Author Archives: Brittany Griffith

Witchful Spending

This infographic above was taken  from Milo.com for their “Witchful Spending” article. It focuses on the economics of Halloween for US households comparable to 2011, and caught my attention because it sheds light on the economics of the middle/lower classes compared to last year in an entertaining way. By focusing on the amount of households decorating their lawn or buying costumes for their pets, Milo is able to describe an increase in household “cash on hand” without using boring statistics.

Fox News: A Conservative’s Dream Website

In order to decide upon a news website to analyze for this assignment I simply typed “News” into my Google search bar. From the first page of results given I was able to choose between some major players in the industry including CNN, Fox News, NBC, USA Today, CBS, NPR and BBC. Clicking the third link from the top of the page, Fox News opened up on my browser and I began my analysis.

As the page loaded my attention was immediately taken to the largest picture on the page, a burning building with the title “Romney Accuses Obama of Failing To ‘Level With’ Americans on Libya” (Fox News). The article followed with a tag line to the right stating that Romney “[questioned] why Obama won’t say that the attack on the US…was done by terrorists”, with an obvious bias for the Republic Presidential Candidate (Fox News). According to it’s Wikipedia page “critics have stated that Fox News Channel promotes conservative political positions and biased reporting” while those at Fox News Channel deny all allegations (Wikipedia). When clicking on this story a large photo linked to a video interview of Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan appear. Both are dressed casually in button up shirts and inexpensive jackets, standing in front of the advertisement for Romney’s campaign that states “More Jobs. More Take-Home Pay”,  as they try to relate to the working class citizens. Their interview goes in to hating on the Obama Administration almost immediately. Bias for Republicans 1, Bias for Democrats 0.

Continuing down the front page, there are more political coverage stories including a story based on the debate on the fairness of polls, as well as smaller stories based on more politically associated views such as gay-marriage and rape. Every “Watch it Now” video on the right side bar is affiliated with the election, the military, or foreign affairs, and the “Don’t Miss…” section features stories on both Presidential Candidates. I believe that it is safe to say that Fox News Channel has an obvious bias towards those following the election closely. The word choice is also interesting as strong negatively associated words and phrases accompany tag lines such as “attacked”, banning “mother and father”, and “ represented more than another” (Fox News). This is also ironic, as the slogan below Fox News Channel’s own logo is “Fair & Balanced” (Fox News).

In addition to political coverage there are subsections on health, business, technology, travel, opinion, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, world, sports, US, careers, and small business. Every advertisement is associated with Ally Bank and many links to “Latest News” are related to money. The only link to the younger demographic is the “Features and Faces” portion of the page that focuses on celebrities, college food, cars, and zit zapping. But, who needs to appeal to the younger citizens when you’ve got hold on the entirety of the conservative voting demographic anyways?

The Role of Objectivity in “The Klavaliers Rise to a Fall”

“The Klavaliers Rise to a Fall”, taken from The Klan Unmasked by Stetson Kennedy, begins from the perspective of the author. He has befriended a group of Klu Klux Klan members who are planning an attack on a black cab driver, masquerading as a fellow member named Perkins.

The piece is written in the first person narrative form and offers readers an inside perspective of group dynamics in the KKK as well as the dangers of infiltrating that group. While writing from this perspective helps validate and verify the sources of direct quotes and events, it also crosses the line of objectivity in journalism that Kovach and Rosenstiel support in their text. They state that “personal and cultural biases [should] not undermine the accuracy of…work” and yet in “The Klavaliers Rise to a Fall” there is an obvious bias from the author against the KKK (Kovach & Rosenstiel 82). Kennedy continually uses phrases that support his bias against the group, stating that he was “completely frustrated” and “felt like vomiting” from “[his] disgust” during the attack (Shapiro 258, 259). The last sentence of the piece also holds obvious bias as the author states that he swore to himself that “James Martin… was not going to be buried” with only a one-inch obituary (Shapiro 260).

While I fully respect the opinion of the author against the KKK and the values that they preach, as a reader I felt that Kennedy was completely biased and showed no objectivity towards the events he reported as a journalist. The article gave no room for reader interpretation or perceptions of their own opinion for or against the KKK.

Neglect and Violence in the Asylum

The Article “Choking and Beating Patients”, taken from Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly, exposed the horrifying living conditions for the patients in asylums in 1887.

The lede captures the readers attention immediately as Bly begins the story of Miss Tillie Mayard and her frightening health condition. Bly does not begin her article with specifics of each character or setting, rather she explains in plain English what is happening at an exact point in time and her journey to understand why. The last line of the lede is the most important, as it symbolizes the bottom line of the article, the patients are not the issue; the attendants are the real problem.

In the four pages that followed, Bly goes on to explain the gruesome acts of violence displayed by the attendants and nurses of the institution. Contrary to their job descriptions, those who were paid to care over the patients are exhibited to the reader as neglecting of their duties and extremely cruel. This is done through Bly’s first person account of her time spent in the asylum, although many of the instances reported in the article could then be argued as subjective.

Because there is no way to ensure to the reader that the quotes used were one hundred percent authentic, there is a large possibility that Bly altered them for her own personal agenda to mislead her audience. Her descriptions of specific instances with patients and their caretakers use negative language, almost immediately attracting the readers to the story due to the publics’ love for controversy.