How Big is Your Button?: A Look at Different Views on “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”

President Donald Trump, the man who has created media distrust through his #fakenews, supported a white supremacist march, and brought us to the brink of nuclear war has been a prominent figure for most of his life, mainly in the business world. However, he has more recently been referred to as our Commander in Chief. After almost exactly a year of Trump’s presidency, Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House was published by Michael Wolff which brought to the forefront of political conversation Trump’s capability to lead. With the man in charge of our country being questioned on his ability to lead(,) we must all learn to think critically and not just digest whatever media source is our favorite. This will leave you locked in echo chambers, which doesn’t allow you to hear the other side of the story. Today, this is a prevalent issue no matter what political ideology you coincide with because it seems that almost everyone is either misinformed or doesn’t know the whole story.

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Hillary Clinton Brings the Heat in ‘Fire and Fury’ Reading During Grammys
Author: Jenna Amatulli
Outlet: Huffington Post

First off, the title can already tip you off as to what side of this controversial video she is (on) which would point directly to the left. She goes on to include tweets with some of them saying things like,

“Hillary reading “Fire and Fury” was the highlight of the #GRAMMYs. Show over,” and “Auditions for the audio version of Fire and Fury were OFF THE HOOK #Grammys.”                                                                                                                                                              Amatulli mainly focused on the point that people thought it was funny and tasteful. Most people who dislike Trump would see this in a positive way. However, knowing that there are two sides to matters such as this is important because there are people out there who didn’t like it. This article is an example of bias by this author because she only reports one side and what supports her opinion. It’s important to know when someone is biased in the media so you can take what you read with a slight grain of salt and just knowing they could be telling a partial story.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Fire and Fury’ reading on Grammys slammed by Nikki Haley, Donald Trump Jr.

Author: Sasha Savitsky

Outlet: Fox News

Generally, Fox News is seen as a right-wing source and most of the time, it is. In this case, this generality holds true. To compare it to the previous source, Savitsky is reporting on how much people hated it and disapproved of the video of people reading from Fire and Fury. Except this source is even more politically charged in the fact that it’s effectively shaming Hillary Clinton and articulating the fact that the current United States Ambassador to the United Nations “slammed” Hillary Clinton for reading out of the book. Further comparing the two articles, this article included tweets that did not agree with the skit and among those people were Donald Trump Jr. who tweeted twice in eight minutes including

“Getting to read a #fakenews book excerpt at the Grammys seems like a great consolation prize for losing the presidency. #GrammyAwards,” and “The more Hillary goes on television the more the American people realize how awesome it is to have @realDonaldTrump in office #GrammyAwards2018.”

The two sources obviously have different views on the subject but to their credit they reported the facts of what happened correctly no matter what their bias was. This is important to notice because generally with further right leaning sources they will tend to omit things that hurt their party or drown their opponent in negative attention.

Title: Trump Says He’ll Take a ‘Strong Look’ at Libel Laws in Response to Book

Author: Jordan Fabian

Outlet: The Hill

I didn’t know anything about The Hill going into reading this article however after some research I’ve decided that this author is neutral while the source overall is slightly left leaning. I also checked a media bias checker which confirmed that they were slightly left leaning. I investigated Fabian and he covers a broad range of topics within the government and reports straight facts about what happens and doesn’t inflect his personal beliefs into the article. Fabian is a white house correspondent, so he has insider knowledge or at least more than the average person into the White House. In this article he does provide evidence supporting the fact that Trump can’t just go and change libel laws including the court decision that protected First Amendment rights including what Trump called “…purposely negative and horrible, false articles…” when speaking about Fire and Fury. He also includes that Trump’s personal lawyer filed a defamation lawsuit against Wolff. Fabian doesn’t weigh in with his opinion on whether the lawsuit was right or wrong but instead just reports what happened. It’s important to note that this author himself is more neutral than the source overall because this makes him more reliable if you want straight facts without loaded language that you subconsciously can pick up without knowing it.

Title: Donald Trump is Having an Affair in the White House, ‘Fire and Fury’ Author Michael Wolff Claims

Author: Tufayel Ahmed

Outlet: Newsweek

This news outlet is obviously more leftist than the more neutral source due to loaded language which is trying to persuade you by affecting your emotions or influencing your thoughts towards a certain viewpoint. This article has interviews with Michael Wolff by both Trevor Noah and Bill Maher who are both liberal comedians and talk show hosts. If you don’t know what to look for, you might not be able to spot leading questions during an interview. You might not see how an answer could be misled and not always the full answer or the correct one. For example, the first question that Trevor asks in the video is somewhat leading about whether Trump is having an affair and he continues prodding when he doesn’t get a straight answer. It’s important to look out for leading questions where the interviewer potentially limits the options of your answer by using “or,” as in this or that, that makes it seem like you only have two options. Another tactic that interviewers could potentially use to lead your answer to get the answer they want for their side of the story is pressuring you into answering something you’re not particularly comfortable answering, but they keep pressing on it until they get their answer. If you look at this video you’ll see how Trevor keeps repeating his question and pressing Wolff to give him the answer he’s looking for. In this video are some of the quotes that are included in the book.

Title: Michael Wolff Claims his ‘Fire and Fury’ Will ‘End This Presidency’

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Outlet: Breitbart

As a modern-day citizen, most consumers of media know the extreme right or extreme left media outlets. Breitbart is an example of an extreme right media outlet because their content ranged from extreme right-wing support to conspiracy to racism. They also don’t always report the facts. They only do so when the facts happen to flow with their ideals and the point they’re trying to make. They omit articles that don’t present their party in a good light. For example, on the Russia investigation they try to undermine Mueller’s credibility and attacking him in general. However, on the topic of Fire and Fury, in this article Pollak was not very biased besides the fact that in the title the language is a little loaded in the way he uses “claims” and the portion of the quote they use is meant to make it seem like Wolff is wrong in saying those things. He stays on target when talking about what happened and no shaping of how it happened is in there. This matters because if he tries to use bias then you will perceive the event to have happened a different way or you don’t even know about a certain part of an event.

Title: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Crows Over ‘Fire and Fury’ Book on Trump

Author: Steve Turnham

Outlet: ABC News

This article pulls a reference from the Associated Press which is typically a neutral source. Turnham mentions that Trump has been insulting many foreign nations, mainly North Korea, and then goes on to list some of them which doesn’t show bias inherently, it’s just quoting him. He goes on to state facts about what the White House is doing and everything it’s doing is a move any logical person would make. For example, if you had a book written about you and it attacked your ability to function at your job wouldn’t you wish libel laws were more strict? This author is reporting facts as they happened and not giving only partial facts or truths. This is a true show of being biased or not based on if they tell the whole truth or not.

Overall throughout this exercise of looking through different media outlets across the political spectrum I was surprised at how little there was compared to the amount I was expecting. I originally thought all media outlets were biased in some way or another, but it turns out there are some good factual reporters out there even in the most leftist or rightist sources. In general, you can rely on the common conception of a media outlet BUT make sure you read carefully and think critically about the article that’s in front of you because not all authors have the same views as their employers and in turn you get a very well written, factual article. Keep in mind to take most news with a grain of salt but not always especially if you learn what to look for such as loaded language or stereotypes or half-truths. Remember that a half truth is a whole lie in the sense that they are purposefully withholding information to make you believe a certain thing. Remember to stay vigilant when reading or watching anything with potential bias in it.

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