'The balkanization of news'

Broadcast news has erased line between news and opinion

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If Americans are more politically divided than ever, the media may have a lot to do with that.

A Gallup Poll indicates that 55 percent of Americans get most of their news from television – where news is pretty much sliced and diced to suit particular points of view.

On CNN recently, for instance, anchor Suzanne Malveaux went to great lengths to rehabilitate the prosecution of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. When a friend of Zimmerman’s testified that she recognized his screams on the infamous 911 call because she’d worked with him on a political campaign, Malveaux suggested the prosecution could claim that Zimmerman’s enthusiastic cries at a political rally might be similar to ones uttered while “pummeling Trayvon Martin” with “a sense of joy.”

A guest had to remind Malveaux that the screaming voice on the 911 call wasn’t one of jubilation, but of cries for help.

Why was Malveaux so intent on propping up the prosecution of George Zimmerman? Her CNN colleague Piers Morgan appeared to share her zeal for Zimmerman’s scalp. Why –
especially when the evidence is unclear, at best, who was besting whom in that fateful fight – and when there is some pretty compelling evidence that Zimmerman was the one being pummeled.

Indeed, whereas Zimmerman’s facial and head injuries are well-documented, with ABC News long ago reporting Zimmerman sustained a broken nose, two black eyes and cuts to the back of the head, CBS News long ago reported that, “Wounds found on (Martin’s) knuckles may support George Zimmerman’s claim that the unarmed teenager assaulted him before he was fatally shot.”

Most fair-minded observers have predicted an acquittal in the case, because of the conflicting evidence and, in fact, to evidence buttressing Zimmerman’s account.

“As a legal matter, I just don’t see how a jury convicts him of second-degree murder or even manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin,” writes ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams. “...(I)f they follow the letter of the law, it’s hard to see, based on everything we know now, how they find him guilty of either murder or even manslaughter.”

If an already restive core of Martin supporters gets all its news from CNN, they would be shocked by an acquittal – and perhaps angered into lashing out.

Then there’s the little-watched but incendiary MSNBC – which a former producer there wrote recently behaves at times like the “official network of the Obama White House.”

Gallup itself fretted that its poll showing such a reliance on such an opinionated set of news channels “documents the balkanization of news” – meaning that Americans are digesting very different information on the same events.

It doesn’t help that in broadcast news, the line between news and opinion has been,
for the most part, erased. Supposed news anchors now openly advocate for certain public policy positions – and, it seems, certain verdicts in high-profile trials.

Comments (53) Add comment
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RMSHEFF
16203
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RMSHEFF 07/13/13 - 08:37 pm
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George, It seems American has

George, It seems American has never been so polarized. I though Obama was going to change all of this ?

Pops
9048
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Pops 07/13/13 - 09:21 pm
2
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Either way the verdict

goes, we will see looting. If it is a guilty verdict, "youths" will take to the streets to "celebrate'. Innocent verdict and the apologists in the media will say the "youths" are frustrated and the looting is somehow helping in the healing process.

carcraft
26262
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carcraft 07/13/13 - 10:18 pm
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Well Zimmerman has been found

Well Zimmerman has been found innocent!

corgimom
33198
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corgimom 07/14/13 - 08:55 pm
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Well, there were breakins in

Well, there were breakins in my neighborhood. A young kid showed up at my home in the middle of the day, said he was from AT&T. He acted very nervous.

He wanted to sell me alarm services. Hey, have you ever heard of somebody wanting to sell you an alarm service, that had no ID, no uniform, no clipboard, no pamphlets, no nothing, not even a pen and paper?

Me either, I called the police. Guess that makes me a bad person.

Personally, I thought he was at my house to see if someone was home, and if it was empty, he would burglarize it. Because that's what's happening all over America, people are getting burglarized right and left. Check out the stats for Augusta, it's epidemic.

And I'm sorta funny, I worked hard for what I have, I'm not interested in donating it to a drug addicted thief.

And I know a lot of people that feel the way I do.

corgimom
33198
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corgimom 07/14/13 - 08:57 pm
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However, the content of this

However, the content of this editorial was about the television news media.

Here's my position- if I don't like what they have to say, I don't watch it. I tune into another channel.

And who really thinks that those cable channels are "news" and not entertainment?

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