CleverMonkey

The Opposition Press

What’s Important? Madonna Adoption vs. the Military Commissions Act October 27, 2006

Just a quickie during lunchtime. I decided to take a look at the level of coverage various stories get on popular News websites. Today we’ll pit the Madonna Adoption against the Military Commissions Act.

CNN – www.CNN.com

The term Madonna Adoption brings up this:

CNN.com results for Madonna Adoption
27 total results, quite conservative for a website as popular as CNN.

Next, a search for the term Military Commissions Act returns this:

CNN.com results for Military Commissions Act
That’s two (2) results. That’s right, an act that, “makes possible the permanent detention and torture (as defined by the Geneva Conventions) of anyone – including American citizens – based solely on the decision of the President.”

Surely this is an anomaly, Fox News is supposed to be Fair and Balanced, surely they’ll have more coverage of the Military Commissions Act than this.

Let’s see

The same search using the terms, Madonna Adoption returned this at the FoxNews website (www.foxnews.com)

FoxNews.com results for Madonna Adoption

Six Hundred and Sixty (660) results. Somewhat more what we’d expect for a web search.

Now, the term Military Commissions Act

FoxNews.com results for Military Commissions Act

One hundred and fifteen (115) results. Significantly more than CNN, but still only 17.5% or just over 1/6th of the coverage that Mad gets. Well I guess now we know what’s really important, or at least what the Mainstream “News” Media feels the American Public should be concerned with and it’s not the signing away of their Civil Liberties, not by a long shot.

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A Daily Lesson in Media Literacy? Sure, why not. October 26, 2006

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Question: Which, if any, of the following fit the criteria for Endangered Species as defined by the CWF?

  1. Whooping Crane
  2. Swift Fox
  3. Journalistic Integrity
  4. All of the above

All you over 40s, stop peaking at your neighbour’s paper, and all you under 30s close that Wikipedia window, the rest of you are Gen X’ers and are too jaded and hip to bother answering that question anyway. The answer, sadly, is 4. The majestic Whooping Crane can now only be found in Wood Buffalo National Park these days and their numbers are estimated to be under 200. Similarly, journalistic integrity has all but disappeared from it’s natural habitat of the mainstream news media, forced out by predators, hunters, and trappers who use it’s likeness to lure their pray (public opinion) which they quickly devour completely. Some of the threats to journalistic integrity that are found in the wild are;

  • The 24 hour news network, by forcing journalists to constantly have some ‘breaking news’ story to report these networks confuddle (harry potter word?) audiences into thinking that the stories they report are actually important. In many instances stories that are actually important are not sufficiently reported at all.
  • Corporate interference in news reporting, also related to the “news’tainment” phenomenon, corporations seek to make profit at all costs, that is their nature. Therefore, if a story is not entertaining enough it is either sensationalized or not reported at all.
  • Bias, many times journalists, inadvertently, insert their own opinions and beliefs into their article. However, increasingly often the opinions, beliefs, and political interests of journalists, corporations, and owners is actually a governing factor in the method that the news media reports stories. Hence, some news anchors feel they can instruct producers to, TURN HIS MIC OFF!!! if a source says something they don’t agree with.
  • Spin, this involves selective reporting and omission of certain facts pertaining to stories. Also, more often than one might think, false facts and entire stories are reported, in addition important stories may not be reported at all. In these cases the unreported stories fade away and fail to exist because (as Peter Mackay taught Canadians this week) if it isn’t recorded, it never happened.

I can hear you all stirring in your seats right now, “what can we do? How do we help save Journalistic Integrity from extinction? Should we donate to the WWF?” Put your pocketbooks away, Vince McMahon wont be needed this time (heheh). Instead, much like a great American hero once said, “the power is yours!” Media literacy is our first weapon against these usurpers who would erase Journalistic Integrity from our memories. Now we are all busy with work, and all the gadgets that were supposed to make life easier have only succeeded in making the home a workplace as well. So, we at Clevermonkey propose to examine a news story each day and highlight the issues we see within the article. We are aware that some of some of you actually wanted to get jobs after University/College graduation so we’ll keep the Poli-Sci/Comm Studies/Journalism School/English jargon to a minimum or else provide explanations or links thereto. And, remember….

The Power is Yours!!!