evangelos gatseos

A blog dedicated to film, food, fitness and manly things.

Fox News and other conservative media on the fiscal cliff

Evangelos C Gatseos
Journalism 3150
Professor Suzanne Chandler
4 – December – 2012

Media Review #8:
Conservative Television and Print

In the December 2nd, 2012 broadcast of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace the main topic discussed was the looming fiscal cliff. On 1 – January – 2013, the George W. Bush era tax cuts are set to expire, which will raise taxes on a majority of United States citizens. The sitting President, Barack Obama, originally extended the Bush Tax cuts during the “Economic Crisis” which marked his first term. Chris Wallace and Fox News had far reach and influence for their Sunday broadcast because they were able to interview both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. The conservative bias from Fox News did not go unnoticed because the interview with Secretary Geithner was clearly more vitriolic than Boehner’s. Another example of bias and misinformation occurred when Wallace prefaced his segment and said, President Obama wants to “raise taxes on all of us.” Which is categorically untrue; the President merely wishes to raise taxes on the highest 2% of Americans. This statement was meant to rally the Fox News base.
During the interviews Wallace, among the soft questions he lobbed to Boehner, still threw a couple curve balls. Conservative bias was also on display when Fox News showed a graphic titled “White House Plan” and displayed information, which did not comport with Secretary Geithner’s statements. In fairness to Wallace, Secretary Geithner was less affable and aggressive towards Wallace than Boehner was. Fox News also showed fairness to Geithner and Boehner, because they displayed their achievements in higher education and military service, which portrayed both interviewees as legitimate sources. However, other conservative news sources, specifically print media, was not as fair to the President or Secretary Geithner.
On 3 – December – 2012, Allen McDuffee posted an article on the Washington Post’s blog. McDuffee’s article titled “‘Fiscal cliff’ and tax hike stalemate, Grover Norquist warns of Tea Party resurrection,” extolled, in detail just how dangerous the fiscal cliff is for Americans. McDuffee, an accomplished journalist and writer, cited his sources well and often. He also provided parenthetical citations with links to his sources. From Politico to the Cato Institute, McDuffee’s reporting was very well written. While Fox News’ broadcast was more substantive, or rather, high profile, McDuffee’s article provided real reporting with cited sources. McDuffee’s article was also very clear, if Obama’s tax proposals were to be forced through the Republican controlled Congress, a resurgence of the TEA Party would envelope the American democratic process and spell doom for Democrats. Doom and gloom was the rhetoric from both parties during the election; and the heated “fiscal cliff” issue is no different.
Cato Institute’s Daniel J. Mitchell, writing for the conservative New York Post, described the upcoming “fiscal cliff” as a “walk in the park” compared to what the American welfare state will become in the next ten to twenty years. Mitchell eloquently illustrated a dis-topia, which put the United States into a similar debt crisis to Greece, Spain and Portugal. He went further to purport the United States would be owned by those who owned its debt. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Libertarian think tank Cato Institutes, wrote with considerable bias, but if his readers agree with him the bias will not matter. It will simply reinforce the values and ideologies they already hold.

Fear the Obama! Fear the taxes!! FIGHT FOR LIBERTY!! (or something like that…)

Works Cited

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_fiscal_cliff_not_the_problem_89gX0AlQmuYyUcUqyS3JHL

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/thinktanked/wp/2012/12/03/fiscal-cliff-and-tax-hike-stalemate-grover-norquist-warns-of-tea-party-resurrection/

http://www.hulu.com/fox-news-sunday

Final paper on effects of Metro State’s First Year Success Program

Gatseos-JRN3150-CI-Final

Has the First Year Success Program at Metro State been a true success??

Here is a photo of the ground breaking in 2009… Though the program existed before the construction of the new Student Success building renewed Metro’s commitment to the FYS Program.

MSU-Denver President Stephen Jordan … 6-Sep-2012

In a September 6th 2012 speech, President Stephen Jordan extolled his goals for the future of Metropolitan State University of Denver in the Colorado community.  He explained how diversity, democratic workplace, entrepreneurship and telling the MSU-Denver story are the four goals for the strategic planning of University’s future.  Unfortunately it seemed that President Jordan is more concerned with raising revenue, through raising tuition, instead of increasing the quality of education.

I am not the head of a university.  Therefore, I can only speculate about President Jordan’s motives.  From watching this video it seemed that President Jordan’s goals did not mention the quality of education, they focused more on getting more students in the door; like running a successful university is more about income than quality of education.  The part of the speech I found most interesting was that he did not mention the greater stress his previous two tuition increases of over 20% put on students.  He was even upset new regulations have tied the hands of the university’s hands on further increases.  Perhaps he views students the same way Wal-Mart views customers… just something to get money from.

(sorry…. the video will not upload… here is a link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekeu5Qh1Rws

A Metropolitan State of Mind with Cynthia Hessin

On October 11th, 2012, Metropolitan State University of Denver was honored to host Cynthia Hessin of Public Broadcasting Systems.  Ms. Hessin spoke to two classes in the Journalism Department and imparted her wisdom to young, budding journalists.  Ms. Hessin began her career in journalism on the radio over 35 years ago in Boulder, Colorado.  Today, she hosts her own program on PBS titled Colorado State of Mind.  While Ms. Hessin admitted that her primary “skill [is] writing” she is privileged to have “partners” that assist with research, “first-hand journalism” and production to put together her weekly broadcast.  Ms. Hessin was also explicit about the changes in journalism and media since she started in the industry over three decades ago.

The most important change Ms. Hessin explained was the transition from radio and print journalism to a more convergent method, which combines multiple forms to reach a wider audience.  She explained how her show is now being produced “for the web as well as the air.”  Two students in Professor Suzanne Chandler’s Contemporary Issues course have chosen Convergent Journalism as their major at Metro State.  Floyd Brandt and Joseph Muniz both have extensive experience in the field of broadcast journalism and were both vocal during the discussion with Ms. Hessin in asking questions.  The poise and character Ms. Hessin portrays weekly on Colorado State of Mind was not lost during the discussion with students.  She sat upright, with excellent posture, composed her words carefully and did use ‘um’ or ‘uh,’ which the students were keen to notice.

Ms. Hessin also explained some of the more technical and legal aspects of her job as a broadcast journalist.  She illustrated how journalistic ethics are sometimes redundant and unneeded in cases like “global warming [where] there is a preponderance of scientific data to support” it.  However, when elections are concerned, she attempts to give equal voice to all parties.  In her program, Ms. Hessin is moving from district to district, holding interviews with candidates running for Congress and Senate.  She explained how “FCC broadcast rules state that two sides must be presented,” therefore, Ms. Hessin must strive to include all candidates in each race.  Certainly her judgment plays a part in whom she invites on to her show but she at least offered a voice to third party candidates from either Green or Libertarian parties.  Ms. Hessin clearly implied the United States two-party system is flawed and “should include third party” candidates.  Be it technical and legal wisdom or recollections of exciting events in news history, the students of Professor Chandler’s Contemporary Issues class left with a better understanding of broadcast journalism.  What they do with that knowledge will be up to them.

 

True False:

  1. Does Cynthia Hessin believe that a journalist must be truly passionate about a topic prior to writing a story on it?
  2. Does Cynthia Hessin believe every topic, regardless of evidence, should be reported on 50/50 by media?

Multiple Choice:

  1. Cynthia Hessin believes her program is:
    1. A group effort
    2. A solo-effort on her part
    3. Written by elves
  2. Cynthia Hessin believes the United States should have
    1. Multiple political parties
    2. Only two political parties
    3. One totalitarian regime

Lance Armstrong and USADA

I’m not going to summarize the recent decisions by USADA concerning the alleged doping by Lance Armstrong or make any judgements on whether I believe Armstrong doped during his Tour de France wins.

This situation should be looked at from a different perspective.  In a written statement USADA said they “firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike.”  It seems that USADA had conveniently forgotten that since its inception Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong foundation has raised over $400 million dollars for cancer research.  They also forgot that no single American bicycle racer motivated countless Americans to go to local (sometimes chain) bicycle shops, buy a bike and maybe ride it.  This created jobs, stimulated the economy and in some cases, if the individuals stuck with cycling, created a [slightly] more fit United States.  Now USADA has stripped the Tour de France victories from Lance and given them to who knows 25th place?  They also impugn the LiveStrong Foundation’s efforts to raise funds for cancer research and potentially cost some Americans their jobs.  LiveStrong, created jobs, raised funds and most of all fostered hope for individuals struggling with cancer.  Dope or no dope, Armstrong won the fight against cancer and, in a level playing field of dopers, defeated the best racers in the world.

I am, and never have been a Lance Armstrong fan.  However, I believe that his contributions off the bike will exceed the six riders efforts combined and multiplied by 100.  To put this into perspective, Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo “hopes to raise $250,000 in 2012.”  The LiveStrong foundation raised $43 million, created jobs and stimulated economic growth on a national scale.

 

If I’m wrong or my conclusions are incorrect I appreciate feedback.

I got my information from:

http://www.livestrong.org

http://www.levisgranfondo.com

and

http://www.cyclingnews.com

As requested… here is my South Carolina Voter Suppression paper

The Spencer Overton article was excellent…  very good further reading.

 

Evangelos C Gatseos

Journalism 3150

Professor Suzanne Chandler

30 – September – 2012

 

 

 

South Carolina and Voter Identification Laws:

Racism, Representation and Fraud

 

 

            In the Southern state of South Carolina, Republican Governor Nikki Haley with her conservative majority have passed arguably the strictest voter identification laws in the United States.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Carolina’s voter identification law would require individuals who wish to vote to present either a government issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, a passport, military identification card or voter identification card with a photo.[1]  Other states like Colorado who have much more lenient identification laws accept a recent utility bill as proof of residency and allow that individual the right to vote.[2]  Conservatives in the GOP cite common sense and voter fraud as the crux of their argument for voter identification laws; while liberals on the other hand, believe the laws are racist because they will disproportionately affect the poor African-American population.  To date, the Department of Justice has not cleared South Carolina’s voter identification law. Suzanne Gamboa of the Huffington Post reported that final arguments were being heard in Federal Court to determine the validity and Constitutionality of the laws.[3]

Opponents to voter identification laws, like Spencer Overton of the George Washington University Law School believe the “erroneous exclusion of legitimate participants carries greater costs in voting context because assessing the will of the people as a whole is an essential objective of democracy.”[4]  For African-Americans like Overton these laws intimidate and single out voters of color, resulting in a democracy that does not accurately reflect the will of the constituency.  Sophists like Reverend Al Sharpton have used their gift of rhetoric to incite their base.  Sharpton was in South Carolina on September 26th, 2012 speaking out against the law he believed harkened back to “slavery.”[5]  Sharpton continued, “Gov. (Nikki) Haley, you may have the Confederate flag in front of the capital, but this is not the Confederacy no more…”[6] Following the Civil War ratification of the 13th and 14th amendments freed slaves from bondage and gave them the right to vote.  But Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution allowed “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections … shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof…”[7] Therefore, Confederate states passed literacy laws which prohibited participation of many former slaves.  Contemporary critiques have found many similarities between the old literacy laws and current identification laws.  However, conservatives believe voter identification laws are common sense and help protect against voter fraud.

In her speech and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley received thundering applause when she spoke of her state’s push for identification laws.  She said, “We said in South Carolina that if you have to show picture I.D. to buy a Sudafed, that if you have to show picture I.D. to set foot on an airplane, then you should have to show picture I.D. to protect one of the most valuable, most essential, sacred rights [we have] as Americans, the right to vote!”  Conservatives cite voter fraud as the main reason behind their push for identification laws.  However, experts have looked at the data and determined there is “no evidence that rampant voter fraud exists today.”[8]  Political scientist Robert Preuhs, explained contemporary elections in the United States are very different than they were at the turn of the twentieth century culminating with the presidential election of 1960.  Conservatives insists that the laws are not racist; they are common sense and they protect against fraud.  Robert Preuhs agreed with conservatives.  For him, the laws are indeed common sense.  He explained it was less about race and more about “winning” for the GOP.

Preuhs suggested, “[voter identification laws] are racist in the fact that African-American political leanings “are so overwhelmingly Democratic that it is common sense to prevent people that would vote against [the GOP] from voting…”[9] A perfect and documented example of conservatives using race as a tool to earn votes was with Lee Atwater’s “Southern Strategy.” This strategy took advantage of anti-black sentiments of white Southerners and turned the once “Solid South” completely Republican in less than twenty years.  Fraud or common sense the GOP is pushing for these laws in states like South Carolina, Texas, Arizona which have larger minority populations.  In fact, political scientists Dante Chinni and James Gimpel in their book Our Patchwork Nation: The Surprising Truth About the “Real” America showed through careful empirical observation that most of South Carolina’s districts were classified as “Minority Central.”[10] Therefore, it stands to reason that conservatives would do everything in their power to prevent this community from voting against them.  South Carolina native Steven Colbert joked about this issue on this July 20th 2011 broadcast of the Colbert Report. He said, “The most insidious form of voter fraud is people voting ‘wrong.’”[11]

RealClearPolitics, a website dedicated to analysis of polls classifies South Carolina as light red, meaning it “leans GOP.”[12]  In the GOP primary the state voted for Newt Gingrich with only 28% of the vote going to Romney.[13]  The most recent polls show Governor Romney with as much as a 15-point advantage in the Palmetto State, but state Republican law makers still insist on the identification laws.  It would seem the GOP is trying these laws in states where they could easily pass because they have Republican controlled legislatures and governorships.  Some laws have been “pre-cleared” by the Department of Justice, but South Carolina’s laws are apparently too strict.  Courts have determined that these laws amount to a “poll tax” which was deemed un-Constitutional by the 24th Amendment.  Spencer Overton admitted in his article “81% of Americans favor or strongly favor requiring voters to produce photo-identification cards before voting.”[14]  If the laws pass, true democracy may actually be realized for a majority of Americans, because true democracy is only seen when public policy matches public opinion.  The only thing standing in the way of this realization is the Constitution and Madisonian ideologies which protect minority rights.


[2] Jennifer Bell, Interview, Organizing for America Volunteer 24 – September – 2012.

[3] Suzanne Gamboa, Huffington Post, 24 – Septermber – 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/south-carolina-voter-id-law_n_1908908.html

[4] Spencer Overton, «Voter Identification,» Michigan Law Review, Vol. 105, No. 4, February 2007, 635.

[6] Ibid.

[7] United States Constitution, Article I, Section 4.

[8] Dr. Robert Preuhs, Associate Professor of Political Science at Metropolitan State Univerisity of Denver.  26 – September – 2012.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Dante Chinni and James Gimpel, Our Patchwork Nation: The Surprising Truth about the «Real» America, (New York: Penguin Group USA, 2010) 85.

[14] Spencer Overton, «Voter Identification,» Michigan Law Review, Vol. 105, No. 4, February 2007, 634.

Interview with Robert Preuhs Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Preuhs met with me and discussed the broad strokes of voter identification laws especially in Southern states like South Carolina and Georgia.  

He discussed how these laws pose a difficult research situation for political scientists.  Will voter identification requirements actually have an effect on the national election?  How many votes will be lost because of the laws? And what will be affected at the local level?  

Preuhs recognizes that “it is hard to deny the disproportionate impact on lower income black, latino and older voters.”  Conservative legislators insist that requiring identification to vote will eliminate fraud; but Preuhs insists that “there is no evidence that rampant voter fraud exists today.” Documented voter fraud cases are not at the same levels as early twentieth century United States when “machine politics” controlled cities and swayed local to national elections.  These and other forms of voter fraud persisted until the dramatically close election of President John F. Kennedy in 1960.  The GOP response to the apparent manipulation of the vote in Illinois and Texas prompted the Operation Eagle Eye to investigate and set new regulations to prevent further frauds.  

There is no denying that these laws disproportionately affect one segment of eligible American voters.  However, Dr. Preuhs insists that while these laws “seem racist, they are rational to the GOP because African-American voters’ political leanings are overwhelmingly Democratic [therefore] it is more about winning than racism.”  

There is an interesting article in the Michigan Law Review by Spencer Overton that goes into detail about voter identification laws reduce participation from the African-American and Latino populations.  This suppression of eligible voters is severely detrimental to the democratic system because the outcome of elections do not accurately represent the interests of the electorate.  

 

Paper is due on Saturday.

 

Assignment Blog: Next steps.

Going to email the office of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and any group that supports the Voter I.D. laws for a statement.  Posted a clip of her speech at the RNC.

NPR did a good story about this situation as well.

Rachel Maddow had dedicated some time to this topic and so has Sean Hannity.  This will provide the opposing view points from the right and left.

Story due next week.

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