Media: Is “News” Really What it Seems?

     Have you ever stopped to think about how much the media influences us? We are often so consumed by what the media says is happening that we forget to form our own opinions. During the past week I got the chance to read an article off of each day as part of a media monitoring journal. Each day there were new headlines and articles, and it was extremely interesting to see how the week’s stories developed. 

     To start things off, I was surprised at how Fox News presented their articles on their website. There was ALWAYS an article about something occurring in the political world, and that was the main headliner every day. Down below the main article there were two other articles that Fox felt the public would be intrigued by; usually one having to deal with society/religion and the other one some sort of crime (it’s a little frightening how often the crime articles would pop up- yikes!!). 

As one of the main news-providing networks, I was expecting Fox News to have an angle, and a crowd that they represented. I had watched Fox News before and had noticed that they leaned more towards supporting the Republican Party, but I really noticed it more when I read the online articles. Some of the articles’ titles even gave away their bias to the Republican Party. Take “European Refugee Crisis: Possible Problem For Clinton?” for instance. The fact that the writer tied Hillary’s campaign into the issue of the European Refugee Crisis explains how Fox News is trying to do anything to make her look worse! Another article was titled “Trump Signs Pledge Not to Run as Independent in 2016.” Just by reading the title I inferred that the Republican Party would be safe from the threat of Donald Trump running against them if he were not elected to be the Republican presidential candidate. And that is precisely what the article was about (go me!).  Image result for fake news stories funny

     As far as the articles about crime go, there was a shooting of an Illinois police officer on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015. Fox News covered this story throughout the week, starting off with the first day only knowing minor details and then finishing off with video footage and knowledge about who the suspects were. This caught my attention because each day I realized I was skipping right over all of the political articles (who wouldn’t- they’re so boring) and went straight to reading about the latest news on the Illinois police officer shooting. Another crime that I read about was humorous and completely out of the ordinary, at least from what I would assume for most people. Titled “Oklahoma Game Wardens Find Hunting Blind Made of Pot Plants”, you can guess how interesting this article was. Although this was not necessarily a headlining article, it grabbed my attention by its title and unusual situation. Come to find out, three men were hunting doves before the season had started, which is a crime all on its own. They were hunting out of a hunting blind made partially of marijuana plants. Further searching was done and one of the men had more drugs which was yet another crime in the eyes of the law. As I was laughing to myself at how ridiculous these men must have been, I could only imagine what the reporters covering the issue must have thought- and then what the editors of Fox News were thinking while hearing about these dumb criminals. Other articles revolving around crime were full of tragedy and gore, so I assume that if there is any type of crime to poke fun at, then it is added to their website in order to bring some light to the more serious issues.  

     Besides my own, there were other groups in my writing seminar class that did the same type of media monitoring throughout this past week, only with different media outlets. I noticed during our class discussion, that Fox News shared some same articles with CNN (regarding politics mostly, such as the article regarding the European Refugees and H. Clinton). The main difference between CNN and Fox News however is the fact that CNN leans more towards supporting the Democratic political party as opposed to the republican party. Both media outlets could have a news article about the same story, but it would be based off of two completely different viewpoints. Al Jazeera on the other hand was a media outlet that reported mostly neutral news, for those that do not like to be swayed in a certain direction while watching/reading the news. That is the whole reason why there are different news channels and websites though. Various types of articles and news reporting relates to different people.

     I believe that the limited ownership of media outlets limits the diversity of opinions and viewpoints within the media. For instance, Disney owns the ABC, ABC family, and ESPN networks, which are all major sources for people’s entertainment etc. Google also is a huge owner of various media outlets. In fact, where is the first place that you go when you want to look something up? That’s right. Google. The main issue with this is that it limits people from expanding their horizons. Since the media is what people look to for approval, if one of the large companies does not approve of a certain idea, then it is reflected in each of their smaller media sites (it could be a very small issue or a large one it really doesn’t matter). 

     By doing this media monitoring journal project, I was able to see how much the media truly can influence a person’s understanding of the news. It makes a difference where the information being read is coming from- some articles are purely based on opinions and certain positions rather than factual information. This is smart to keep in mind while deciding on what you want to read or hear in the news. So be careful kids!!! Think before you read. 


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