What’s Behind Your News?

Have you stopped to think what’s behind your news? What news networks feed to us is just as important as what they don’t feed us. It’s important to take what is presented to you with a grain of salt, because every company including your news network has an agenda. Today, you can get your news from a variety of networks such as Fox News, CNN, NBC, Al Jazeera, ESPN, and any number of blogs or websites online. These networks uniquely construe and present information in the way that will most benefit them.

I had the pleasure of covering Al Jazeera articles over the course of a week analyzing and summarizing their blog posts. Although I had never actually visited the news network before I had heard of it through some of my friends. One thing that stood out to me was that I was told it was the place to go for the most accurate news, because it was unbiased due to being based outside of the United States. I decided to do some research on the overall American opinion on the network with a google search “What do Americans think of Al Jazeera?” and discovered that the network is not nearly as widely known as major networks such as Fox News and NBC. Some republicans claim it is a terrorist network while others say it really is just an unbiased network that tells it how it is. I wanted to evaluate for myself whether I thought there would be bias in the articles. I discovered that the network is owned by the royal family of Qatar, and that the country seems to have a strong relationship with the United States. Which erased thoughts that some articles may be slightly anti-American.

(An image from the controversial broadcast of Osama Bin Laden on Al Jazeera) image courtesy of http://media2.s-nbcnews.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/060120/060120_jazeera_hmed_3p.grid-6×2.jpg

Upon entering the website you notice Aljazeera America along with their logo on top of a blue banner. There is a drop down bar with options to change the language from English to a variety of Middle Eastern languages. I noticed there was no option for Spanish, Italian, German, and a variety of other common languages. The next drop down button located next to the search bar provides tabs for news, opinion, video, shows, schedule, and live. Under these tabs are advertisements for Adidas shoes, which interestingly enough I was looking at just the other day. How did they know? The big headliners that they present all seem to be political related with the titles: “Did this shadowy pro-Sanders super PAC just dupe James Bond”, “US to take in 10,000 refugees following criticism” , “Iran nuclear deal survives as Dems block key vote” , and “States that fought same-sex marriage owe huge legal fees.” I did not detect any bias in the titles of any of these articles. http://america.aljazeera.com/?utm_source=aje&utm_medium=redirect

http://watchdog.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/12/23-BernieSanders.jpg

One of the main topics that Al Jazeera writes about is the thousands of refugees coming out of Syria who have been displaced from their homes due to ISIS and their country’s civil war. In one article my group covered: “Gulf Countries Face Pressure to take in more Syrian refugees” Al Jazeera details the effort that the Gulf Cooperation Council has put in to assisting the refugees. As Kellyn said in her summary of the article the Arab countries have raised billions of dollars to assist the refugees in finding new homes and obtaining important resources. It’s pleasant to see these countries selflessness in the Syrians time of need during this humanitarian crisis. Another article “Bodies of 11 Syrian refugees wash ashore in Turkey” describes the gruesome details expected from the title. One of the main articles regarding the Syrian refugees that stood out to me was “If these images don’t change Europe, what will?” it discusses the concern of Europe’s lack of involvement in assisting the refugees. I think that every country generally wants the refugees to find new homes and a better life, but is hoping that they won’t have to be the ones to actually step up and do something. The article that stood out to me the most not related to the Syrian refugees was “Guatemala election seen heading to run-off.” The president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina was forced to resign from his position as the leader of his country and put in jail pending charged of fraud. The vice president Alejandro Maldonado is finishing his term which ends in January of 2016. There are 14 candidates running to take over the position, whoever wins will be the leader of a country with one of the highest poverty rates in the world. It amazes me that in today’s day and age in the 21st century corruption still exists in governments. Especially at a level as high as president of the entire nation. This could never happen in America. Could it?

On presentation day I got to hear other groups present on their news networks which included Fox News, CNN, and ESPN among others. I observed that some of these networks covered mostly the same stories besides ESPN which exclusively covered stories pertaining to sports. I noticed that Fox News definitely leaned conservative and clearly writes from a biased point of view. They titled their articles with negative connotations towards Hillary Clinton and President Obama, and all seemed to be written in the form of an opinion. Not to my surprise CNN seemed to be leaning a little more to the other side of the political spectrum although they seemed to write more social science articles. These news networks really made Al Jazeera stand out in the pretense that they simply stated facts and if they were writing an opinion they would make sure the reader knew so.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/10/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-debate-easy/index.html

All in all this is a changing world we live in politically, socially, and technologically. It is very important that the public stay informed. As an uninformed society is susceptible to abuse. This project exposed me to many media outlets and many different perspectives on today’s news and events, and although I don’t agree with the way all our news is presented to us. It is still important that we pay attention to it as long as you take it with a grain of salt.

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