quest report: “news media bias in 2008 presidential election” by Arvind Diddi

Submitted by Aubrey Mulvey

This Quest program was a content analysis of the television coverage of the 2008 presidential election through broadcast, cable, and public television. The program started with Diddi giving an example of bias in media. He pulled up an article which had the headline “CNN is less biased than Fox.” The speaker of the quote was none other than Newt Gingrich. This has drawn attention back to bias in media, particularly in television. Apparently Newt Gingrich made this claim feeling Fox was biased towards his political opponent Mitt Romney.

According to the presenter, news viewership has seen an increase in the past year. Network TV evening news is watched by 21.6 million people during a presidential election. It is very important that television reporting remains unbiased, given its effect on public opinion and influence on registered, undecided voters who are following the campaign by night to try to decide where to vote. But viewers are becoming increasingly aware of media bias. According to the presenter 55% of Americans believe news media is politically biased. This is a 10% increase since the 1980s.

We then broke down the television coverage of the Obama vs. McCain campaign. Diddi said 846 stories having partisan assertions were published by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, and PBS — 425 of these stories were favored by Democrats, 48% of the stories were favored by Republicans and there was a balance of about 10%. It was also noted that cable and public television gave stories for both parties fairly equally while broadcasting networks appeared more uneven.

This was an intriguing program which brought more attention to the ethics of media.

Teen Bullying a Crisis for Government

We’ve seen all the news headlines; all the Facebook events that have been made by people crying out to the government to take action against teen bullying, so that a crisis such as five gay teens committing suicide over harassment in three weeks doesn’t happen again. It’s time for the government to stop ignoring these calls, much like the school officials did in many of the teens’ cases, and beginning to do what the American people are asking for. We are asking for change.

Proposition 8 is a great place to start.

Over the years, Proposition 8 has been one of the most controversial laws to have been passed in the U.S. Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment that was passed in the November 2008 state elections in California. The amendment added Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights to the California constitution, and stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

A statement like this is sure to bring uproar from the American people, regardless of what side you’re supporting, and that it did. How could a nation that is all about representing freedom ban someone from marrying just because of gender preferences? Marriage is about love, not genitalia, so to stop gay people from being legally married is going against their constitutional rights as Americans.

Many Americans pleaded this case to the government time and time again, and luckily, the government is finally starting to listen. Kristin M. Perry vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a federal lawsuit that has been filed in California that challenges the federal constitutionality of Proposition 8. On August 4, 2010 a judge ruled that the amendment violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On Aug. 16, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the judgment would remain pending appeal.

It took two years for this suit to be filed, but at least it’s finally being done. It’s outrageous that Schwarzenegger believes it’s okay for gays to be harassed in this way.  (I understand he now says he wants to allow gay couples to be able to marry, but come on, he vetoed the legislation for it twice before.) Keeping them from marriage as adults is just like bullying them for simply being gay as a teenager. Americans are making life too difficult for people to be who they are, which is a shame because this is supposed to be the land of the free. The government needs to realize that preventing young kids such as Tyler Clementi, 18, Asher Brown, 13, Seth Walsh, 13, Justin Aaberg, 15, Raymond Chase, 19, and Billy Lucas, 15, from taking their own lives starts with them. If adults are making a big deal about people being gay, then their children are going to learn from those actions.

If the government wouldn’t make a big deal about gay marriage and it was legal to do so in all 50 states rather than only in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, then the American people would eventually come to terms with it and the majority of the people would accept it as the “norm.” Then, the parents wouldn’t be making such a big deal and the children wouldn’t see the parents so upset over it. If the children don’t see the parents so upset about it, then they wouldn’t learn that being gay is different and “wrong,” so they wouldn’t harass so many teenagers.

Ellen Degeneres, a famous TV talk show host and openly gay woman, issued a statement to all of her viewers about the recent teen suicides. “One life lost in this senseless way is tragic, but four lives lost is a crisis,” she said. “Something needs to be done.” That “something” needs to begin with the government passing Proposition 8, and legalizing marriage, regardless of gender, in all 50 states. Forget about the politics and stop worrying so much about whether or not you’ll receive a lot of votes. Do what’s best for this country; what’s best for the teens who are supposed to grow up and make a difference in this country. If you don’t, you won’t know whose life you’re claiming. Isn’t a teen’s life more important than all the scams and schemes associated with politics, anyway?