. On their website they have the UK site and the international site. People are directly taken to the site that corresponds to where they are logging from or they can choose. They have many options to news from many specific countries and areas, and not just a cluster of news from around the world. Another important feature that they have is their news in 33 languages. Compare to BBC, ABC’s news website does have a world news page, but it’s less extensive and the news is only a cluster of news from around the world. The numbers of stories are also limited with only so many stories for each day. I don’t think that their intention was to appeal to the world, but just to the United States. Their claim to world news doesn’t make sense because only people literate in English can actually access the site. This may be due to the reasons behind who owns the network. ABC is probably that way because it is privately owned and operated while BBC is more autonomous because it operates as a public service broadcaster. As we’ve discussed in class, many of the TV networks in the US are owned and operated by the same organization. What we get to see is what they decide we should see. It’s more catered towards making money and winning the ratings than providing a broad perspective to the public. In Putnam’s chapter on the internet, he says that reading off articles and texts online does not give you the pleasure as if talking to a person. I agree with that because text does not give you facial expressions, which really tells you how someone feels about something. Reading an article will only give you one perspective and you don’t know what mood that person was in when writing it. He/she may be in a bad mood and wrote it totally different from if they were happy.

What I found interesting in my comparison was that the articles on BBC were more neutral. It had a broader general view from different sides. A common theme in all the BBC articles that I read was that the US was the main country going head to head with North Korea. There is no mention or any views coming from the British. The articles were strictly about tensions between the US and North Korea. Many times a South Korea, China, or Japan view was put in to even it out as I’ve mentioned above. Basically what I got out of these articles was that this is a US problem and that they are doing what they can to settle it. The articles does not put anybody down, although it’s ironic that one of the articles did a poll and more British thought that Bush was more of a threat than North Korea’s president. ABC’s articles read more like a US stance against North Korea. The tone was more like how North Korea should do as the US say because it’s the one needing the help. Since North Korea is one of the last remaining communist countries in the world, many of the articles talked about the US’s strategy in trying to or pressuring China, South Korea and Japan into forcing sanctions on North Korea. North Korea’s dictatorship has not been able to undergo the changes that Schaeffer talked about. There has not been a civilian democratic government and it will probably take a long to get one.

The war in Iraq: The New York Times vs. The Guardian Unlimited

While I began to work on the media journal assignment, I had one question in mind; How does the information people get from the media impact their worldview? And I also wanted to see if ownership of this media mattered at all. I decided to do my research by comparing coverage of the war in Iraq by the New York Times (nytimes.com) to the Guardian Unlimited (guardian.co.uk). I visited both websites, I have read countless of their article regarding the war in Iraq and I have found interesting similarities as well as some differences. As I conducted this empirical research, and as I spent time viewing both websites, I hoped to better understand how the media operates, and how politics play a role in it.

1) The Guardian(guardian.co.uk): As I read articles from this website regarding the war in Iraq, I found that the articles dealt with three main issues, 1) Saddam’s trial, 2) withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and 3) Crisis in Iraq (Kidnapping, rape, and death rates).
Saddam Hussein and six other defendants are on trial for the operation Anfal crackdown against Iraqi Kurds in the late 80s. The prosecution claims that about 180,000 people were killed in the operation. Saddam and two others were sentenced to death by hanging. One was acquitted and the other four received lesser sentences. Saddam now called on Iraqis to forgive each other. Moving on, if the appeals court upholds the sentences, all the three members of Iraq’s presidential council, Jalal Talabani (the president), Tariq al-Hashimi (the vise president) and Adil Abdul-Mahdi must sign the death warrants before executions can take place. Mr. Talabani says that he opposes capital punishment, but he has “authorized? Mr. Abdul-Mahdi to sign on his behalf. Mr. Abdul-Mahdi has said that he will sign Saddam’s death warrant and Mr. Hashimi is expected to do the same. (Now lets wait and see what happens.)

Other articles looked at the US policy on Iraq. These articles are filled with interviews and videos. It is pointed out that George Bush is still opposed to a quick pullout or a timetable for withdrawal, despite a “thumpin? for the Republicans in the midterm elections. The UN estimates that up to 100 people a day are being killed in Iraq and moreover, Iraqis are now leaving in increasing numbers. Some gunmen have also kidnapped up to 150 scientists and staff members from a Baghdad research institute and only 70 have been released. Furthermore, Tony Blair states that the US needs to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine peace process which will help the situation in Iraq and the Middle East. He suggests that Iran and Syria have to be given a choice between being part of the solution or “isolation?. He described the two countries as part of an “arc of extremism? an echo of President Bush’s description of them in 2002 as part of the “axis of evil?. Nevertheless, several articles pointed out that Mr. Blair time in office is limited and that he doesn’t have much influence on US policy.

Other articles were not as friendly; they specifically target the reasons why the war in Iraq is taking place. They point out that the United States have been misleading its citizen since September 11 by making them belief that not only is Saddam the enemy but “in fact he’s going to come after us tomorrow unless we stop him today?. These articles also point out that by taking over Iraq, the US would be in a very powerful position as they control one of the major energy resources of the world. It is obvious that these articles oppose the war in Iraq and just like other articles they have a message and the writers feel free to express their opinions.

2) The New York Times (nytimes.com): This website also dealt with similar issues as the Guardian, issues such as Saddam’s trial, the crisis in Iraq and more so on the withdrawal of US troops.
Here is a list of what I read:
- Iraqi Government faces crisis after kidnapping: A spokesman said that more than 100 hostages were taken and 52 are still missing.
- Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister has been criticized by American officials and some Iraqi leaders for his failure to “increase his government’s performance.?
- President Bush is under pressure to shift the course in Iraq. Democrats who are now the majority in congress are pressing for troop reductions in Iraq.
- American officials are frustrated over the failure of the Iraqi government to send sufficient reinforcement to the Iraqi capital-establish a unity government. Meanwhile, there are more American than Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad.
- Iraq Study Group led by James A. Baker III, a former secretary of state, is expected to give a full report on whether the US had “deployed sufficient forces and taken the requisite nation-building steps to defeat, or at least contain, a virulent insurgency?.
- The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said that she did not see “anything about Iranian behavior that suggest that they are prepared to contribute to stability in Iraq?.
- President George Bush, said that he is open to “fresh perspectives? after the Republicans lost “control? of congress in last week’s midterm elections.

Depending on which article you would find opinions or arguments that opposed or supported the war in Iraq, there are unlimited choices of possibilities.

1) The Guardian Unlimited (guardian.co.uk)
The Manchester Guardian was founded by John Edward Taylor in 1821 as a newspaper in the liberal interest. Charles Prestwich Scott became the editor in 1872 and he holds it for 57 years, he is said to be a liberal thinker and as he pointed out “Comment is free, but facts are sacred…The voice of opponents no less than that of a friends has a right to be heard.? By 1959 the newspaper changes its title from the Manchester Guardian to the Guarding, to show the growing importance of national and international issues in the newspaper. By 1999 the Guardian Unlimited network of websites is underway. In 2001, the Guardian was acclaimed for its “bold? coverage on the events of September 11 at the British Press Awards. Today we can look at the Guardian and realize that it does target a whole range of topics from different parts of the world. And for that reasons, it has major audiences around the world. It started as a small newspaper in Manchester, and today it is owned by the Guardian media group and they also own countless of other national newspaper division and radio division.

2) The New York Times (nytimes.com)
This website is owned by the New York Times Company, which owns “The Boston Globe? “International Herald Tribune?, 15 smaller US newspapers; it also operates nine TV, and two radio stations. The company was founded by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones in New York, New York in 1851. The company has two types of stock, class A and class B. Class B shares are not publicly traded-it is used as a mechanism by which the descendants of Adolph Ochs, who bought the New York Times newspaper in 1896, to maintain control of the company. As you can tell the New York Times controls a big part of the media and it can reach countless of individuals in different ways-through television, the internet or the radio. But its main audience are those who live in the US, this can be seen through the topics discussed in these articles and in a way, it raises awareness of what is going on around the world.

Analysis & Discussion:
Overall, this was an interesting comparison. It is clear that both websites are well respected and well managed. As I conducted my empirical research, I found that both websites dealt with similar issues as they discussed the war in Iraq. As stated earlier, Saddam’s trial, the withdrawal of troops and the crisis in Iraq where the central theme found in each articles. Furthermore, the New York Times as expected, talked more about the US policy and focused more on the US as they discussed the war in Iraq. Although the Guardian did talk a little about Tony Blair, it focused more on George Bush, and more importantly at the major problems in Iraq. Nonetheless, I was glad to see that in both websites, one could find articles that were opposed to the war in Iraq and those that supported the war. This is what a fair media is suppose to do, to show both sides of the argument and to make sure that everyone has the will to express their opinion.

I remember a question in our class survey that asked; whether the stories the news media report are generally accurate or inaccurate, and about 44.7% said it was accurate compared to 69% of the national survey. And I would agree with them, I only say this because both the Guardian and the New York Times brought up the same issues and similar facts regarding the war in Iraq. But what is scary is that both websites are controlled by major companies that have the possibility of influencing countless of individual into thinking a certain way depending on who is writing the article. If we don’t take it upon ourselves to study both arguments,( those who oppose a certain issue and those who support it), we would be at a loss. We need to educate ourselves on current issues and we should always do a little bit of research to see who the author is, what is their goal, who is their audience, where did they get the fact and what are they arguing for. We should realize that information is power, and information can be misleading if told in a certain way.

New York Times vs. The British Guardian-Unlimited

I chose to compare the top world news stories between both American and British newspapers using The New York Times and The Guardian-Unlimited as my media sources. I deliberately chose to compare an American and a British newspaper, because I wanted to see the differences in how both sources report, display, and interpret what is a top world new story in their papers. Are they really focused on world issues, or are they more focused on their personal issues abroad?

ii. Chronicle
The following articles were taken directly from the top world news story page from both American and British sources…

New York Times
Burns, John F. “Dozens Kidnapped at College Office in Baghdad? November 14, 2006
Gall, Carlotta “Pakistan Link in Afgan Suicide Attacks? November 14, 2006
Kirkpatrick, David D. “Evangicals Supporting Israel “God’s Foreign Policy?? November 14, 2006
Rutenberg, Jim “Bush & Israeli Prime Minister? November 14, 2006
Rosenthal, Elizabeth “Many Nations Forests Regrow, Study Finds? November 14, 2006

Howard, Michael “Five Iraqi Police Held Over Kidnapping? November 14, 2006
Guardian-Unlimited (no author) “Bemba Rejects Congo Poll Result? November 14, 2006
Beresford, David “South African Assembly Passes Gay Partnership Law? November 14, 2006
British Cartoon (About Pres. Bush) November 14, 2006
Guardian-Unlimited (no author) “Dirty Hollywood: Why Hollywoods a Polluter? November 14, 2006

ii. Context


iii. Analysis and Discussion

When I first started to think about and act upon this assignment, I thought that there would not be much of a difference between American and British newspapers because being allies, and being involved with each others’ issues, that there would not be contrasts in the way we report world issues in our newspapers, but I was shown wrong. While reading the New York Times and the Guardian-Unlimited newspapers, I came across some very interesting comparisons as to how American’s and the British portray world news. Regarding the New York Times, I saw that most of the top world news stories were not all that one thinks of being “world news?. The main stories mainly focused around the Iraq war, or issues dealing with war, whether it was between the United States and/or other countries, usually finding the issues that involve and/or are related to America in some way, shape or form. For instance, the article, “Dozens Kidnapped at College Office in Baghdad? relates to the American military containing the violence at a minimum and to increase security issues within Iraq, which is a great concern over the American military because they are in the middle of a crisis. This article states that it is more than just a violent act or security issue because it was explained that it was the Iraqi military/police who performed these, as the article states, “terrorist act?. Other world stories articles were mainly about other countries that America is involved with; such countries include…Iran, Afghanistan, and Israel. The article “Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Maintain Tough Front on Iran? by Jim Rutenberg focuses more on the nuclear issues that the United States have with Iran. Israel was included within the talks, because the Prime Minister of Israel feared that President Bush would decrease the pressure on Iran to abort its nuclear ambitions. All the stories found were very interesting because they were more focused on the American views and involvement, mainly with wars and critical issues such as nuclear developments, and not focusing around other important world issues. The New York Times, as I see it, is a bias newspaper, focusing only on America’s issues rather than the world’s.

To the contrary, the Guardian-Unlimited portrays a very different perspective of what world news should be. Viewing the main world news stories of the Guardian-Unlimited, I found very few articles even related to the war in Iraq or about nuclear issues with either North Korea or Iran. One reasoning for this may be that the British are not as much involved with the Iraqi war as the Americans are now, seeing that they have pulled some of their troops out of the region. However, this newspaper does report more on the situations within regions of Africa rather than the Middle East as we see here in America. The Guardian-Unlimited focused especially on the country of South Africa, in which an article explains the gathering of the South African assembly and the passing of gay partnership laws. Also, there is an article that refers to issues in Africa called, “Bemba Rejects Congo Poll Results? by Carlotta Gall, which explains the first free elections with in the Republic of Congo in more than 40 years. Mr. Bemba, a candidate running for the position, rejects the results because he received less than 40% of the votes, giving the opponent the victory. They claimed that the count was being "manipulated" to ensure a victory for Mr Kabila, Bemba’s oppenent, who has led a transitional government since 2001. He inherited the job when his father was assassinated. If Mr Kabila is declared the winner, as seemed likely, he would face the challenge of unifying a country with little sense of nationhood. I believe that the British are more involved in conducting stories related to Africa because it is the unknown part of the world for many, especially to those who live within the United States. Africa is rarely reported in American media, unless there is a major issue that affects the United States, for example, the US Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. It seems as well, that the British are more blunt and get to the main points of the issues rather than Americans in their reporting.

Internet vs. Televison

I chose to compare two different sources of the media the television and the internet. I went to the CBS website and I also watch FOX local news for one hour. I am very interest how the internet has taken over our outlet of news. It has becoming more and more popular for people to search in the internet for news. The television presents theirs views, while the internet has multiple views. The most interesting things I found out was both of them have more similarities than differences and the internet news make us less interactive with other people.

CBSnews.com internet source
Big Header-Home, US, World, Politics, SciTech, Entertainment, Business, Opinion,
Strange News, Sports, Bogs, Interactives, CBBS News Video
Other Heading- News Shows, The Early Show, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes
Search engine on top of the page
Advertise on the side of the page top right
Video clips on bottom right
Pictures with the any news article

Watch Video: kidnap in Baghdad- many professor were killed since wars, students were afraid to attend class

Articles Read:

5mins-South American approve gay marriage- base on their constitution they don’t discrimination gender, race, sexual orientation, culture. Civic and religious official can denied it base on moral ground. Officials’ afraid there would be retaliation would happen for those people that approve of the marriage.

5mins. “Britney Spear sex tape?- It was alleged she and Fredeline made four hour sex tape. Federline threaten to expose it if Spears did not agree to the demand. He wants 30 millions dollars and full custody of the kids. A company willing to pay Fredeline %5

5mins : Poll: most people are happy of the outcome of the of election, many don’t think the white house and the democratic won’t get along, and no changes will be done

10mins- election results- maps of united state, click in the state for more information, list results by Senate, House of Representatives, governor

5min- “Microsoft Zune?- It’s a product that will compete again Apple iPod. It cost $250 for the 30GB, it is same price as the iPod. It is bigger, thicker, heavier, and less attractive than the iPod. The attractions are it have built in FM and share one Zune to another if they are in the same room. Critics predict iPod will still dominate even if Zune out came

10mins in entertainment section gossips-advertises DVD movies also in the section

“Quitting Smoking May Not Add Pounds?- Researchers have research for over twenty years for 5000 participate to see if there is any long term affect of smoking on weight. They conclude smoking in the long term does not have an affect on weight. Some women smoke because they want to lose weight and afraid to quit because they might gain some weight. In short term this will happen, but long run your weight will stabilize.

15mins: “Memory of Murder?- Joan and Peter was attacked by an ax. Circumstance evidence shown there was no break in. The Police believe it was someone they know. The investigator asked Joan was it her son Chris who attacked her and she nod while in grievous injury and her husband was dead. After she woke up in the hospital she does not remember what happen and denied her statement. She and her family members believed Chris did not do it. Chris had no alibi, he claimed he was sleeping in the dorm with his frat brothers. They don’t remember seeing Chris. His car was spot leaving the school campus. The Porco neighbors claim to have seen Chris car the night of the attack. There was no blood found in Chris body. The police claimed because he worked in a laboratory setting, he knows how to not contaminate himself. The juries found him guilty of circumstantial evidences. The jury declared they dismiss the “nod? statement, they believed she did not know what she is nodding for and they found him guilty because of other evidences.

Fox news 9:15PM to 10:15PM News Anchor: Robin Robinson, Jeff Passolt
14-19A elderly man from Wisconsin got lost. He travel 700 miles into Minnesota. Wanye Wolf was supposed to make 50 mile round trip. He wanted to head east, but he traveled west. He wanted to go to his granddaughter school. His family was worried. He called him saying he was lost. From St. Cloud he went to Bemidji. His family wanted to get him, but he said no. He went drove straight for 20 hours. He got Transient Global Amnesia. He stopped at a gas station, the clerk thought something was wrong, and called his family. He stay put and his family picked him up.

Upcoming stories-Zune and storm, wild video

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24 major storm in Colorado, plane crash in Las Vegas
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Deer smashing through a bank in Pittsburg

Upcoming-controversial painting, pee wee punches
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45- Appliance Smart

45-Safe Zone funding
46- People start shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Ikea want to book entertainment for the store.. Black Friday Ads for early bird special. Best Buy does not like the ads to be leak out. One reason is competitors another is it might not be accurate.
47-Microsoft version of iPod is Zune and the price is the same, people get in line to get PS3,
50-Americal Idol Bucky is done with the tour, now in Nashville recording his album.
51-vilolent outburst in the field game

52-Deck The Halls movie commercial
53-Subway, Accord, Menards

55-Timerwolve vs. Portland, The Timerwovles did well and wins the game
57-ice hockey news, wild score is 3 to 2
58- Football news
58- Women Gopher basketball news, Gophers won 78 to 66
59- Men basketball news, couple agree to said their vows in front of the jackpot they won
00-Thief of Hearts- Bronson McNeal stole women heart and stole her money. Women are well educated, middle class, and in their mid 30’s. He is good looking and sweet talker. He met them through the internet. Their dates were in the casino and he borrows money from the women and gamble. Beside the money he treated the women well. Four women file civil suit against him.
04-In Wisconsin a teenager knock the homeowner down and threaten his own life. The police throw gas in the house.
05-“Body Worlds, smoking warning?. See human bodies and see what damage it cause. Some people were touch by it and custodian found cigarettes being throw in the trash.
08- Rep. Olson was accused of abusing his wife
09- Kidnap in Baghdad- many were released and killed
Poll-war is the most important issue right now

12-car soup

13-17-In Hennepin Hospital about twenty languages are spoken especially in maternity ward. The interpreter helps them translate to the patients. Doctor tried to communicate to the patient but could not get anywhere. There are also culture differences. The interpreter have joys and sorrow times. There goes everywhere they are needed. The budget for interpreter this year is 3.5 million. A law suit in miscommunication can cause millions.
18-20 weather


CBS website is own by Viacom. There are many authors in the website who wrote these articles and many others who are also news anchor who report news. These authors are contract with CBS. Internet news is intended for everybody. There are many sections that have a lot of subjects people can search any news they want in it. CBS started in the late 1920s. At one time it dominated the radio news station. In the 1940s it started doing television news and now it is the top 3 broadcasting news in the United States. Taking advantage of the internet CBS post their news online for their viewers to read if the viewers don’t time to watch television. CBS audience tends to be older age range.

Fox news is own by News Corporation. It got started in 1986. It viewers are more in the 20-30 ranges. The news anchors for the news are Robin Robinson and Jeff Passolt. They reports local news. Fox lag behind in viewers behind ABC,CBS, and NBC. They do not report international news. They always tried to pull more viewers. Fox network has good and bad years of viewers. They tried to be diversifying by having white and black anchors.


What I found most interesting the internet and the television has more similarities. The internet reports the same type of news as the television, but just more. The television and the internet have two same news stories which were the kidnapping story in Baghdad and the Microsoft Zune. Both of them have a poll relating to the government and sport news. The internet reports news by those articles and the television way is by talking. Both news outlet are own by big corporation and are under their control and approval. They are not as flexible opinion as I thought it would be. Both of them seem neutral in their opinion which is a good think because they should not be bias in anything, they are there to report the news not to impose their views on us.

People who get their news from the internet might be people who don’t have time to watch television and the internet is one second away from the news. The can search any subject they want. When I was reading articles in the left side of the screen they would have links to other relating articles. I can also choose segment of the video clips to watch. The advertisement is on side of the page so people can chose to be interest in the product or not be interest. When watching television news people have to watch the commercial; the news I watch they have 17 minutes of commercial. The television report the weather which CBS website did not, but people can search for the weather in the internet. Television news seems more personal and touching. I was touch by the story of the elderly that was lost in Minnesota.

In the beginning of the assignment I assume internet news is better, after doing the assignment I think there are pros and cons to both of them. Usually internet news people do it individual, where else television news might be a time for family to interact with each other and discuss what they think about the news. For the past few years I get my news by the internet and yesterday I was watching the television for news with my family I realized I miss having that kind of interaction with my family. Technology made us interact less with other people like Putnam wrote in his book.

Conservative vs. Liberal Representation of Iraq in Newspapers

I chose to compare Newspaper stories, both national and local, from different states. I deliberately chose states that I knew would differ in political affiliation, in order to compare and contrast the differences between liberal and conservative states and their respective media. The conservative states that I chose were Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas and the liberal states that I chose were New York and California. I specifically looked at recent coverage of the war in Iraq and related issues in newspapers in each state, taking articles that had been published in the last three to four months. When looking at the recent stories I found many interesting differences between the liberal and conservative states. Each state seemed to have a different approach, or focus, of their stories about the war; however, these portrayals followed a noticeable pattern between the liberal and conservative states.

I. Chronicle: I read multiple articles from each individual state and synthesized many of the key messages; however, this is a list, and a brief synopsis, of the articles I focused on specifically:

Mississippi Sources:

Mohr, Holbrook. “Send off planned for largest contingent of Alaskans to deploy since WWII? The Associated Press: State & Local Wire 2006. October 1, 2006.
Article discussed a training camp in Hattiesburg, MS which had been training many Alaskan soldiers. The camp was designed to help these Alaskan soldiers become accustomed to the extreme heat they will face in Iraq.

Mohr, Holbrook. “Mississippi Guard Unit to deploy to Iraq? The Associated Press: State & Local Wire 2006. September 20, 2006.
Article discussed a send off ceremony being held in Jacksonville to “show appreciation for troops and the work they are doing.?

Alabama Sources:

Orndorff, Mary. “Session says voters frustrated with Republican states senators to lose committee posts after Democrats take control? Birmingham News. November 10, 2006.
Article discussed how many republicans in Alabama have blamed the lack of progress in Iraq as the reason they lost control of the Senate.

Gordon, Tom. “Iraq Invasion popular with many instate Bush’s popularity divided along race lines, survey finds? Birmingham News. September 11, 2006.
Article discussed a telephone survey that had been conducted surveying people’s support for Bush and the war. The survey results showed the lowest overall support percentage since the invasion of Iraq. The survey also showed a large discrepancy between upper-class white voters and middle to lower-class black voters, demonstrating an overwhelmingly higher approval rating for Bush among whites.

Opinions Section of Birmingham News:
Markham, Lisa. “Journalist should present facts, not disseminate rhetoric? Oct. 25, 2006.
Clearman, Ron. “It’s irresponsible to take credit for lack of recent terrorist attack? Oct. 23, 2006.
Heine, John. “Cowboy diplomacy won’t cut it; it’s time for Bush to start talking? Oct. 12, 2006

Texas Sources:
Kaplow, Larry. “Power shift in US leaves many Iraqis wary? The Austin American Statesman. Nov. 9 2006.
Article discussed how the recent shifts to liberal power in the House and Senate have left many Iraqi people very nervous about American troops withdrawing from Iraq. These Iraqi people believe that an American pullout will remove their protection from insurgent attacks.

Sanders, Bob Ray. “Soldiers can’t win war with guns only? Fort Worth Star- Telegram. November 12, 2006.
Article focused on rallying hometown support for the troops already in Iraq and those leaving soon. Information on how to give donations for supplies necessary and local drives that are taking place in Fort Worth.

“Veterans Day; In wartime, veterans deserve particular gratitude, and disabled vets need the best care nation can give? The Houston Chronicle. November 11, 2006. (Author not specified)
Article discussed medical research and support that many veterans need. The article talked about WWII vets as well as Iraq vets that need public help and support with medical procedures that are needed upon their return. Article outlines the gratitude that individuals should have for these vets and for what they have done for us as citizens.

New York Sources:
Polman, Dick. “White House holds firm to rightness? The Time Union. Albany, NY.
Article discussed how regardless of the shift to liberal power in the House and Senate the right will hold to its conservative roots and continue to damage the American system. Article outlines a 25% approval rating in New York for President Bush, as well as many people citing a change in Iraq as reasons for voting democratic.

Marshall, Carolyn. “Marine on Trial Tells of Killing Unarmed Iraqi? The New York Times. October 27, 2006.
Article discussed a marine on trial for killing an unarmed Iraqi citizen. The marine and seven others planned to capture and kill a man who they had deemed a “threat,? however they actually kidnapped and killed the wrong man. The marine also outlined an elaborate cover-up plan that was to be carried out in order to make it look like a necessary attack in response to the man’s dangerous and threatening actions.

California Source:
Baker, David R. “Bechtel pulling out after 3 rough years of rebuilding work? The San Francisco Chronicle. November 1, 2006.
Bechtel Corporation has decided to leave Iraq after their three year contract has recently terminated. The company, which was originally hired to rebuild power, sewage, and water plants in Iraq, is leaving after reporting 52 employee deaths. The President of the company also reported there being very little progress in the rebuilding process due to all the attacks.

II. Context:
Many of the conservative states tried to avoid criticism of the war and tended to focus on other aspects. Mississippi, for example, had many stories about hometown soldier deaths and send off ceremonies for troops that were soon to be deployed. Many of the newspaper Texan articles about Iraq focused on trying to rally support and pride for the troops or honor veterans for their “bravery? and “contribution.? There were more articles about veterans in the Texan database than any of the other states combined. There was a story that ran in The Austin American Statesman newspaper that described how many Iraqis were nervous about he switch of power in the American House and Senate, worrying that the American soldiers will leave taking away the civilian’s protection from insurgent attacks. Although this story may have some truth behind it, there weren’t any stories like this run in the liberal states showing an obvious difference in support. One piece of information I found really interesting was the lack of positive support in newspaper articles in Alabama. Many stories that appeared in Alabama expressed a much more critical view of the war and Bush’s plan of action. There were actually a lot of editorials written in The Birmingham Newspaper that expressed frustrations with the Bush administration, the rising death toll in Iraq, and safety of the US after 9/11. A survey report showed some of the lowest approval ratings of Bush and his administration handling of the war, as well as showing an enormous racial gap between approval opinions. There was a 57% approval rating among white voters, and only a 4% among black voters. I expected there to be racial differences but in such a consistently conservative state I was surprised to see such a large difference. This goes to show that the voting public is not always representative of the entire population as well as how Bush’s presidency have benefited some much more than others.

The liberal states had a very different approach to presenting the news than the conservative mediums. In both New York and California the current stories pertaining to Iraq were much more critical of the war and Bush himself. There were very few stories about soldiers lost or the efficiency of local training camps, but rather critiques of Donald Rumsfeld’s performance and the republican policies that have dug this country into a deep hole. Many stories focused on the recent elections and how the democratic take back of the House and Senate will provide the country with the much needed change in Iraq the American people have been looking for. The New York Times ran a story recently about a US marine that has recently testified to breaking the rules of engagement with an elaborate plan to kill a “dangerous? Iraqi man. He and seven other marines, however, captured and killed the wrong man. Stories of this nature, which depicts the more inhumane aspects of war, were not found in the conservative state’s newspapers. Both California and New York depicted the war as a detriment to the US and very little benefit to Iraq and its people. The San Francisco Chronicle talked about a California electrical company, Bechtel, which was hired to rebuild water, sewage, and power plants in Iraq in the aftermath of the war. The company is now leaving after three years, 52 employee deaths, and very little to show in regards to the rebuilding. These stories do not reflect pride among the American people but rather disappointment and desire for change.

III. Analysis and Discussion:
I used both local newspapers such as the Austin American Statesman and National newspapers like the New York Times. I found that the even though there were some variations between the national and local papers, the viewpoints on the war in Iraq were very consistent within each state; the liberal states showing a more critical representation and the conservatives showing a more supportive representation. Of course, there were stories in conservative states that criticized the war and the Bush administration and there were some stories in the liberal states that painted the war in a more positive light, these stories, however, were far and few and inconsistent with the general pattern. I chose these states in specific because I thought that they would show the biggest difference in current representation of the war, but it would be interesting to see how moderate states would compare to these more extreme conservative and liberal states. States like Minnesota, Ohio, and Virginia which have recently had a tendency to go either way in political affiliation.

I assumed that this research would show a difference in the liberal and conservative states representation of the war in Iraq and that assumption was confirmed. When the war first started there was constant media coverage but over time it had lost its appeal, and although it was never forgotten over the last three years, the recent elections helped bring it back into focus. It is interesting to see how the different states and political affiliations chose to represent information, for example Mississippi focused on deaths, Texas focused on honoring vets and New York on the less than satisfactory job Bush has done in regards to the war. I think this plays a role in why it is so difficult to get people to change their political affiliations. Liberal people tend to live in liberal states and therefore receive more liberal news, the same applies to conservatives. Of course, there seems to be many different factors that influence people’s political affiliations, such as family environment and even genetics, as we have recently been reading about in class, but after doing this research I understand why it’s so difficult to get people to change their views. Not only do people seem to be genetically predisposed to a position but they constantly receive news from biased sources. Although biologists might argue that genetics play more of a factor in political affiliation many social scientist may argue that it is possible that conservative states would have a different opinion of the war if they were presented with the media liberal states receive and vice versa.

Fox News versus BBC

I chose to compare foxnews.com with bbc.co.uk in their coverage of the 2006 mid term elections because I wanted to see if there was any difference in how two major news sources covered the elections. The internet has become both a major tool and a major hinderance to the user. It is convenient, ready to surrender information at a mouse click, but at the same time it encourages a sort of “fast food? approach to the news, where there can be very little substance because of the emphasis of time and volume over anything else. I wanted to see if this is a localized thing, to our country alone or if it's an international affair.


-On 2006 midterm election page: Large, angry picture of Rep. Jack Murtha
-Bright, primary colors pervade everything, as well as stars. There's a deep, prevailing theme of the flag recurring on their website. The two most popular colors are red and blue, with white and gold rounding out the top four.
Election Map Ticker: very basic, just numbers, and whether Republican or Democrat
Short video clips are always available, with a header such as “Disappointed President? or “Democrats Duel?
Focus on individuals, politicians, or states.
Lots of ads on the page as well.
Pictures are always big, bright.
Pictures of candidates are normally unflattering (ex. Murtha angrily pointing, blurred picture of Hillary Clinton, or a very upset George Allen conceding.)
Articles focus on the immediate outcomes, and upcoming/ developing news stories.
Everything's in lists, long lists on the web page. On the left, there is always their list of topics a person can view on that website and generally on the right there's a list of ads as well as video clips.
This trains the eye to the center, which is normally started with a large header such as “Pelosi Backs Murtha's Bid for Majority Leader,? a large, normally unflattering picture of said person, and a short blurb on the article.
Then this is separated by the rest of the article by an advertisement. In faint gray it'll say that the story is continued below, but it's easy to miss.
This encourages the person to stop reading for a variety of reasons.
First, advertisements are abhorrent. They in general tend to dissuade me from reading if I'm assaulted with ads for Viagra or something alerting me about the dangers of uncontrollable bowel movements.
Its structured as a quick news fix. That's why you get a large header, a short blurb and a large visual. After the advertisement break you get the actual body of the article, which has very little pictures, and maybe a few links to different sources.
When you look at the body of the article, it's unappealing. It's normally on a plain white background, without any bright primary colors to make you happy or any associations with the flag or anything else to entice.
- There are links that intersperse articles of people and different places, which leads you to further articles on the Foxnews website.
Normally, the farther down the page you go, the more actual substance you get. Also, the pictures get fewer and fewer as you proceed down the page
People in America as well as most of western countries read from left to right, and this is also employed in the website. On the left is normally a menu of everything the website has to offer, as in different sections, different pages you can go to. In the middle you have the actual article and on the right, you have a long list of videos or related topics.
This is something that's also used in the theater, and a traditional method actor will recognize that people generally look from left to right, concentrating more on things as they go. So they will position themselves accordingly, depending on their role.
The left column is just plain blue writing on an off bluish white background, whereas the middle column is headed in blue, accompanied by a large, bright picture and a little blurb. Finally the right column normally has a large, bright blue box full of “feature? videos and another eye catching picture of a politician as a supplement to the video headers.
This format never strays, regardless of what page you're on.
News in one language: English

Videos/ Broadcast:
- The inflection of the voice is very noticible. Certain words are emphasized more than others
Useless video montages of people talking, where there's no relevance to the actual story.
Lots of commercials on the videos, one per every video clip.
Broadcaster emphasizes things with his eyebrows- very energetic.
Only four colors used on TV/ videos: red, white, blue, and gold
Foxnews icon in upper left hand corner has flag waving in it's background
Big, brightly colored letters on the bottom of the screen for captions.
When they switch topics, you can tell, since they have a loud, graphic montage where the fox news symbol sweeps over the screen, denoting change.
Green only used with “Fox and friends? and softer news shows.
Head bobs, head tilts, blinking, head nods all used to change the weight of a sentence.
Frowning seems to be en vogue.


On 2006 midterm election page: Big map of America
Colors are mellow, where a red or maroon seems to be the favored color, accompanied by white and shades of blue. Although these are the colors that comprise the Union Jack, there is no explicit reference to it. (ex. No cross of St. Andrew)
Still employs the tri columned format to their websites, but pictures are smaller, and there's more writing.
The page is broken up into smaller sections with headers, a picture and then a list of related articles below.
Pictures are in general more accomodating to the subject.
Religion is openly talked about, and the election is broken down into divisions between the differing religions and subgroups.
Its also analyzed by Christian Right versus everyone else and Fiscal Conservatives versus Christian Right.
BBC election ticker shows results from the last four elections.
The map is one color, tan, and on a faint background of the flag. The colors are not bright nor gaudy
Information on the election ticker goes more in depth.
Per each state, it gives a summary of all the big election results as well as anything notable, such as Ellison's election being a first for a Muslim.
This is in conjunction with all of the statistics and numbers of the election as well as the preceding three elections.
Reliance on more statistics and pie charts in general.
The emphasis in articles is the long term implications for the political scene in Washington, as well as broader subjects.
Furthermore, there are just a few video clips and more links to the full broadcast.
Clip links occasionally have pictures to accompany them but they often times just have a header and a little video button.
There's still sensationalism, but it's a much more subdued sort of affair. The pictures are not as dramatic, and neither are the headlines.
One really interesting feature on the midterm election page is a subpage where they encourage people to write in with what they think about the election and the ramifications of the turnover.
It's structured like one long blog where they just post comment after comment.
The only thing is that they do moderate it, weed out anything too explicit.
Lots of profiles on candidates.
Sent out a lot of their reporters and had them keep up blogs when the election wrangling was in its fervor.
Some are funny, some serious. Apparently grits are very close to porridge.
Have links to other interesting blogs from different news sources, both in the United States and abroad.
Gives a good view of what the Brits think about our politics
Interesting in the sense that you see these reporters regularly on the BBC and so it's nice to get more of an in depth look at what their own political inclinations are. It's something nice to keep in the back of your mind when you're watching them on TV or on a video clip, what if any bias they might subconsciously possess in reporting that story.
Something you don't see Chris Wallace or Brit Hume doing.
- Emphasis on other ways of getting news. Big, pictured links for email news, mobiles, alerts, news feeds and podcasts.
Most if not all are free
- Have a complete section detailing where the BBC gets it's election coverage source (AP) and it actually gives a complete rundown of the electoral process.
The articles themselves are very straight forward, they are separated by unobtrusive headings in black and there is a minimalist approach to appearance and theme.
Breaks down wins and losses in terms of House versus Senate, not necessarily just Democrat versus Republican.
BBC News's icon is a picture of the world.
News in 33 different languages.

Video/ TV Broadcast:
Less inflection of the voice
colors subdued, even clothing.
Less emphasis on the reporter and more on the story.
Little known information such as the fact that Harry Reid used to be a prize fighter boxer.
Interviews with experts from different thinktanks.
Dramatization of words, not necessarily visual.
Only saw reporter once in the entire clip, and that was at the end, when he was closing his segment, and identified himself.
Very little clutter on the screen.
Lots of interviews in general, even with lay people.
Focus on ideas, on general mood and opinion.
Not uncommon not to see the reporter at all.
Lots of video footage of events as well, but more focused, with a lot of audio.
Word usage is very important and indicates more than anything else
Even their evening news emphasizes world politics, not just in the UK
More maps used, and the graphics are much simpler. You see the graphics not the reporters.
Lots more exclusive reports
Seems like stress on quality not quantity.

The 2006 midterm election was identified early on as a key election, which is not always the case for midterm elections. Growing dissent over the handling of Iraq as well as domestic affairs have made people weary of the current administration. There is also a new movement from the Liberal Democrats where they do openly express their faith. Interestingly enough, several prominent “surefire? candidates on both ends of the spectrum were forced out of their party, like Joseph Lieberman for the Democrats and Kathleen Harris for Republicans.

Foxnews is a cable news source created rather recently, in fact it is just celebrating it's 10th year on the air. One of it's more well known phrases “fair and balanced news? has come under heavy criticism as some critics have contended that this is a thinly veiled attempt for the Christian Right to enter into a new medium: cable television. This has been rather vehenemently denied by the Right but the issue remains unresolved. In it's short duration, this news source has garnered some attention when one of it's reporters, Tony Snow became press secretary for the White House. Additionally, they have such noted reporters such as Geraldo Rivera and Chris Wallace, son of Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes. Rivera made additional controversy during the initial attack of Bush 43's administration in Iraq when he drew a map in the sand detailing where he was embedded with the army, a noted militaristic tactical error. Furthermore Rivera later went on to cover Hurricane Katrina, where he was seen saving infants, which was later to become parodied on many late night programs.

BBC News is reportedly the second largest news broadcaster in the world now, and it has a strong emphasis in not only local news but rather global news. They started in 1922 on radio, and in the subsequent years, change has always been welcomed. The network has undergone several changes and revampings but nonetheless has endured. Recently in 2003, the BBC was embroiled in a scandal involving an allegation that the Labour Party had “sexed up? the case for going to war in Iraq. In the ensuing inquiry, the Hutton Inquiry, the allegations made by a BBC 4 Radio host were found to be completely inaccurate. Criticism ran high and it was repeatedly asked why the BBC had not investigated the claim further before making such a brash move. This severely damaged the credibility of the BBC at a time when they were up for a charter renewal.

Analysis and Discussion:

When I undertook this assignment I did not honestly think that there would be much of a difference between one news agency to another, despite a difference in locality. What I found however, was much to the contrary. One of the most interesting things for me was the availability of information. Not necessarily just the quantity but also the quality. While Fox news seemed to hold the monopoly on information about the midterm election, it wasn't as good in quality as the BBC. With the latter, you had more in depth coverage and explanation of issues, including a Q & A section of the website where they clearly delineated the electoral process, as well as the calling process for the news media. Additionally the BBC explained exactly where their sources came from, perhaps in response to the aforementioned Hutton Inquiry. People could argue that Fox news already supposes that the audience is well informed about the electoral process, but if you were to look at the information further, you'd see that there's a greater emphasis on a short amount of news per story, but many different stories. With the BBC, they're also not afraid to try different methods of information as well, such as that dispersed by blogs. It gave the viewer an interesting look at the individual reporters and their inherent biases. Not only did it help the reader establish some sort of repoire with the people who bring their news, but it gave you an idea of how your news is filtered. News is media, which is like a prism, filtering the news through it, perhaps distorting it, but indelibly leaving an impression on how its presented.

Fox News in general struck me as an example of “McDonaldization? actually. Here you have all this information barraging you, outlined in bright, primary, patriotic colors but if you look at the content of the information, it is almost insulting. It supposes that the person has a short attention span, or is incredibly pressed for time, so it offers the sensational, eye catching right up front whereas the actual depth of the article is submerged under advertisements. The pictures were also a bother since they were large, gaudy and did not render anything constructive to the issues they were associated with. This was in strong contrast to the BBC which took a minimalist, if there really can be one on the internet. Instead of glaring allusions to the Union Jack, the color theme was in maroon and black primarily, accented with softer, fainter colors. While it sounds trivial, I think it actually brings up a good point about preparing the reader. We all take in subconscious signals and when you're innundated with all of these symbols of patriotism you can't help but feel something, whether revulsion that such tactics have to be used or perhaps a grudging feeling or association of happiness.

One thing that I thought particularly interesting was the fact that both websites employed left-right techniques. Method actors are trained that people traditionally read from left to right and accordingly shape where they are on stage or screen depending on the prominence of their characters. This is apparently applicable to more than the performing arts. Fox always had the gaudy, the flashy on the right, in big, brightly colored boxes with a smaller article in the middle. It was furthermore cut horizontally by an advertisement, so the top half was the most appealing, with a large, unflattering picture of the candidate in question, a big header and a short summary of the story. I found that the advertisement encouraged the reader not to continue on with the story, and the full facts that were located in the severed body of the article. BBC employed a similar strategy, by having videos in the right hand corner, and the articles were located in the middle column. But where Fox news relied on large pictures of the candidates, BBC relied on charts and graphs. With the latter, I found that in general they favored statistical charts over other types of visuals and that it was referenced over years, not at a certain point in time. Which is not to say that BBC didn't use pictures, but that they were smaller, and less distracting.

After a while, I didn't believe that I could find such large differences between the two news organizations so I also looked to their television broadcasts and their video clips. What I found however was just more of the same, just in a different medium. Particularly interesting was the inflection of the words. Both broadcasts were guilty of this, but in different ways. Fox news had reporters and anchors that overexaggerated their words. It is remarkable how the tone of a word changes with a misplaced emphasis on one syllable over another. To supplement this, they also traditionally used other facial indicators such as expressively waving their eyebrows to further illustrate their point. Some would do a body tilt as well, or lean in to the table if they found something rather significant. BBC had some exaggeration as well, but it was in a more subtle form. The inflection of words wasn't nearly as noticible, and there was a drier sense of subcommentary. It might not necessarily be what was said, but rather what was omitted. Additionally, you hardly ever saw the reporters in the field. They would report on their piece, but it was primarily a voice over, and if the viewer was lucky, you'd see the reporter at the end as they signed off. Again in general, even though there was still considerable amount of exaggeration and playing to the sensational, a more noticible part of the broadcast with the BBC was devoted to facts, to the actual story, as well as a multicultural approach that was lacking with Fox.

Ultimately, both mediums work. Realistically they both deliver the news in a timely fashion. But the crux of this lies with the reader/ audience. What sort of audience do they want to be? Even with a medium like the internet, there are important differences in the content that they receive. Do they just want the drive thru version of the news, quick with a lot of sparkle and little substance? Or would they rather take a little longer and get a little more substance, information? Perhaps it is more comforting to see news that is filtered through a medium that supposedly more closely aligns with your political ideologies than more diversified news. I truly think that there is some sort of underlying comfort in consensus of opinions that shouldn't be ignored in comparing these different news sources. It all depends on the prism you choose to see the world through, the paradigm.

November 14, 2006

Upcoming Talk on Race and Genetics

The Institute for Advanced Studies is sponsoring a workshop on race and pedagogy on November 30 and December 1. In particular, a talk on Friday is relevant to the things we've been discussing:

Teaching Race in the New Genetics: What is at Stake?
Plenary Address by Sandra Soo-Jin Lee
Friday, December 1, 3:45-5:15 p.m.
140 Nolte Center

Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Senior Research Scholar, Cultural and Social Anthropology and the Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University, is an anthropologist who studies race, ethnicity and culture in science, technology and biomedicine. Her research programme focuses on the social and scientific meanings of race in human genetic variation research and their implications for understandings of human difference. Dr. Lee has conducted a study on the social and ethical issues related to the DNA sampling of human populations and policies around the use of racial taxonomies by publicly funded cell repositories.

Evolution and Intelligent Design in Kansas

In looking at divisive issues in the media, the debate over the Theory of Evolution is never far from the forefront. The population in the United States is almost evenly divided on the issue, with just less than 50 percent saying that evolution is well supported by science. One particular setting of this debate is the state of Kansas, which over the last seven to eight years has had a tumultuous relationship with the topic, particularly in its treatment in public schools. This entry examines the differences in treatment of the Kansas evolution debate by two sources. The first is a Kansas newspaper, the Topeka Capital-Journal. The second is the BBC. These sources were picked with the intent of comparing a relatively small, local, and parochial viewpoint with that of a very large, international, removed news source.

The articles examined for this project were taken exclusively from the online archives of the two sources. Despite being very geographically removed, the BBC had a fair number of articles on the topic. That said, the Topeka Capital-Journal had more articles pertaining to the evolution debate, and subsequently was more represented. The articles examined from each source are as follows:
Topeka Capital-Journal:
"Science Revisited: Critics say move is religion in disguise" -- 9 Nov, 05
-Approval of science teaching that stresses the gaps in the Theory of Evolution cited as really a move to allow teaching of religion in schools.
"Education board acts Tuesday" -- 6 Nov, 05
-An overview of the future decision by the Kansas school board over the role of evolution in schools, with some eye towards the national criticism leveled on Kansas over the 1999 decision.
"Science words can't be lifted" -- 27 Oct, 05
-The National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association informed the Kansas State Department of Eduction that they would not be allowed to use copyrighted material belonging to the two groups.
"Design advocates fire back at laureates" -- 29 Sep, 05
-Local opponents of evolution retaliate in an open letter to the criticism they received from a group of Nobel laureates from planning to de-emphasize evolution.
"Key players in the science hearings" -- 1 May, 05
-Profiles of Kansas school board members, as well as attorneys and witness for either side in the evolution debate.
"Evolution in school remains a debate" -- 18 Aug, 03
-Background of the local electoral politics of the Kansas school board that was driven to the front of public view by the evolution debate.
"Evolution debate tops state's stories" -- 27 Dec, 99
-Retrospective summary of the 1999 Kansas school board debates over the teaching of evolution.
"Decision lampooned, lauded" -- 12 Oct, 99
-Information about different local and national groups that both approved and disapproved of Kansas' actions in 1999.
"Back-door approach suggested" -- 20 Aug, 99
-Legislator Adkins proposes requiring education in evolution as an entrance requirement to Kansas state universities in a way to coerce school into teaching evolution after it was de-emphasized in the 1999 evolution debate.

"Victors hail US evolution ruling" -- 21 Dec, 05
-The ruling of the Supreme Court case on the teaching of Intelligent Design in a Dover, PA school that strongly condemned the teaching of any creationist viewpoint and ruled it illegal.
"Evolution suffers Kansas setback" -- 9 Nov, 05
-Overview of Kansas' proposed changes to evolution policy, past changes, and the court case on the topic of Intelligent Design in schools in Dover, PA.
"Bush weighs into evolution debate" -- 9 Aug, 05
-Coverage of President Bush's perspective on the evolution/Intelligent Design debate in schools, how he thinks Intelligent Design should be presented, and what this means for the rising power of conservative evangelicals in the US.
"US school battle over evolution" -- 6 May, 05
-Background of the arguments and reactions of the groups in favor and opposed to the required teaching of evolution in Kansas schools.
"Evolution struggles back into US schools" -- 5 Aug, 00
-How school board members more in favor of the teaching of evolution in schools are coming to power in reaction to the 1999 decision on the topic.
"Kansas rejects Theory of Evolution" -- 11 Aug, 99
-How Kansas decided to not require teaching of macro-evolution (inter-species) in favor of micro-evolution (intra-species), and how this compares with similar events elsewhere in the US.

The BBC and the Topeka Capital-Journal are two vastly different sources in almost every regard, from reach, to scope, to ownership.

The BBC is the largest media group in Britain. Originally privately owned, it has been nationalized, and is essentially a public form of media. Even though it receives almost 75 percent of its budget from the government, the BBC is charged with the goal of being independent of both commercial and political influence. Without the need to rely solely on the commercial success of their programing, the BBC is more free to report on issues that are socially pertinent, if less immediately entertaining. Not needing to answer to any specific owners also removes pressure on BBC journalists to report stories in a light favorable to the views of those in charge. This allows for fewer biases, though there has been some criticism of the BBC regarding their coverage of certain issues, in particular their treatment of the Middle East crisis and the invasion of Iraq. The BBC is very much an international group, with readers, listeners, viewers, etc. It is known as a very secular media outlet, with virtually no religious leanings and no official religious affilitation. This broad base of viewpoints helps keep the reporting objective, and propels the BBC to cover more and more international news and events.

The Topeka Capital-Journal is a much smaller media outlet. It is privately owned by the Morris Communications Corporation, based in Augusta, Georgia. Morris Communications also owns five other newspapers in Kansas, and a total of 27 nationally. Along with their newspaper operations, the Topeka Capital-Journal is partnered with two local AM and FM radio stations, and a local broadcast television station. Collectively, these four media entities call themselves "Topeka's Total Convergence Team," and work aggressively to cross promote one another. This group competes for their share of consumers in the greater Topeka area, and as a result of their close ties, each is answerable to the others. This puts pressure on the reporters at the Topeka Capital-Journal to not offend their readers, upset their owners, or undermine the views espoused by their partners. These pressures seem as though they would have the impact of softening the reporting, steering coverage towards topics and views that will reenforce the views of, and in turn attract more, readers.

Analysis and Discussion:
In looking at the presentation of the debate on the respective rolls of the Theory of Evolution and Intelligent Design in Kansas schools, the BBC and the Topeka Capital-Journal present the issue in two very different ways. The Topeka Capital-Journal approaches evolution as seriously in doubt, and looks to Intelligent Design as a viable alternative. Rather than examining the issue with a broader scope, the Topeka Capital-Journal looked almost exclusively at the build up to, proceedings of, and aftermath of school board meetings. Issues such as the views and appeals of the presidents of the state universities and whether the schools would still be allowed to use copyrighted materials from national science education groups were heavily covered. Almost ignored were issues concerning the constitutionality of teaching the creationist, and in turn religious view of Intelligent Design in public school. This is remarkable, considering a previous ruling that declared a Louisiana law that required the teaching of Intelligent Design along with evolution in science classes unconstitutional. Events such as this would appear to resolve the issue before it could even begin. Ignoring these aspects of the debate appears to be an attempt to appeal to the sentiments of readers.

The BBC, on the other hand, took a much broader view of the Kansas school board hearings. They pointed out previous pertinent Supreme Court cases, and treated the Theory of Evolution as topic of debate that had already been resolved in the scientific world. What seemed to concern BBC writers the most is not this particular instance of evolution as a problem, but the trends it pointed to. Remarks from President Bush advocating the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools to better equip students to understand the conflict at hand were pointed to as a sign of the rise in political power of evangelical conservatives. That such a massive segment of the American population has doubts about the veracity of a theory that is otherwise widely embraced in other developed nations as one of the key unifying concepts in biology led to speculation on America's future in international scientific advancement. The BBC was less concerned with the background of the lawyers arguing for each side of the issue, or the specifics of what would be included in various standardized exams as it was with the trends it pointed to in American society, politics, and economy.

These differences are not particularly surprising. A cynic would say the Topeka Capital-Journal was only reporting what it thought would draw more readers, regardless of the hard facts on the issue, and that the BBC was reporting them as a bunch of religious zealots bent on returning biology in Kansas to the 19th century. But there are other factors at work. The particulars of how school board members voted and the stances other local officials took are important to Topeka readers who want to hold elected officials accountable for representing their views. The short term economic impact of rewriting curricula and standardized tests matter far more in Topeka than in London. On the same token, a BBC reader in Scandinavia has nothing at stake when it comes to the opinions of Kansas policy makers, and the immediate budgetary woes carry no weight. The long term implications of the American political mentality and the ensuing economics make much more of a difference. In total, the differences in reporting style appear to stem from several different causes. Perhaps the most important is the proportion of readers in close proximately to the issue. While there is certainly cause for concern with the Topeka Capital-Journal's lack of impartiality and scope on the issue, the BBC cannot be rightly expected to cover the personal level details of such a localized debate in a media outlet with such massive global reach. Each source of news needs to cater to its readers, and each takes a different approach to doing so.

November 13, 2006

BBC vs. New York Times on Middle East

I chose to report on the differences in viewpoints from two sources. One being an American source and the other being a British source. I wanted to find out whether there are differences in the reporting methods of these medias in relation to the Middle East in general, not just Iraq. I also wanted to find out if people who blogged were different in their opinions as well. i wanted to know this becaus eii was curious to see if report things differently would make people think differntly according to what's being reported.


New York Times
In New Middle East, Tests for an Old Friendship-18 minutes
Blair Urges U.S. to Seek Help from Syria and Iran-9 minutes
Iraqi Prime Minister Promises Government Shake-Up-6 minutes
Influence Rises but Base Frays for Iraqi Cleric-12 minutes
As Hezbolah Seeks Power, Lebanon is Feeling Edgy-10 minutes
Military Team Undertakes a Broad Review of the Iraq War and the Campaign Against Terror- 5minutes
(video) U.S. Confronts Iran-8 minutes
Various blog postings on Middle East-20 minutes

BBC ( UK Version)
Array of articles about the Middle East: from Lebanon to Iraq (19 short articles)
About 56 minutes.
Various blog postings.-20 minutes


The BBC, or British Broadcasting Company, started in 1922. It started out as a national radio station. Jon Reith became the first general-director when the company formed into a corporation in 1926. BBC television hit the community in 1936 but was suspended after 1939 because of the outbreak of the war. Eventually BBC evolved branching out in the next forty years with multiple channels, a new community within colleges, and more radio offshoots of the original corporation. Recently, this past decade saw the BBC take on a new role in launching into new media such as the internet and channels for kids, teens, etc.
The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City. It is an international newspaper going back to 1851. It was a local/national newspaper until 1910. Then in 1910, it made its first trip to London, becoming an international newspaper. After which, many new facets of daily life such as travel, style, business, and others began appearing and expanded the newspaper to it’s now today’s standards. The company who owns this newspaper also owns the Herald Tribune and the Washington Post.


I wanted to look at the differences in viewpoint on Middle East affairs from an American viewpoint and an international viewpoint. I looked at the New York Times online articles and the BBC World News online as well. I looked at how the articles were reported in the sense of; is it bipartisan? Is it representative of what the country seems to be politically? Is it trying to appeal to a specific audience? I also looked at whether or not the online articles were from journalists or from bloggers. Then I also looked at some blogs just to get an idea of differentiation in the viewpoints of the papers versus the bloggers.
I found some interesting and good differentiation in some things and not so much in others. To begin, the articles that were from the journalists/anchors were all walking on the line of being bipartisan. Sometimes you could tell if they were leaning little one way, but for the most part, they are pretty legit in being neutral. However, the British side seemed harsher than the American articles in general. The British articles were very
To the point and blunt in their writing. They got right down to the gritty side of the story. They also had less sympathetic stories than American articles. What I mean is that the articles themselves seemed less sad, but more consequential according to the outcome of the article. They’d state who was at fault rather than mourn the deaths of whoever was killed. The British news articles also had more of a wider range of topics on the Middle East and didn’t focus on any one topic too much in particular. They did focus more on Iraq, but not by much. Some reasons for this might be because of relations with Iraq. They simply aren’t as involved with Iraq as much as we are though they did aid us for some time. So, there are more articles are about Israel and situations in Upper Africa/Middle East. Yet, the New York Times reported a lot on Iraq. All of the articles below the ones in the main headlines were almost all related to something dealing with Iraq. The only other topic that was mentioned a little more than usual was the incidences with Israel and Lebanon. This is probably because we are one of Israel’s only allies and most Americans feel as though Israel is a pretty good ally for the US. The reason for more Iraqi articles is very evident because we’re still involved with that country very intimately as of 2003. The fact that Saddam’s sentence for his crimes also was finalized sent lots of attention recently to this as well.
The next part I looked at were some blog postings by both British and American citizens. The recent posting I assume would be very Republican or a similar ideology in Britain. This would be the case because of the recent sentence for Saddam. However, I didn’t know if that would totally wrong seeing a show he was sentenced to hang, so maybe more liberal views would speak out. I did read skim a few liberal postings, but the majority is just an overwhelming majority in favor of getting rid of Saddam. Whether it is by hanging or whatever, people just wanted Saddam gone (the posting were all mixed up on this topic). Still, some blog postings weren’t even about Iraq. I didn’t read those but I saw their headlines. The British postings kind of fell in line with the article voices, though. It was more a harsh reality and more vicious in their words. They didn’t sugar coat a lot of their entries. Some did, but the majority agreed with the American views in the sense that they wanted Saddam gone. However, they didn’t agree on their ideologies, with the British blog postings being more liberal. A couple postings described that America shouldn’t even be in Iraq now that they have to think about it since Saddam’s sentencing. Whatever the case may be, the reason for this is probably a more liberal world view toward the war, but still a disliking politically for Iraq and Saddam. The postings were also more ranged than American postings. Seeing as how they covered more topics than the New York Times., it’s natural to see more reactions to other articles than just one topic.

November 12, 2006

Socialist Minnesota Debate: Why Support Democrats?

With the dust still settling from the elections, members and supporters of the local group, Socialist Alternative, met in a crowded room in the Walker Library on Saturday, November 11th for their first annual Socialist Minnesota Conference. Several speakers talked about issues such as class division, the war on terror, recent events in Oaxaca, and others from a Socialist perspective.

Perhaps the most interesting discussion with respect to what we have talked about on class was a debate between Ty Moore, organizer in Socialist Alternative, and Ed Felien, editor of The Pulse. The debate was titled “Should the left support progressive Democrats??

Ed made the classic “lesser of two evils? argument, also saying that progressives should vote for third parties when it won’t actually affect the outcome of the election. Ty Moore, however, made some interesting arguments about the way that party politics affects social movements, and how easily somebody becomes disenfranchised with party politics and gives up on activism through working with the Democratic Party. The basic argument laid out by Ty was that the Democratic Party is a “graveyard for social movements? and that once parties and candidates are elected to office, their language on certain issues changes, because of the pressure to fit into the status quo on Capitol Hill. The best example of this that he gave was the administration of Richard Nixon, which was in the time of strong social movements, versus the administration of Bill Clinton, when many progressives and leftists wound up supporting the centrist, neoliberal Clinton believing that Democrats would be easier to work with than Republicans, and therefor giving up energy that may have gone in to building movements in exchange for working on electing a politician. The administration of Richard Nixon was rather liberal in many ways, because of the expansion of women’s rights, environmental protections passed, and the eventual end to the war in Vietnam, because people were so active in those movements at the time. However, on the opposite side, we have the centrist Democrat Bill Clinton, who because of the lack of really close-knit social movements, was able to expand neoliberal policies throughout the world, despite the individual disagreements of many on the left.

Ty’s argument is one that is hard to disagree with, and many on the left still make the same mistake today. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans want an either immediate withdrawal or to soon start a gradual withdrawal, protests around the country have been getting smaller. The cause for this can be traced back to the campaign of 2004, when many people either worked for Kerry or stood down to give Kerry room, in hopes that if he won, they would have an influence over his decisions, despite the fact that he never spoke of leaving Iraq. And even now, after the Democrats have won the house and senate, we have Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean promising that there will be no real change in Iraq, leaving many on the left to ask their progressive democratic friends what the point of using so much energy in party politics was.

New York Times and Democracy Now!

I chose The New York Times and Democracy Now! as my media sources. The New York Times is a U.S. daily newspaper that is distributed internationally. It is owned by The New York Times Company, which publishes fifteen other newspapers. On the other hand, Democracy Now!, a non-profit organization, is a national, daily, independent TV and radio program. Democracy Now! is credited in pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S. I chose these two media sources because it pits a corporately owned newspaper with an independent TV/radio news source that can also be downloaded completely off-line. I wanted to investigate the differences in coverage of headline news for a single day and see how they differed on the coverage of the issues and if different issues were covered in each source.

i. Democracy now started off with exclaiming that the Democrats had taken the lead in the house, but they still didn’t know if they had taken the Senate. Discusses the reasons why voters turned to the democrats. It shows Keith Ellison, the first Muslim congressman and Bernie Sanders, the first socialist to win a seat in congress. It interviews them both, each for several minutes. They also show a clip of Rick Santorum, a republican congressman who lost the election. It then briefly discusses how Corker defeated Ford and emphasizes that Ford was the target ads funded by the Republican Party that were widely considered racist. Lieberman also won as an independent. It briefly goes over some of the referendums, South Dakota rejected the abortion ban, and Michigan banned some affirmative action. It then discusses in depth the voting problems reported across the country. Many of these problems were due to electronic voting machines. Some counties turned to paper ballots and some polling places had to stay open for an extra hour to accommodate the long lines that were a result of software problems, some people reported that they would press the screen for one candidate, and another candidate’s name would be recorded. There were also reports of voter intimidation, especially against Latinos. The next main headline was that eighteen Palestinians were killed in an attack by Israel that many are calling a “massacre.? Another forty were wounded, during the attack victims were sleeping. This attack comes one weak after Israel said the bombing had ended. It interviews a Palestinian resident first, than a representative from the Hamas government, and then an Israeli government spokesman is quoted. The next headline is that Ortega won the Nicaraguan election and beat the U.S. backed opponent. Bush had previously threatened sanctions if he had won, but the administration still hadn’t responded. The next headline was that thirty-five soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing in Pakistan, it stated that this attack could possibly be due to last week’s government’s attack on an Islamic school. The next headline was that Panama was elected to the UN security council. They were nominated because Venezuela was forced to nominate them by the U.S. The final headline, briefly mentioned, was that the L.A. Times Editor was forced to resign over refusing newsroom job cuts.

The New York Time’s front page headline was that the Democrats gained in the elections. It outlines that exit polls show that Independents, citing the war, favored democrats. On the front page there is also a brief article stating that “Polling places report snags, but not chaos.? There were some problems with faulty voting machines. There are also small headlines at the bottom of the front page that are explained in more detail on different pages. These headlines were, Terror Sentence in Britain, Ortega wins Nicaraguan Election, Rebuilding ties in Darfur, Drilling for Oil in Mexico, and the LA Times Editor forced out of a job. The next section was the International News section. On the first page there was a full page (almost full, lots of ads) devoted to Israel and Palestine. The headline was “Israel Declares End to Gaza Mission, but Firing Continues.? It says Palestinians are being attacked by Israelis because of several rockets fired, and it seems unnecessary because the devastation is so great, simple things like moving around are made difficult. However, it portrays Israelis as happy about the firing of rockets and suggestions towards stopping the violence are not well received. It states that Palestinians like the bombing simply because it scares Israelis. The next page is a half page article regarding the crime in Naples. The Comorra, a street gang in Naples that now deals in the drug trade is causing violence. It links increased gang violence with the release of several thousand minor criminals from the jails to relieve overcrowding. It also emphasizes the lack of work opportunities for youth in Naples. It then briefly mentions a case in which the French court cleared six former airline executives of criminal charges in crash of a French jetliner. It briefly outlines the disputes in the U.N. over confronting Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions. It is somewhat short. It discusses disagreements within the UN. It is noted that Americans are considered too harsh by other countries. Next there is a three quarters of a page regarding Saddam Hussein’s trial and his reaction to the death sentence. It says his mood has shifted greatly over the past week. Now he is much calmer. The other quarter of the page is about suspects who are still at large in an Iraqi Torture case. The suspects are members of the Interior Ministry in Iraq, who are in charge of overseeing Iraqi police. On the 10th page, it notes that Ortega won the election in Nicaragua. It emphasizes that he was a cold-war foe and “needs to govern democratically? and that “the mandate he has received does not give him the opportunity to do his will.? Another emphasized story was that in Thailand there are people advocating for Islamic law for the far south.

ii. Democracy Now! is a non-profit, daily, independent, radio and TV news service is also commonly downloaded online. It is hosted by Amy Goodman, and Juan Gonzales and is produced out of the Downtown Community Television Center, a community media center in New York City’s Chinatown. The mission of Democracy Now! is to provide access to perspectives rarely heard in U.S. corporate-sponsored media. They are funded completely through contributions from viewers, listeners, and foundations. They don’t accept any money from advertisers, corporations, or governments. Democracy Now! only started broadcasting widely every day shortly after September 11th, 2001. They are the only public media program that broadcasts over radio, satellite and cable television, shortwave radio, and the internet.

The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City and is distributed internationally. It is owned by the New York Times Company, which also owns fifteen other newspapers, including the Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune. It was founded on September 18th, 1851 by Henry Jarvis Raymond, a journalist and politician, and George Jones, a former banker. It was originally named, the New-York Daily Times. It is now published by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

iii. I have always considered the New York Times a pretty objective newspaper, especially compared to other news sources in the U.S. However, after comparing the New York Times, with Democracy Now! it was evident that there are political influences that dictate the content of the New York Times. One aspect of my research that I found very interesting was the difference in coverage regarding the polling machines. Democracy Now! clearly outlined the many problems that were a result of the polling machines and other voter problems on election day. The New York Times only briefly mentioned that there were any problems with the polling machines, and the headline read, “Polling Places Report Snags, But Not Chaos,? even though the content of the brief article reported very much to the contrary. It seemed like the New York Times had a relatively unbiased coverage of the topic, however the headline was definitely misleading. Another interesting fact about the elections was that Democracy Now! took a much more in depth look at individual candidates that won and were unusual, such as Keith Ellison, and Bernie Sanders, while the New York Times mostly highlighted the fall of already established republican politicians who replaced by typical white male democrats.

The difference in coverage regarding international issues was also surprising. Especially concerning the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the elections in Nicaragua. Democracy Now! placed more importance on the story by having it be one of the main stories. It also emphasized that he was a leftist and the Bush administration was opposed to him and threatened sanctions if he had won, but he was elected by a majority vote by the people. The New York Times focused more on Ortega as a cold-war foe, and emphasized his anti-democratic tendencies. It did not mention that the Bush administration had threatened sanctions. It also said that his winning the election could have been due to more parties on the right, and less parties on the left. Even though it did mention it on the front page, the article was very short, and found on the tenth page. The differences in coverage regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were also remarkably different. Democracy now stated that many considered the attack against the Palestinians as a “massacre.? It states that the Palestinians were sleeping during the attacks and the attacks were made one week after Israel had agreed to stop the bombings. The New York Times, on the other hand, while emphasizing that many do consider the bombings inappropriate, it is portrayed as a response to Palestinian violence, that Palestinians are in support of. It seems that The New York Times is more sympathetic to Israel, while Democracy now is more sympathetic to Palestine. It was also interesting that the story about Panama being elected to the U.N. Security Council was covered somewhat extensively by Democracy Now! and I did not that see that story mentioned anywhere in the New York Times.

November 8, 2006

Canvassing for the elections

This past weekend I got to have the not so exciting experience of campaigning for Patty Wetterling in Lexington, Minnesota. As I have mentioned in earlier blog entries, I work at NARAL pro-choice Minnesota as a door-to-door fundraiser. Around election time people bid on us (this year it was between the SEIU and the AFL-CIO) and we get to go work on campaigns. The AFL-CIO “won? us and so we went off to Bachman’s district to campaign against her.

When I arrived, the office was chaotic. Everyone was rushing to get their papers folded that we had to hand out and learning how to use the palm-pilots. We were going to go to union households and households that had been registered with Working America, a branch of the AFL-CIO that works to get conservatives to vote by their pocket-book issues instead of social issues. We got dropped off individually in different places and we set off. Our goal was to hit 100 doors or more in about four hours. The palm pilot was the most interesting and kind of creepy thing about it. There is some kind of software that we canvassers call “the van? which stores tons of information about everyone, probably even you, in it so we can predict who will vote which way, etc. The palm pilot is hooked up to “the van? so that when we go up to the door and record the result of our conversation with the target person into the palm pilot and then the palm pilot feeds it into “the van.? Anyway, our job was to walk to target households. The palm pilot told you where to go, if they were union or Working America, and their previous history regarding if they said they were democrat or republican, what their key issues were, and if they favored Pawlenty or another candidate for governor, etc. We would go up to the door and then tailor our quick 30 second message to what they previously said their issue was. We would go up to the door if they were union and say “Hey, my name is Amelia and I’m with the Union.? Even though we didn’t actually have any idea which union they were in, we just knew they were in one.

I realized as the day got later and later that the target households were really targeted. Many times people would reply…?Get us off your list!?, “I can make up my own mind about who I’m going to vote for!?, “Stop coming by!? One old man even said, “I’ve been a God damned democrat for over 60 years, you can stop coming and telling me who to vote for!? and then followed that up with a “thanks kiddo!? Some people were less blunt, but would say things like, “haven’t you stopped by three times already?? The truth was that we had.

As a canvasser, we are constantly told that we determine the outcomes of the races that we work on. I believe that, to a point. I could be wrong, but when people are that targeted, they know that they are targeted, and so it makes them even more adamant about making up their own minds, and they might even consider the people targeting them to be out of touch with reality. Previous to this weekend we were doing persuasions, which I believe does make a difference to some extent. However, its hard for me to believe that going out two days before the election and just dropping off literature and saying “Hey I’m with the union and I support Patty Wetterling because she’s good on jobs? to some 50 year old union man who has been loyal to his union for 30 years helps at all, especially when it’s coming from a 19 year old college student. I feel like its obvious from the way that we “drop literature and go? that we are supposed to hit 100 or more doors a night. If we spent more time with the people and actually had time to create some kind of relationship with them, like what often happens fundraising, they might actually listen to you and take what you have to say into consideration. Otherwise you aren’t much more than a walking campaign ad and everyone hates those.

Negative campaigning

Quite a few of you blogged about negative campaigning over the last few weeks. I read an interesting article in the NY Times today on the subject that's worth a read. The author, Barry Schwartz makes an interesting connection between how people vote and psychological experiments on how people reward custody of children in hypothetical divorce settlements. Seem like a stretch? It's an interesting read -- Check it out.

November 7, 2006

Capturing the Youth Vote

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear the Reverend Jesse Jackson, as well as Keith Ellison speak to college students at Coffman Union. The event was hosted by the Black Student Union, and was an event designed to get the word out to college students about voting. Although the pitch of the speeches were designed to garner support for Keith Ellison, I also found them educational, and it was a unique experience to hear the prominent black activist Jesse Jackson give his opinions on the state of America. I agreed with much of what he had to say, particularly about the faults of our current administration, as well as the need for the youth to make their voice heard and take part in the democratic process of voting, however, I did take issue with a couple of his topics.

One point that Reverend Jackson made struck me as particularly applicable to the situation American society faces today, namely that citizens of this nation have begun to take the electoral process for granted, and as such, voter participation has declined signifcantly. Reverend Jackson spoke especially about how black people have only enjoyed the unrestricted right to vote for forty years, but already their participation has waned considerably. The same is true of American society as a whole, and in particular, the younger generation. From my own personal experience, as well as the survey I conducted, one of the main detractions for younger voters seems to be that they feel that politicians don't care about issues that affect them, and their votes do not matter. In a society where we are constantly bombarded with stories about government officials being on the payroll of large corporations, the entire idea of a representative democracy rings hollow. It often seems that these politicians are acting in their own interests, or on the behalf of special interest groups. Meanwhile, issues like education get pushed to the back burner, and subsequently, tuition rises at the University of Minnesota by 87% in four years. I believe that if the younger voters are educated about how politics affects them on a personal level, and that their vote can make a difference, we will see an upward trend in voting among the youth.

November 6, 2006


Just a reminder that tomorrow is election day. If you're unsure of how you want to vote, check out the Star Tribune's MyVote site, enter in your address and get a list of all the races on your ballot and information about each of the candidates.

And, for those of you voting in Minneapolis, there's an Instant Run-off referendum on the ballot, which we talked about last week in class.