Over the past week my team and I monitored Al Jazeera, a non-bias news source owned by the Qatar royal family. The purpose of this project was to analyze the website of a particular news source to find their certain viewpoints and how they effect the public. When I first started reading articles I found that their website layout is user friendly. They made it easy to search for articles that I was interested in by key words and/or date. The main page has a flow of trending articles with eye catching pictures. Their captions for the articles are bold and tend to show a misleadingly bias towards a certain topic only to discover a neural view after reading through the article.
Al Jazeera gives a uniquely non-bias look into American news almost as if they write from the outside looking in. The royal family of Qatar (to my knowledge) doesn’t have a strong political agenda in the United States so it makes sense they wouldn’t have a strong bias writing on American topics. The general style (Dealing with both international and national news) of Al Jazeera news articles is very factual. It is unique in the way that it gives you the opportunity to formulate your own options. On the articles that are opinionated it prompts you with “Opinion:” and then proceeds with the title.
Syrian Refugees, the American 2016 election, and gay marriage were hot topics this week. Even approaching controversial issues it was refreshing to be told factual based information rather than having a news source try to pass off their opinion as fact. When we compared the main topics of American news sources with Al Jazeera there was a decent amount of overlap on top stories. Where they varied were the stances on those particular topics.
A top story this week was about Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusal to serve marriage license to gay couples after a court order. Fox news told the same facts as Al Jazeera but played out the events in a different light:
Title of Article: “Kentucky clerk who denied gay marriage licenses released from jail”
“Davis was greeted by a crowd of singing and cheering supporters as she exited the jail. They sang “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America,” as her attorney vowed Davis would be back to work “this week.” -Fox News
Al Jazeera news story:
Title of Article: “Kim Davis is a symbol of a past whose time is over”
“Since Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis was taken into federal custody Thursday for refusing the Supreme Court’s order to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples (and subsequently released on the condition she not interfere with the issuing of marriage licenses), the religious right has made the Democrat into an icon. Republican presidential candidates are elevating her as the poster child of the Barack Obama administration’s alleged crusade against religious liberty. But by using her government position to force same-sex couples into conforming to her religious beliefs, Davis has instead cast herself as a lasting symbol of bigotry.”
Fox news is a conservative news source that supports the republican party so it makes sense that they would write an article that pleases more conservative consumers. Al Jazeera on the other hand is a national and international news source that has a larger population of consumers from many viewpoints. Its practically impossible for Al Jazeera to be completely un-biased because every one has an opinion. The royal family of Qatar has an agenda even if its not an American one but they do a better job of delivering the facts. The Fox news agenda is just lot more prominent to begin with. The Juxtaposition the two articles highlights the way American news is both produced and consumed.
We put a lot of trust into our media. People want to believe the information they are given is both true and trustworthy. What is not highly publicized is that 90% of American media is owned by six companies. We are letting 232 Media Executives control the consumption of information of 277 million Americans (information found on Business Insider).
For more on this:
I find these facts absolutely terrifying. No one business should have that much control over the peoples consumption of the media and daily news . The media tells the public what they should be concerned about. If the businesses in charge of giving the public information is corrupted by greed and power then it cannot be trusted. Our news sources shouldn’t be controlled by the people who have their own agenda for money or political power.
Lutz, Ashley. “These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 14 June 2012. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.
After reading through the Business Insider article I have concluded Disney owns my childhood. Everything my brother and I watched as kids was produced by Disney. From Saturday morning cartoons to Monday night football. You get exposed to Disney’s media at a young age and Disney to some effect has the power to influence your views and outlooks on life. They teach young girls what is beautiful and teach young boys what a man is suppose to be. They make princess dolls with pretty pink dresses for girls and swords to fight dragons for boys. We are placing such pressure on children from a young age to look and act a certain way.
When I was working with inner-city children in DC I tutored a little girl who kept telling me that she didn’t think she was pretty and she wished she looked like me. This broke my heart for a variety of reasons the main one being that from the age of 8 she already believed that in order to be deemed beautiful you had to be tall and blonde. My reply was she was beautiful because there is no one version of beauty but she was gripping a Elsa from frozen notebook in hand and she was already convinced otherwise.
Its became clear to me that something has to be done about the way our generation consumes media. The government is suppose to get rid of monopolies but if it benefits them then whey would they? What Republican Party member is going to go after Fox News? Who in actuality is going to go after Disney?
More recently, through the internet people have been able to create their own media. One of the main platforms is Youtube. Youtube gives people a platform to create their own news stories, share opinions, and create their own entertainment. The more ways people create and consume their own content the less we contribute to media monopolies. We live in the information era. Anything we want to know or share is just at our finger tips. My hope is that we will continue not be a silent generation but instead one that makes a change.