9/30/2004

What to Believe?

I took a survey of films class, to fulfill a general requirement, and in that class I learned some things about how directors use camera angles, different types of lenses, and the actors positions in the seen to let the viewers see what the director wants them to see. Thus making the audience think and believe what the director wants them to think and believe.

As I watch the news, I see things that are happening throughout the world and also right here in the United States. I see a sixty minutes broadcast turn up papers on the president of the United States of American that basically says he tried to dodge the war in Vietnam, going against many things that he stands for and basically depicting him as a coward. After further investigation that turned out to be false and those papers were not authentic. We all know that the news, just like any other television program requires viewers. If there was no viewers there would be no television. Do we really know how much the news is "fudged", just a little, to get the latest breaking news?

10 comments:

John West said...

The news media and all media for that matter do make mistakes from time to time. I, like Joe, was rather upset with Dan Rather this past week for his major blunder concerning President Bush's past Air National Guard record. Clearly, there is left-wing out there in the media that is trying to discredit Bush at any cost. We, hopefully as registered and informed voters, need to discern from what is correct and uncorrect. I personally am sick of hearing and seeing the ad's that are trying to discredit both Bush and Kerry and want to hear about the issues facing American's now and not 25 years ago.

Jake said...

With the media having to be so involved in every election in order for the voter to be informed on issues facing America, it seems this election has turned out to be a competition on what each candidate did in the past and who was more successful. Who cares? The question should be, what can they do for us in the future? The media seems to concetrate on what has happened, instead of what can be done in the future. Maybe as we near the election we will see more of what they can do to improve our nation rather than their image.

Bryce Larkin said...

I could not agree the writer more. If the media was not interesting then who would watch the news? The media plays a large role in making the most shocking stories public, especially during this presidential election. I was watching the news when they apologized to the American people for not telling the truth about President Bush. I thought it was very noble. Hopefully, the media will pay closer attention on what they are putting on the news.

Julie said...

I wouldn't be surprised if we continue to see "fudged" reporting on news programs. We have numerous 24 hour news channels that constantly require fresh, exciting news to report in order to keep our attention. Unfortunately sometimes in an attempt to acquire a great story they don't take the time to verify it. They're rushing to be the first station to broadcast it. Remember the mistaken presidential elections of 2000?

Bruce Banner said...

You don't believe everything you here. A story given by the media is like a pie. The reporter obtains the story which is the whole pie. The editors slice the pie into slices. When the public receives it, we only get a small slice and not the entire pie. We only hear what the editors really want us to hear and eliminate the rest.

peter_parker said...

It's sad that negativity is the focus of all news. Yet, if they didn't report scandals, what would they report? I can hear the anchor now: "This just in....It has been confirmed that the USofA is a great place to live. Let's hug."

It makes you wonder what undisclosed objective that newsperson or persons have. In another class a student did a presentation on Iraq and on some of the great, positive things that are happening there that are not even slightly mentioned on the news. It was interesting (I won't go into detail), but at the same time it was a reminder that newspeople certain intentions and can cause damage.

It happens in business too. Companies report certain profit levels to make themselves look more or less profitable because of some hidden agenda.

Dr. Tufte said...

I have two thoughts here.

First, any history expert will tell you that elections are a lot cleaner than they used to be (for example, one 19th century campaign featured the slogan "Ma, Ma, where's Pa?" because one of the candidates was rumored to have abandoned a bastard child).

Second, you know what an economist says to all this? Markets can solve almost all problems. I don't have any problem with biased media outlets. I have a problem with biased media outlets that have some sort of market power that they don't deserve. We used to be very badly in this situation, and we are evolving away from it (things are getting better not worse). We used to have 3 networks because that is what the government said we should have. That alone gave them market power. Along with that there was a perception and expectation that they were neutral. The difference to an economist is that we tend to view that market structure as one that is likely to lead to corruption (due to the lack of free entry and exit). In the 1960s the networks were even accused of being too conservative because they didn't adequately cover the evolving protest movement. Another part of the unusual arrangement of market power in those days was a rule that said that the news had to provide equal time to differing viewpoints. No one could afford to provide that unless they were big, and even then it was limited to the two major parties. Congress relaxed that rule in the mid-80s and (politically oriented) talk radio blossomed. The message there is that those shows that are popular are an indicator of what people want to hear. And now we have blogs.

What this all has in common is that we are moving from an oligopoly (with legalized collusion) to perfect competition in news provision. That will make news cheaper and easier to get, but also put you in the tougher position of probably having to get multiple opinions on different issues.

Maudi said...

I do beleive that sometimes the news likes to make a "good story" so they might give you just the interesting, shocking facts so that you'll stayed tune to their channel for the latest breaking news. We have to watch the news or read the paper to find out what is going on in the world and it the United States, and unforunatley we are trusting the source. Hopefully, those sources that we are choosing, choose to be honest in all of their stories.

Jordan said...

Dr. Tufte said:

"What this all has in common is that we are moving from an oligopoly (with legalized collusion) to perfect competition in news provision."

I think that the media, for a long time, could very easily shape people's opinions by skewing the news they reported. But now, with the internet, it's getting easier to find the "true" story. The media will have to take more responsibility for the accuracy of their coverage. If not, they won't last in a growing competitive market.

Dr. Tufte said...

I think we're already seeing this with the collapse of newspapers and network news.