Tag Archives: journalism

Toledo TV Stations Pimp Popepalooza In Philadelphia

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image of Pope FrancisNorthwest Ohio has a large Catholic population and at least two of the Toledo TV stations fall over each other promoting the Church and their events. Most of the time it seems like they act like PR agencies rather than news reporters. Both stations plan extensive coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. Those plans made me wonder who was paying for it.
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Bad Journalism About The Affordable Care Act Trickling Down To My Local Station

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WBNS 10TV Columbus OhioThe problems with the national Healthcare.gov website have been reported quite a bit by a national media that loves to parrot Republican talking points. I really hoped that the bias in the reporting would stay with the national media and my local media would do a better job. I was wrong. The one station I watch most often, WBNS 10TV, in Columbus, breathlessly reported the problems signing up for the insurance exchange but has failed to offer any context or any success stories.
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Facts Don’t Have A Political Slant – Journalists Need To Do More Fact Checking And Less Stenography

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screenshot of 'Journalist' Chuck Todd
‘Journalist’ Chuck Todd

Toledo Blade columnist Marilou Johanek wrote a post about journalists letting their opinion into the stories they do. While I agree with the general idea of her article, there is something missing: Facts don’t have a political slant. What I feel is worse for people today is the failure of journalists to give the facts and the context in a story. That should be their primary job.
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Tiger Woods Who?

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image of Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

Maybe I’m missing something but the amount of time the sports media spends on talking about golfer Tiger Woods doesn’t match his recent work on the links. Maybe it’s just my local station but when reporting on the recent US Open the sports anchor mentioned the guy who won but also spent the same amount of time mentioning where Woods ended up on the leader board. Make no mistake, Tiger will be on the list of great golfers of history but he seems to be past his prime and doesn’t deserve the amount of coverage he gets in the press today.
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In political discourse, cable maybe minuscule but broadcast news not helping

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Cable news punditry may reach a small hardcore section of voters but their broadcast news brethren seem to follow their lead which doesn’t contribute to accurate information for the average voter.

Cable news is like fantasy football leagues for the political wonks. The audience for the pundits on cable never rises above 3 million total viewers. But viewership is never close to the average number of voters in the US (in 2008 there were 133 million total votes cast). The broadcast news channels have more viewers (ABC, NBC, CBS) with an average of 14 million a day. Even radio has more of an audience than cable TV news channels.

Of all those shows, only O’Reilly gets significantly above two million total viewers. By contrast, NBC’s nightly news program doubles O’Reilly’s ratings in both total viewers and in the coveted 25-54 bracket. Even CBS, the lowest rated of the three, easily outdraws cable, and both broadcast and cable news face the same aging demographics: the median Fox News viewer is 65, two to three years older than the median broadcast news viewer, and CNN and MSNBC aren’t far behind.

But outpacing all of TV news is radio, and that’s where Koppel and other media observers should be focusing their attention. At first glance, radio may look like a conservative-dominated field. Rush Limbaugh’s weekly audience of 15 million dwarfs any television news program, and even Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck’s radio audiences are several times their TV audiences.

In fact, though, NPR provides a counterweight both to conservative talk radio, and to the charge that both sides have equally partisan media. Twenty-seven million people listen to NPR each week, and its morning and evening news programs get fourteen and thirteen million weekly listeners respectively, just behind Limbaugh.

The Tiny Cable News Universe

But the conclusion of the article quoted above – that the audience is small – is beside the point. It seems the drivers of broadcast news follow cable’s lead in deciding what is news and the coverage of the issues and often either give misleading information or don’t squash outright lies quickly enough.

* Polling data during and after last week’s midterm elections suggested that many Americans genuinely believe President Obama has raised their taxes — even though the reality is that our president actually lowered them for most of us. This means that people trust pundits like Rush Limbaugh, a major force behind spreading that lie, over the numbers on their own tax returns.
* Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer–despite the evidence outside their windows.
* The new Congress will probably try to restore millions of dollars of funding for scientifically inaccurate, largely disastrous abstinence-only curriculum in schools, many of which have been shown to spread lies like “condoms don’t work” and “abortion causes cancer.”
* News outlets picked up a wildly inflated and completely outlandish claim from an Indian blog that Obama’s trip abroad cost $200 million a day–and listeners have swallowed it. (In this case, the White House flat-out denied it.)
The scary thing is, these kinds of rumors have a way of taking root in the popular consciousness. Just as the election season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if they’re not countered quickly and surely.

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe — And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them

Another example is the media blow job NBC gave to former President Bush who is trying to sell a book. Matt Lauer, looking for his Frost-Nixon moment, never pushed Bush hard enough to actually answer questions about his presidential screw ups like Katrina and the Iraq war. I mean when the biggest nugget from the interview was Bush being hurt by the statement of a rapper just made me sad for journalism.

Broadcast media does a disservice to the citizens of this country by letting cable news pundits lead them by the nose and giving up their needed advocacy for the truth. Just ask a follow up question – please!