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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Out of Focus

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Enough is enough. Barack said it best today, as he discussed the time and energy wasted by the McCain campaign in the last few days obsessing over whether he called Palin a pig with lipstick. He likened this intrigue to catnip that the media eagerly slurped up. In the world of  24/7 news, each media company is eagerly out to make a buck, especially in this high stakes Presidential Election. However, the lack of journalistic integrity on major all-news networks like CNN, FOX News and MSNBC to obsess over the minutia of the campaign detracts from more serious issues. 

You can turn on any of the aforementioned news networks at anytime during the day and find that they are interviewing experts on each small story that comes across their desk. The format of having multiple advisers all over the country weigh in on something as simple and inane as Obama’s lipstick comment, results in a ripple effect, with every TV station down to the local and international outlets covering this garbage in the nightly news. In the meantime, Americans are bombarded with the same 8 images or news clips both online and on television, which helps to drive negative attention toward whichever candidate has made the latest offense. This formula results in a group of uninformed voters who are voting based on media frenzy and hype versus an understanding of issues. 

The only way for this to stop is if one of these networks takes a stand. We also need more publicly funded broadcasts that don’t have other agendas and don’t need to worry about whether their ratings are going up, so they can focus on reporting news instead of selling it.

If there ever was a time to take some action it is now. If you are reading this post and any of the sentiments above resonate with how you see the world, then write to your local news paper, write a blog post. Do something, because it matters.


Written by Veena

September 10, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Out of Hand

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Take a look at this: 

Latest News
These are the “headline” news titles on a major news network website. Which one? CNN. The original title of “Will Biden/Palin Debate Get Nasty?” morphed within the last hour, when it began as something like “What will Biden/Palin Debate Be Like?” CNN is one of the biggest offenders in the political news business. In a 24/7 market, where they have allocated so much money and personnel to covering the news during the day, they completely destroy the purpose of news reporting. Their job should be to inform the public, not sway them. From the headlines to the way most of their regular news stories are presented via online or on live television, exemplify what is utterly wrong with the news media. 
Someone said it before, but we seriously need to consider how our news is delivered, who owns these news sources, and how we can remove the political biases that make their way into our living rooms and onto our laptops on a daily basis. 
This is not the best political news team on television, its competing with Fox for ratings and has thus morphed into one of the most sensational. I can never watch any coverage on their network, because most of it is talking over the speeches that people are actually tuning into see or blowing a simple story out of proportion. 

Written by Veena

September 10, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Posted in media, News, real news

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Update 9/3: Looks like the McCain campaign thought they were being treated unfairly because Campbell Brown, asked them a question. As a result, Larry King Live will no longer get the McCain/ Palin interview. More on this story here: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/CA6592163.html


Original Post:

The McCain campaign’s spokesman, Tucker Bounds, was surprisingly grilled on CNN by Campbell Brown. Definitely watch the entire thing because she tries to hold his feet to the fire, because he actually failed to answer a single question that she asked with a direct response. Instead, his response throughout the 7 minute interview was to deflect her questions and respond in the negative about the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. 

However, throughout the whole interview, Tucker Bounds is unable to articulate clearly whether Sarah Palin meets the McCain campaign’s high standard for foreign policy experience, which they have so aggressively applied to Barack Obama in the summer months of the campaign. 

This is a departure from the traditional interviews that CNN anchors usually conduct with political strategists and campaign representatives. Moreover, it does continue to highlight how ill-eqiupped the McCain campaign is to respond to specific questions about their VP candidate. It will be interesting to see how the campaign represents Palin to the general public during the Republican National Convention this week.

Written by Veena

September 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm


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Last night, those of us who watched the Democratic National Convention had the opportunity to witness many of our senior statesman (and women) speak. I think that one speech that deserves special attention is John Kerry’s speech. First, this was perhaps one of the most powerful speeches of the night, and it is unfortunate that major cable networks did not cover the entire thing because every American should have heard his words. He made it clear to anyone who has tried to use the libelous argument that Barack and Michelle Obama are somehow less patriotic is completely unfair and inaccurate.He reminded us of the way in which the 2004 campaign was swallowed by mistruths and underhanded techniques that undermine the integrity of both the election and Americans in general. 

In addition, he also showed how “Candidate” McCain is not in step with Senator McCain. The policy proposals and even legislation that Senator McCain supported in terms of alternative energy strategies and immigration are things that he no longer supports. Interesting, “flip flops” that have been overlooked.

If you are interested, this is a great speech to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO2PAm4iCtE

Unfortunately, major news networks like CNN only aired part of Kerry’s speech and provided political commentary over some very important remarks. Perhaps, if they are going to be the “Best Political Team on Television” (Wolf Blitzer’s words, not mine), then they should actually pay attention to ALL of the speakers?

Written by Veena

August 28, 2008 at 7:36 pm

Check your facts Mr. Beck

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The other day, CNN’s Glenn Beck wrote an article about poverty entitled “The poverty of Democrats’ ideas for cities” in urban America. Mr. Beck’s argument was that urban areas with high poverty concentrations are in their current state of affairs because the majority of their mayors have been Democrats. He comes to the conclusion that if Republicans were voted into office, poverty would somehow be reduced. Essentially this diatribe against Democratic mayors is misled and poorly argued.

 Mr. Beck fails to recognize the complex nature of poverty in urban America. He fails to include a fair and balanced analysis of other factors that might contribute to poverty in urban cities like lack of access to quality education, healthcare and other resources. Many of these social services are often supported by Democrats, but not by Republicans. Moreover, the lack of human capital (in terms of skilled workers) also deters businesses from investing in urban centers, especially when it comes to manufacturing jobs. Many of these jobs were at the core of city employment, especially the Midwestern cities that Beck touches on. 

I went to school in Pittsburgh, where steel mining was one of the major industries, until business went elsewhere, which severely depressed the area, and some parts of Pittsburgh have never recovered. However, this means that both the public and private organizations in these cities need to work together to foster investment and growth and support education and social services, in order to have enough human capital to balance out the investments. 

Mr. Beck’s argument also fails to analyze factors like;  the number of Republican/Democrat city council members, how tax increases/decreases might have affected the budgets and whether economic downturns or federal and state level policies might have negatively impacted cities. (The Detroit Free Press’ article on urban poverty does a good job of looking at some of the issues and solutions.)

Finally, Mr. Beck continues to wage war against Newark. Perhaps if he paid closer attention, he would see that Cory Booker, who was elected in 2006, has made significant strides in trying to combat poverty, crime and rebuild the education system in Newark. In fact, Cory Booker is being recognized as a pioneer in the fight to rebuild Newark, not as Mr. Beck assumes, another cog in the democratic wheel of poverty.

Moreover, even a city like New York, where Mayor Bloomberg has been touted as being a fairly successful mayor, still has a poverty rate of 21%.   

This is simply another example of a media personality whose lens is so focused on the divisive nature of American politics that he has failed to see the bigger picture. Urban poverty is an extremely complex issue, and yes, a large responsibility does rely on the mayors of the various cities. It is appalling and devastating that so many in the United States are living below the poverty line. However, that is not a call to arms for Republican mayors, it is a call to arms for public officials and each citizen of this country to think about what they can do to improve this situation. It doesn’t have to be in donations, it can be through volunteering or voting. 

Glenn Beck might think that Republicans are better equipped to manage poverty. However, after seeing the way the top Republicans in this country have mismanaged our tax dollars, which could have gone to federal programs like Head Start, squander it in an unjust war, it does not seem likely that anything will change at the local level. Poverty is not a red or blue issue, its an issue that does affect everyone, but Democrats are much better poised to handle this issue because they actually have been fighting for the rights of the people who are so disenfranchised in this country. 

Mr. Beck – do your homework would you? 



Here are some real facts about poverty in the United States: 

1. According to the 2005 US census bureau statistics, nearly 40 million Americans live below the poverty line. 

2. 24% of American families make less than $30,000 a year. (US census bureau) 

3. According to the Detroit Free Press “Nearly 40 million Americans are officially poor — meaning an annual income of less than $16,000 for a family of three. Eight in 10 of them live in urban areas.”  



More Resources: 

* http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/08s0672.pdf

* http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080217/OPINION01/802170547

Written by Veena

August 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Questioning John McCain

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Well, it seems that the national media has finally caught on to some inconsistencies in McCain’s profile. While many people (including myself) had a very favorable opinion of him as a Senator, upon closer investigation, aside from talking a lot about campaign finance and energy reform, it doesn’t look like McCain has done all that much. Just because he is a decorated war hero, does not mean he is going to be a great leader.

These are three articles that point to a lot of information that has been overlooked about McCain.

 Frank Rich’s op-ed from Sunday: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/opinion/17rich.html?em

Marketwatch: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/story.aspx?guid=%7B4914192B%2D12AF%2D4623%2DAB18%2D5EFE91204B04%7D&siteid=rss  …

Even Jack Cafferty: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/18/cafferty.mccain/index.html

Be an informed voter … think critically about your candidates.

Written by Veena

August 19, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Liberals & Conservatives

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As this presidential election wears on, many of us are attuned to the excess of back and forth jabs between people who identify themselves as liberals or conservatives. I just came across an example of this a few minutes ago, when I clicked on a link from CNN, which led me to an article about John McCain’s bush crashing. While the video was nothing special, the comments below were really disturbing. I’m not sure about the age or diversity of the crowd that has left feedback on this story, but nearly every comment that has been posted has a narrow-minded view of liberal vs. conservative; Obama vs. McCain etc..

While Obama supporters have gotten a great deal of flack for their unquestioning devotion to “the one” as he is reffered to satiricaly, it is not just his constituents who hold strong to their beliefs about a candidate. This is completely reminiscent of those young kids, wearing Flip-flop costumes during the Kerry campaign of 2004 – screaming “flip flopper” as they swayed from side to side, in a seemingly delirious rage.

However, its this same blind regurgitation of so-called “facts” by mainstream media that is most disturbing. Two weeks ago, I was watching a Fox News segment on both Presidential candidates’ stance on drilling and their overall energy plans. One of the contributors kept relating topics like energy conservation and climate change to “leftist liberals who were trying to protect the spotted owl.” This uninformed contributor clearly has not read or seen any of the research that is being presented all over the world, not just by “conservationists” but by conservatives, including John McCain. In fact, environmental conservation, climate change etc. are not lofty liberal ideas, they are real issues that do need attention because they have significant humanitarian, economic, political and social consequences. That big earred dope on Fox should at least check his facts with one of several thousand news sources available in the Information Age. 

Its fine to have political pundits, on the left and right, Bill O’Reilly comes to mind, who scoff and spin and make a nice dime on telling people some of the truth. However, it is just shameful to be someone who is a news anchor, a contributor, producer, etc. and not report the facts, regardless of the side you are on. The luxury we have in the United States, is that we can have opposing viewpoints. However, each time that small-minded contributor on Fox News etc. gets on television and links environmental issues to the advancement of liberal goals, he is doing everyone a disservice. The media should have integrity. Put down your liberal/conservative gloves and look at the facts, if you have to spin to the point that you sound like a loony right/left buffoon, then you’ve spun too far. Instead, why not try to debate your real take on the issue, instead of making dramatic gestures and remarks that dilute the actual content and character of the news you are reporting?

Written by Veena

August 7, 2008 at 5:52 pm