February 2019 - The News · The News

The News – Week Four – World News

It’s been a really interesting week in world news, with hardly a hint of US news seeping through besides Cohen’s testimony and Kim and Trump’s meeting, that as we all know by now, didn’t end with any new deal (shocking). As you may remember, I spent the week reading Al Jazeera and BBC News to try to get a well rounded perspective of what’s happening globally.

Here are the way the two sites are laid out:

BBC is focused on world news, but obviously has a western tilt as it is a British organization. Their main menu items on the site focus on news, but there is no drop down menu from there, it just takes you straight to a home page of news that they have selected as relevant. From there you can find world news, US & Canada news and UK news with western news taking the forefront. World news gets broken down from there into region so if you want to find out anything that’s happening not in the UK, Australia, Canada or US you have a dig a bit.

Al Jazeera is laid out with a focus on the middle east because Qatar owns it so it was nice to read from that perspective. I got a lot of news from there that I wouldn’t normally read so that was really cool. Their menu page is laid out with a news tab and a drop down menu for choosing your world region, but it has an entire tab dedicated to Middle East news. They also have a trending tab, and it was really cool to see what was trending every day from their perspective.

The story that really dominated the global headlines this week was Venezuela. It took me three weeks to really get into this story since I was focused on American news for the first three weeks and they hardly mentioned it at all.

From Al Jazeera’s front page
From BBC’s front page

I have to say it was refreshing to get my head out of the U.S. news for a bit. That is, until Wednesday when across all world news sources Michael Cohen’s testimony to congress dominated the front page. I was really surprised that it ended up on Al Jazeera all day long with a live video stream to watch considering no other U.S. news was really mentioned on there all week long. I suppose any chance to make Trump look like a buffoon is alright news to them.

Besides that shit show, here were the biggest stories I saw this week and I’d love it if you all could reach out and let me know how many of these you heard about, if any. I have a feeling I wouldn’t have heard of most of these unless I was intentionally looking as specific regions:

  • Maduro shut down Venezuela’s border with Brazil
  • Japan’s Olympics Minister, Yoshitaka Sakurada, publicly apologized after arriving three minutes late to a parliamentary meeting on Thursday
  • Brexit: Irish government hopes no-deal plan ‘sits on shelf’
  • Bangladesh fire: Dhaka residents look for missing people as at least 70 were killed in a blaze that ripped through the residential area
  • Pakistan army: Will respond with ‘full force’ if India attacks, which they ended up doing later in the week with India conducting air strikes on parts of Pakistan. The warning came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan approved military response as tensions rose once again over the Kashmir conflict.
  • Political drama in Thailand as long-delayed election nears Constitutional Court to meet next week as Thai Raksa Chart faces ban over Princess Ubolratana nomination

In Africa: The Sengali and Nigerian elections are dominating the news. In Nigeria voting stations and counting centers were under attack and dozens were killed. Senegal’s president Sall has won again in his second term and Buhari has won again in Nigeria.

In the Middle East: Israel’s PM is facing corruption charges for what feels like the 20th time. That is the top news for BBC in this region, but all Al Jazeera is talking about is Indian-Pakistan clashing again.

In US & Canada: Trump meets with Kim in Hanoi and Michael Cohen testifies to congress.

Latin America: Dozen hurt along Venezuela and Brazil border.

Europe: All eyes on Brexit and what May will decide to do next now that her exit deal plans have been denied.

Asia Pacific: Voters on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa rejected the relocation of a controversial US military base elsewhere on the island, but Japan’s government said it would press ahead with the plan. Top concerns are of noise, military operations and crime. The citizens argue the region bears a disproportionate burden when it comes to hosting US military troops in the country.

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♪ And that’s the NUUUHHHHSSS ♪

Here are my three biggest takeaways from this news challenge:

  • Question everything
  • Ask who benefits from this article (WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO, WHAT BENEFIT DOES THE NEWS SOURCE HAVE IN TELLING THIS STORY, REMEMBER RAGE=VIEW COUNTS)
  • Look at multiple sources for the same story before drawing a conclusion
  • Never share an article after only reading the headline!!!!!

Check back in Monday for an update on my March challenge! We are going back to minimalism!

February 2019 - The News · The News

The News – Week Three – CNN

As soon as I switched over from Fox to CNN last week the first thing I saw was a giant countdown clock to the next government shutdown. End times over at CNN apparently. Of course we all know by now that a national emergency was announced by Trump and that’s the end of that shutdown nightmare fuel for CNN. SOMEHOW they found more to report on and the front page moved from U.S. political story to U.S. political story all week long.

Here were the top stories over the week at CNN:

  • There was some election fraud in North Carolina from Republicans
  • Republicans ‘paid the price’ for Trump’s wall with the national emergency
  • Trump made a speech that made him look stupid and dared the courts to stop him from building his walls
  • 16 states have filed lawsuits to stop declaration aimed at funneling funds meant for other uses to build a wall
  • McCabe is a God apparently and anything he says (to sell his book) is news now on CNN. The biggest headline was “McCabe: ‘It’s possible’ Trump is a Russian Asset – former acting FBI director tells CNN the president is undermining U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies”, which honestly coming from someone who isn’t in the FBI anymore and is also trying to make money is NOT news IMO
  • Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation
  • The justice department is preparing for the Mueller report early next week.
  • Roger Stone is in court for some Instagram posts where he put the judge overseeing his case in the crosshairs of a gun drawn behind her head
  • And the biggest news on the last day of CNN was that Jussie Smollett was arrested for fabricating his attack (what a complete asshole)

Trump’s name showed up eighty-two times on the front page throughout the week and AOC wasn’t mentioned once. Dramatic different from Fox.

There is no comments section at the end of each article on CNN like there is on Fox. They started phasing out comments section in 2014. This is probably a good thing and Fox should really consider following suit since their comment section has become a place to breed hate and misinformation.

Overall, nothing unexpected happened on my week over at CNN. I knew the kinds of headlines I was going to get because I usually hop onto CNN a few times a week in my daily life. It was fascinating though to see it from a perspective of just coming off of Fox News. In Fox world, everything is fine in America and the only problem we have is the liberal socialist agenda, illegal immigrants and terrorists. On CNN, the only problem we have is Trump and his racist, homophobic, sexist followers. Both of them get it so wrong it’s not even funny. It’s just plain sad, and the real truth out there is that it’s all click bait. What do conservatives want to read and what do liberals want to read? How do we get them to come back to our site? How to we continue to fuel the outrage that gets people to read the news? And how to do continue this on and on in order to get more views, more clicks and ultimately more money.

According to CNN Trump has been on his way out of the white house via impeachment ‘any day now’ for the past two years. I’m bored with this narrative. It’s just not going to happen.

Here are the layouts of the sites for CNN and Fox side by side:

CNN has more categories on the surface. Fox has a radio tab, a method of news they dominate in and a ‘Fox Nation’ tab, which is a subscription based service if for some reason you feel you aren’t getting ENOUGH Fox in your life. The lifestyle tab on Fox is really just a celebrity, travel, feel good, viral video dump, but to be fair, CNN’s style, entertainment and health categories offer the same.

Image result for outrage inc

I read an interesting book for this week’s challenge. It was called Outrage, Inc. by Derek Hunter. I knew going in that this was a right leaning book and there was quite a few things in it I did not agree with (particularly his views on gender, college students, and ‘snowflake’ children), but I came away with questions and a desire to do my own research on a few subjects.

For instance, have you ever quoted to someone who doesn’t believe in human caused climate change that ‘98% of scientists agree it’s happening’? I definitely have. Well have you ever looked into where the study came from? Who funded it? What scientists did they poll the information from? Just something to consider. We spout information so fast these days like we’re all experts on whatever subject, but are we even really looking into it that hard? Maybe we should.

The book didn’t resonate with me a whole lot but if I took away anything from it, it was these few lines in Hunter’s book:

“Media bias is more than just how a story is reported, it’s which stories are reported. The power to ignore, to pick and choose, is the most pernicious power journalists have, and the exercise it regularly. Outrage fuels page views, and page views equal money.”

“Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently. In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.”

“Question assumptions, questions absolutes, question yourself; everything. Just when you think you’ve got it is when you’re most likely to lose your grip. The American people have ever been more misinformed by the media, but they’ve also never had access to more information. “

If there’s anything I’ve learned so far this month that I want to instill in everyone is to QUESTION EVERYTHING. Everything you read, everything you hear, everything you see. How is it being curated to you? Is it being portrayed in a way that makes you want to click, to share? Who funded this study? Who wrote it? Why? And finally, let’s try to be more open to listening to the other side. We cannot live in a feedback loop that constantly reaffirms our believes. Go beyond the headline. See that there’s more to a person than who they voted for. People are complicated and they aren’t all just one thing.

Before I move on I want to announce that I finally found out about Venezuela this week. It’s something I heard just a bit on before doing my week long black out, then Fox didn’t have anything for me on the subject so it’s been driving me crazy. It made the front page of CNN two days into my CNN week. The headline was just that Venezuela closed key maritime and air borders with its neighbors amid growing aid crisis. In this piece I finally learned that the biggest issue is President Maduro won reelection and a lot of countries including the U.S. see it as a fraudulent election and are supporting self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido. We are apparently working with Brazil at the moment to determine logistics in providing food and medicine to the people to Venezuela. This is kind of a big deal and still no one is talking about it around me at all. Sounds about right.

In the United States, it seems the only news is United States news. I’m really excited to get to next week and start looking into some world news.

February 2019 - The News · The News

The News – Week One – No News

When I stopped reading, listening or watching the news at midnight on January 31 here were the headlines in my mind:

  • It’s freezing all over the United States except the west coast because of a polar vortex
  • Russia is using Mueller’s private case files to discredit the Russia Probe
  • Conservatives are mad at the Virginia Governor over a late term abortion bill
  • McConnell is mad about a democratic house bill to make election day a federal holiday
  • Venezuela is in turmoil
  • The EU rejected Theresa May’s plans to change Brexit deal
  • Everybody has measles in Portland/SW Washington
  • The CEO of Starbucks wants to run for president and everyone hates that idea

So after a week of NO NEWS AT ALL, here is what I picked up from people around me in my liberal bubble during the week just by listening to conversations:

  • Liam Neeson said something racist
  • The government of Virginia also did or said some questionably racist things, also something about sexual harassment
  • Women wore white during Trump’s State of the Union, which was filled with bad rhetoric
  • Maroon Five is the worst

If you don’t live in America or only get your news from conservative sources I’m going to guess your headlines looked a lot different. I heard nothing about anything outside of American news and all the news I did pick up included American politicians/celebrities being the absolute worst. I am kind of dying to know what’s happening in Venezuela but I haven’t heard anything.

Damn that’s some shitty reporting from me! Well, except the part about Maroon Five. I didn’t watch a second of the Super Bowl, but I didn’t need a Super Bowl performance by Maroon Five to tell me that they sucked. Everyone loves to hate [insert musician that plays at the Super Bowl]. Doesn’t matter who it is.

I am ITCHING to dig into these four news stories I heard about in passing, but unfortunately it’s week two of my challenge and the only place I can go look up what “really” happened is FOX NEWS. Just to get a taste of what my next post is going to be like let’s do an experiment. I’m going to look up one story on the State of the Union, Liam Neeson and the Virginia government on Fox News and report back right now on what I found.

State of the Union: The night was miserable for congressional democrats. Trump urged for bipartisan cooperation. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t applaud, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t even stand up once and Nancy Pelosi clapped weird.

Liam Neeson: Admitted that he once wanted to kill a ‘black bastard’ for revenge. Jesus Christ. Anyway, Fox News is reporting that Michelle Rodriguez said he’s not racist because he stuck his tongue super far down Viola Davis’ throat in the movie Widows. Oooookay. Anyway, Neeson apologized for having those thoughts and Fox News gives us no context as to why he would even bring that shit up, but there you go.

Virginia Government: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is involved in a allegation of sexual assault at the 2004 DNC. State Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to donning blackface at a college party in 1980. Fox News is frothing at the mouth at all the bad things these democrats have done and noting any silence about this on the left.

I already have a headache from this and it’s only been one day of Fox News. Next weeks posts should get weird. I almost miss not know what was going on in the news. I’m also going to make a fun game of how many times the Fox News front pages has a story on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren or Hilary Clinton. We will see who the winner is at the end of the week!

I also finished a really great book this week called Listen Liberal: or whatever happened to the party of the people by Thomas Frank. Check out the review here.