Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

CNN rediscovers reporting, covers Tea Party rallies

Posted by sanityinjection on April 8, 2010

One of the worst-kept secrets in journalism is that the major news organizations rarely engage in any actual reporting. The majority of the news they report is lifted from the wire services or from another news agency. Rather than spend the time and money to send a human reporter to check facts and interview people, it’s much easier to depend on what their colleagues have already done. The trouble with this is that any errors or bias in the original story get repeated, reflected and magnified on down the line until they attain the status of fact.

So it has been with coverage of the Tea Party movement. Most new desks have been quick to pick up on the reports of isolated racist comments and signs and reflect that as characteristic of the movement as a whole, without ever sending a reporter to a Tea Party rally.

With this in mind, I applaud CNN for bucking the trend and sending reporter and producer Shannon Travis to attend several Tea Party rallies in Utah and Colorado. Travis, as it happens, is African-American, and his reporting makes clear that he did not find anything like a racist or hate-filled atmosphere at the Tea Party events: “Almost everyone I met was welcoming…Some of them e-mailed me after my trip, thanking our crew for fairly giving them a voice.” He also noted that his was the only national news team that covered the events in person.

To CNN’s further credit, the story was not buried in some obscure corner of the site, but was linked prominently yesterday with a photo on the CNN homepage.

Here’s hoping other news networks and media outlets take a cue from CNN and start doing more reporting and less repeating.

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Racial diversity at the conventions – The real scoop

Posted by sanityinjection on September 4, 2008

I’m getting really irritated by a handful of articles about how lily-white the GOP convention (and by extension, the Republican Party) is. It’s no secret, and hardly news, that the Democratic Party has a much higher percentage of racial minorities than the Republicans do. And we could discuss the various reasons for that. However, what’s disturbing about these pieces is the extent to which the writers deliberately overlook any mitigating factors that might weaken the point. (If an argument requires you to avoid facts, it’s probably not a very good argument.)

Thus, it falls to me to present two points regarding racial diversity at the conventions which you won’t hear from the mainstream media:

Point One: The media have made a big deal out of the fact that you see a lot more black, Hispanic, and Asian faces in the crowd at the DNC than you do at the RNC. And that’s quite true. However, none of these so-called journalists care enough about the truth to remind you that the Democrats have quotas for their state delegations. In other words, Democrats aren’t electing more minorities as convention delegates because they freely choose to do so. They are forced to do so by party rules which specify that a certain percentage of delegates must be women, blacks, Hispanics, etc. The Democratic party, at its core, does not trust its members to actually demonstrate the “commitment to diversity” they like ot talk so much about. So they stage-manage the process to ensure that they have enough smiling black, brown, and yellow faces in the crowd to prove to the media how diverse they are. Now, one could reasonably argue that Democrats would still elect a more diverse delegation than Republicans without the quota. In which case, one is compelled to ask: Why have them? The answer is that they mirror the quotas the Democrats would impose in all aspects of our lives, beginning with our schools and offices. Again, find me one member of the mainstream media who has mentioned this, even though they all know it. I guess it would be too inconvenient to share this truth with the masses.

Point Two: The media has criticized the Republicans for not having minority speakers in prime-time slots. Again, the accusation is true. Republicans simply do not have enough minorities elected to higher office, so their big names tend to be white males. However, note the hypocrisy: Last night the GOP convention devoted an entire hour to speeches by ordinary folks who happen to be minorities – black, Hispanic, Asian. I saw those speeches on C-SPAN, which broadcasts the conventions gavel to gavel with no commentary. However, if you were watching CNN, you would not have seen or heard these speeches, because the network deliberately refused to show them. Instead, their reporter was interviewing the youngest delegate to the convention, a 17-year old blond white boy with a crew cut who even I thought looked like the poster boy for the Hitler Youth.  Later on, switching back and forth between the two networks, I noticed C-SPAN had a lot of camera shots showing ordinary delegates, many white but also showing black faces and Pacific island delegations. On CNN, though, the only delegates whose faces were shown were white, and most of the time they focused on Cindy McCain or other superdelegates.

Question: If the GOP is so bereft of minorities, why is CNN afraid to let voters see the ones that are there?

Again, I’m not trying to pretend that the GOP doesn’t have to do a better job of reaching out to minorities. I’m just trying to illustrate the appalling way in which the media doesn’t trust you to figure these things out yourself, but deliberately manipulates what you see and hear to make *sure* you draw the “correct” conclusions.

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