The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 70 - 12/10/2001
Are you a news junkie? Do you watch or read the news on a regular basis? Why or why not? What are your favorite news news programs and media sources? Do you think that the news is generally fair or is it biased? Are you getting the news that you want or do you think that the news is being spun, controlled or otherwise influenced by corporate interests or the government? What sort of news items would you like to see more of on Wren's Nest?
| Reponses: There are 22 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Hrmmm...news Junkie? Not Really That Much, I Do Watch My Daily... ||Dec 3rd. at 2:37:16 am EST|
|Emerald Willow (Boise, Idaho US) ||Age: 21 |
Hrmmm...news junkie? Not really that much, I do watch my daily local news to catch a few things and follow Wren's news but do I actively search for news? Nope, nor do I yell at my television screen about some news reporter (although I have been known to do so during some of my favorite shows). However, I've noticed that as each year passes by the time the Yule season comes around again I seem to be watching (and reading) twice as much news as the year before....so who knows, maybe one day I'll be a news junkie. But for now, I'm happy just being someone who just likes the occassional news.
| Not Really. Local Stuff Maybe If There's A Paper In Front Of... ||Dec 3rd. at 8:31:24 am EST|
|Ciarrai (Somewhere In Middlesex County, New Jersey US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Not really. Local stuff maybe if there's a paper in front of me. NYC radio news breaks while I'm putting my makeup on in the morning. I became a 911 addict until my boyfriend tore me away from the TV set. Credit needs to be given to Wren for keeping me abreast to what's going on in politics, etc. I never really paid much mind to many things until I got hooked on her column. I don't really trust the media. I love it when Wren "chirps in." Good for a lazy girl like me.
| I Was A News Junkie; A Couple Of Years Ago, Though, I... ||Dec 3rd. at 9:53:10 am EST|
|John ("New Naumkeag", Ohio US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I was a news junkie; a couple of years ago, though, I taught myself to unplug (from the TV and the internet) and for similar reasons to why I drink decaf after the few cups of "high-test" that I need to get going in the morning. So now, I skim the news websites and catch some CNN in the morning, and I watch the evening news, and I leave it alone for most of the rest of the day.
* * *
I think the news media are generally biased in three ways.
First, I think most of the news organizations and the people involved in them (to one extent or another) lean left of center. Some, like NPR or the LA Times or CNN, try to be objective; others (CBS Evening News, for a glaring example) don't.
Second, I get the impression that a lot of the people in the news media wish they were "players" -news makers and not just news reporters. So, I get the impression that they try to make themselves into news makers by how they report the news: sometimes making a mountain out of a mole-hill, sometimes with spin, and sometimes with a false-sense of urgency or importance. Worst of all, when a "big" story breaks, they tend to forget about the rest of the news that is occurring here and abroad. And all of that IMO seems to me to be about ego and a desire to be a "player."
Third, I think the news media have succeeded in making themselves "players." Ever since the Fall of the Berlin Wall and then with the Gulf War and then with the OJ Trial, it seems those in government more and more *live* for the cameras and the people running the cameras go right along with it. So, it seems to me that "form" surpasses "substance" by a mutual understanding between news "makers" and news "reporters." I don't think it's about any conspiracy by "the corporations" or "the government" or whatnot trying to control our minds or protect their interests; I think instead it's mostly about two groups (new makers and news reporters) who realized they can each get more attention (and make more money and get bigger egos) by playing along with each other. As a result, both groups often seem like just two sides of the same coin.
* * *
That said, I still need and like to get the news.
And, the media still manage to report the news (even with the ego and whatnot I mentioned above). But, I'll say this: the lack of coverage of foreign news by American news media is *appalling.*
Where do I get the news?
I go online to get most of it. By going online, I don't have to deal with waiting through the commercials and the "human interest" stories and cross-talk nonsense; and I can get the news whenever I want. I check the following websites every day, usually quickly and in the morning: the local newspaper, The Drudge Report (God and Goddess bless Matt Drudge), CNN, MSNBC, and The Australian. (The Australian, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/ , has a wonderful feature that every news website should have: "the Editor's Choice" -- a summary of the day's news that is actually substantial. That's where I learned of George Harrison's passing.) The BBC website often disappoints me. Overall, I think the MSNBC website is best: it is the least biased (actually, it's often not biased), and the depth of its articles is substantial, and it's scope of reporting is amazing: they actually have worthwhile foreign news coverage as well as domestic news coverage, plus news from science and culture and whatnot.
I don't read physical newspapers much anymore; the local paper is online and that works. I used to enjoy reading the LA Times -it is a superb news source: substantial, to the point, with local and national and international reporting, and about as unbiased as can be; I would read it again, happily, if I could get it here. I don't bother with the news magazine because they all seem to be opinion journals and fluff anymore, though The Economist is a real exception to that rule.
I listen to NPR from time to time: it can have a bias that is *way* left of center sometimes, but it is always such a good data-source and the depth of reporting is without peer in broadcast news in America.
As for the TV: For news /weather/ sports from this part of the state, the local NBC affiliate does the best job of reporting. Nationally and internationally, ABC's evening news actually informs me, so I tend to watch that. The other two nightly network news shows seem to be about their presenters more than the news. We don't get Fox where I live, so I have no comments to make on that. We don't even get MSNBC; though when I lived somewhere else that did get it, I would watch it and wonder just when the news would start and the cafŽ-clatch would end. (However, the MSNBC website is quite good, perhaps the best.) We do get CNBC here, and I too love the Chris Matthews' show "Hardball" for the reasons Wren stated; I wish also he would do more interviews. On CNBC, I can also see "The News" with Brian Williams, which can be really good. But, CNN is the standard and the benchmark for professionalism and simply for journalism in this era: biased as it can be sometimes (gee, can it offer anymore gushing coverage of Hillary Clinton?) and with shockingly limited foreign news coverage (at least, before 9-11), it still gets the job done for news like no other. I can tune it in anytime, and I do several times a day -- once in the morning, once in the evening, sometimes in the middle of the day--to learn what is going on. Larry King, on CNN, is also worth watching many nights. And besides all that, CNN has Christiane Amanapour: she is *excellent* as a journalist and, as a woman, she is so damn smoking *hot* !
| I Can't Say I'm Really A News Junkie, But I Think That's... ||Dec 3rd. at 11:31:14 am EST|
|Cat (Asheville, North Carolina US) ||Age: 34 |
I can't say I'm really a news junkie, but I think that's largely because I don't trust the news we get. It seems clear to me that a great deal of the news we get is biased less by politics than by economics. When a new product of any kind (particularly a new drug) is discussed on network (or cable) news, a little research generally reveals that the product is made by the corporations financing the news show--which means that what we were told was "news" is in fact largely advertising. Similarly, almost no news show dares question the "truth" that economic growth, sales, advertising, and consumption of product are inherently good. I doubt that I can sufficiently convey my distaste for these phenomena.
Like John, I get tired of the blather the ("new CNN", by the way, has tripled the blather and halved the depth of the reporting.) I also get tired of the scare-mongering and the lack of foreign news coverage; I mean, last month we had a WAR going on overseas, and all anybody could talk about was the fact that 15 people here(out of a population of how many million?) had been exposed to a disease which is, by and large, treatable. I also get tired of the way words get picked up and becomes instant cliches: the U.S. was "pounding" the Taliban, and "pounding" for some reason became the only verb appropriate to describe the bombing. Like shots "ringing out"--ringing out is a metaphor, and there are other metaphors that would describe the sound as well or better, but what newsscripter will dare to experiment with them? Very few; it's always "shots rang out."
Also like John, I feel that NPR (sometimes) leans to the left of "center"; unlike John, though, I feel that this is one of the best things that can be said about it. "Center" in the U.S. too often seems (particularly lately) to be comprised of a frightening combination of what Doonesbury called "jingoistic nationalism", religious naivete, worship of economics, and a great disregard for global connections or issues. In America, to be concerned about global warming, to recycle, to decry consumerism or advertising, IS to be to the left of center, but it oughtn't to be. These are practical issues which a greedy political and economic regime has managed to polarize into "liberalism", when they are actually meant to CONSERVE the only world we have. I call environmental concern, religious tolerance, and economic caution "conservative", but in America they're widely considered "too liberal." If NPR can change that by one iota, it deserves every penny I contribute, despite the fact that there are few more depressing ways to wake up in the morning than NPR on the clock radio.
So, no, I'm not a news junkie; but I feel I could be, if it were easier to believe what we're told is news.
| What Is 'news' Anyways? News Is The Sharing Of Valuable Or Interesting... ||Dec 3rd. at 1:51:08 pm EST|
|Raven Prince (Fort Lauderdale, Florida US) ||Age: 20 |
What is 'news' anyways? News is the sharing of valuable or interesting information, ususally pertaining to recent events but not always. I think news only functions correctly when we scrutinize news from a variety of sources and draw our own conclusions. My personal advice is never to totally believe what you're told, question and analyze everything, because sometimes when we don't question things we can become deceived and draw the wrong conclusions.
| I Am Most Definitely Not A News Junkie. In Fact, Until Recently... ||Dec 3rd. at 2:42:07 pm EST|
|KatSai (Newark, Delaware US) ||Age: 39 |
I am most definitely NOT a news junkie. In fact, until recently (and mostly by way of Wren's Nest), I avoid the news like the plague. Why? Personal experience. Two, in fact.
In one instance, I was stuck in my home for several days while a neighbor kept the police at bay with several weapons. To make a long story short, the actions of the news media in their attempts to "get the story" put the lives of myself, my family, and my neighbors at risk. And when they finally did speak to one of my neighbors after the incident was over, he told them "F*** off, I'm going to bed." The next day, he brought over the paper, laughing hysterically. "We're all safe, and happy to be home" he was "quoted". "Now I'm going to bed."
The other experience was far more upsetting. It was a murder investigation and trial that got national news coverage (and a made for TV movie, no less). A sibling was a key witness. I watched, listened and read every scrap of news during the investigation and trial, not to keep up on the story, but to know what was being reported (mainly lies, innuendos, and wild conjectures) so I could give the extra measure of love and support needed by my family to counteract the wholesale damage being done by the press. As a family, we waded through slander and lies literally for years during the investigation, trial, sentencing and aftermath. What had previously been a healthy skepticism toward the news media on my part became an intense dislike and complete distrust. (Incidentally, two years after the events, our local newspaper still keeps a complete on-line archive of their reports from this event, even though there are no other archives available on-line . . . NONE, ZIP NADA.)
I always keep my ears open in conversations for current news, but I have only recently begun to venture back into reviewing the news myself, primarily by way of Wren's Nest (thank you, Wren). I agree, we need to be informed, and I don't have a good alternative to the existing media coverages. But it will be a long, long, LONG time before I believe more than 10% of what is reported.
| I Am Absolutely A News Junkie. Msn, Cnn, All The News On... ||Dec 3rd. at 2:50:47 pm EST|
|Manda (Memphis, Tennessee US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I am absolutely a news junkie. MSN, CNN, all the news on TV...and, of course, my twice daily stop at Wren's Nest. I pretend to have an excuse (part of my job is to keep a website updated with the latest internet news) but I think everyone knows better.
In any conversation, I can add "well, I read the other day..." or "I saw on the news that..." And, like Wren, I get so mad, or upset, at the news (be it the people delivering it or the people making it) that I swear I am never never never going to watch the news again. These boycotts last 3 hours at most.
As for the fairness of the news, sometimes I can see the slant in a story. The most recent I can think of was a story about the government doing such a wonderful job of trying to protect us, but I saw the hidden message that by "protect us" they meant "take our rights away." You just have to learn to look at the facts, not the way they're presented.
Same goes for the "spin" issue. If it's out there, in the news, there are ways to find the truth behind the smoke and mirrors. The only thing that worries me is when a news story is "held" or "sat on" until the government says it's okay to print. In my opinion, no news is generally bad news.
Wren does a wonderful job of keeping me informed. Thank you guys so much for the wonderful work you do!
| I Don't Know If I'd Go To The Extreme Of Calling Myself... ||Dec 4th. at 2:39:49 pm EST|
|Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) ||Age: 41 - Email |
I don't know if I'd go to the extreme of calling myself a 'junkie' or not, but I do like to stay well abreast of what is going on.
My primary source of news is the Internet. I have a wide spectrum of sources I read every day- from Salon to Front Page and Jeff Rense, along with several international sites, like the BBC. I feel that it is good to get a broad mix of sources for balance, even if I have to hold my nose while reading some of it.
My main subjects I pursue are technology and religious news. It is good to get a handle on what is happening in the world of religion and culture, and following trends keeps extreme things like the events of September 11 from totally flooring me. How many of you know the difference between Islam and Islamism? Do you know what "Wahaddism" is, and how it effects the Islamic worldview? How about the slow infiltration of "Dominion" Christianity into our government? Do you know what that would spell for Pagans and women if it went mainstream?
I feel that being well informed is the best weapon against ignorance one can have. Even though I do not consume the mainstream pap that passes as news, I am probably better informed than any pop news 'junkie'. I am well aware of the 'spin' that the popular news outlets put on information, and am glad that I have the Internet for balance.
Sadly, much of the news that has to do with us is still sensationalized, although not to as big an extent as it was even five years ago. I have noticed that Pagan coverage has expanded from Halloween, and we are covered year around. Yes, some of the articles are still snide, but I also see a genuine desire to accurately reflect our community. Brave souls who are not afraid to be way out of the closet might do well to cultivate good press contacts.
Wren, you're the gal. I really like your mix of Pagan- oriented news and interesting goodies, and your site is on my morning news rounds. I think I save more than half of the articles you post. Thanks bunches.
Stay informed, fellow Pagans- don't let events sneak up on you.
| The Bbc Is Just Brilliant For News, They Have Always In My... ||Dec 5th. at 8:32:24 am EST|
|Michael (Dublin, Ireland) ||Age: 24 - Email |
The BBC is just brilliant for news, they have always in my experience been very professional and impartial.
It is essential for me to catch up on news every day.
| I Prefer Independent Media- I Reccommend Schnews- Www.schnews.org.uk, Indymedia- Www.indymedia.org And Alternet... ||Dec 5th. at 1:50:38 pm EST|
|Jane Spacebat (Edinburgh, Scotland UK) ||Age: 20 |
I prefer independent media- I reccommend Schnews- www.schnews.org.uk, indymedia- www.indymedia.org and Alternet- www.alternet.org
I definately feel that mainstream corporate newspapers and tv etc put their own spin on things, and are extremely biased. Also they often include enormous amounts of ephemera such as lives of 'celebrities'.
| I, Too, Have Been Close Enough To The News To Know That... ||Dec 5th. at 7:05:52 pm EST|
|georgia (seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 55 |
I, too, have been close enough to the news to know that the reporters arent interested in the truth at all. And I'm old enough to remember when the news was information. Today the news is bought by corporations who want to promote a certain agenda, such as their own political view. You can see this when a channel changes hands and the news does an immediate about face. Today almost all of the news channels, especially the cable news is aimed as propaganda to get a certain party elected and to form opinion. Talk radio has the same slant. NPR has the nearest to objective that I have heard. And have you noticed that the national news evening shows are usually synchronized so that if a certain subject is objectionable to you you cannot change the channel, because they are reporting the same story on the other two. And more and more of the reporters are required to support the republican view. Notice how individual reporters have changed their slant after the networks changed hands or were bought out by a larger corporation. I have a lot of time on my hands!!! I have noticed that the broadcast channels have 12 to 15 hours per every 24 of news, news related, and news based programming on each. There is very little tv that is anything else.
| Speaking For Myself, I Live In The Country And The Local Newspaper... ||Dec 6th. at 5:15:42 am EST|
|Grey Streambank (San Diego County, California US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Speaking for myself, I live in the country and the local newspaper has never adequately been able to find my house for delivery. Besides, who has time to read the paper every day, or even every Sunday?
That said, I do have a satellite dish, and during any times during which none of my daily or weekly habit programs are on (and I'm home and actually in control of the remote), it basically lives on one of four channels - CNN, Headline News, MSNBC, or the History Channel. When we first got our satellite dish, I was a freshman in high school, and it lived on CNN for the first month due to the Gulf War.
As far as news on politics, the economy, whatever, I think there's far too much of taking people's words and twisting them to other people's worldviews, using buzzwords that very few of us actually know the real meanings of, and so on. I recall reading a recent article about the Justice Department's use of material witness warrants in the Sunday edition of the San Diego Union newspaper (I drove to the grocery store, 6 miles away, to pick it up), which never once mentioned what a material witness warrant actually is. It's this kind of news reporting, and political speechgiving, that I think drives people away from using their right to vote; ultimately they don't know precisely what it is they're voting for or against.
I much more would prefer if the news agencies would simply report what happened and let us everyday citizens spin it inside our own head.
As far as favorite newspeople... recently I've taken a liking to Ashleigh Banfield. I cried when I heard Bernard Shaw was retiring; I remember my first month of having decent TV reception, and him always calling in on the phone from Baghdad. You'll notice I stay away from the hard-core political or economic reporters; I put my trust in the star field reporter or the anchorperson.
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