AP Government Current Events Project

Week One
TV Show – “The O’Reilly Factor,” Monday, February 23rd, 2004: 11:00 P. M.

John Kasich hosted the show in O’Reilly’s stead. He wore a black-white-red (jacket-shirt-tie) suit. Kasich seemed slightly conservative because of his jokes about California Republicans and his great respect for Bush and his money. His political views did not interfere with the program, however, and he seemed like a very nice guy after he expressed his hopes for Martha Stewart’s innocence. Bill appeared in brief “looking-back” segments, and he was overtly conservative in his questions and his asides during interviews.

Kasich’s first guests were Bernie Sanders (I, VT) who sported a blue-black-white suit and Foxnews Analyst Susan Estrich, the manager of Michael Dukakis’s campaign, who wore a pink blouse. They discussed the entry of Ralph Nader into the presidential campaign and John Edwards’s chances of knocking off John Kerry. The analysts said that the left-wing would definitely not welcome Nader’s candidacy because they want everyone together so they could knock off Bush in the fall but speculated that Karl Rove might put the man on the ballot in the fifty states. They noted that Edwards was drawing crowds thanks to his blue collar stances on trade and jobs, an astute observation because Kerry defeated Edwards by stealing this platform from under him.

Kasich’s next guest was celebrity justice expert Harvey Levin who wore a black pullover and white undershirt. At the time, Martha was losing the case because of the expert testimony of a man named Faniel. Levin lamented that the prosecution had pursued lesser charges like obstruction of justice rather than the difficult but rewarding crime, insider trading.

The next segment was a flashback to Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Kris Komen, Ph. D, who was running for Congress in Missouri and worked with the border patrol for some time. Bill wore a bluish suit and purple shirt while Komen wore a black-red-white combination. Bill seemed anti-immigration. Komen gave him the facts and agreed that stricter security was better for maintaining peace because more amnesty means more fraud. Bill loved Komen and promised to invite him back again.

After that, the show returned to reality. Colonel David Hunt, Foxnews’s military analyst; he wore a blue tie and pinstriped suit. He and Kasich broke down the latest bin Laden intelligence that the US was close to catching him; Hunt determined that it was hype to pressure Pakistan into making a deal.

The show then drifted into the fog of the past and O’Reilly’s interview with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bill wore a blue tie and gray coat; Rudy wore a red tie and black pinstriped coat. Rudy thought that Bush would win the 2004 election and took a middle route in the “culture war” between the religious and the anti-clericalists. He shrewdly deflected O’Reilly’s coy questions about future plans by saying he was keeping all his options open, including a possible future Presidential run.

The final guests were John Aravosis (black-blue striped-dark blue), a political analyst in Washington DC, and Tammy Bruce (black blouse) who discussed Aravosis’s new web site asking Lynne Cheney why she was not standing up against Bush’s proposed anti-gay marriage amendment. There was real left-right tension in the discussion, as the two interrupted each other constantly, and Bruce’s writing of the book The Gay Gestapo did not help the situation, either. They argued about whether it is right for gay groups to pressure Lynne Cheney about one of her personal decisions and whether or not she is a public figure.

The show closed with a snippet of O’Reilly’s interview with Mel Gibson. Gibson said his gift as a director is pushing the crowd to the edge but holding its hand at the same time.

The advertisements on the show were mostly for white-collar products because middle-class conservatives tend to watch Foxnews, and educated people watch the news more than others. Among the products pushed were Westin Hotels, Ford F150, auto insurance, Nissan, information technology, Office Depot, NBA-TV, Wireless Networking from Best Buy, Cheez-Its, cars, and Gospel standby Cristy Lane.

Article 1 – Associated Press, “Nader Announces He’ll Run for President”
This article discussed Ralph Nader’s announcement that he will run for the office of President of the United States of America in 2004. He said that the two major parties were dominated too much by corporations and says he wants to run for ordinary Americans. Many Democrats and former supporters protested the move, saying the left needs to unite to throw out President Bush, but Nader said he would siphon votes from liberal Republicans frustrated with George Bush’s administration. Since he does not have party backing, Nader may face trouble getting on the ballot in some states.

This journalist did not seem to have bias towards liberals or conservatives. He did put much focus on Democrats’ reactions to Nader’s candidacy, but that is because the man is a huge problem for them and not because of a writer blowing the threat out of proportion. The AP writes stories for many groups so it must stay neutral.

The website from whence this article came did not have banner or popup advertisements. It did have Google sponsored links for printers, a fitting accessory for a web user.

Article 2 – Indianapolis Star, “Nader Will Reprise Run for Presidency”
On “Meet the Press,” Ralph Nader confirmed his candidacy for the 2004 presidential election. He faced criticism from Democrats while Republicans said Bush would win the campaign whether he ran or not. Nader may have trouble getting on the ballot in some states.

The website of the Indianapolis Star advertised Clarian Health, subscriptions to the Star, ATA, Funeral Homes on the Obituaries page, and marathon gas cards. These are consumer projects and are not connected to the conflict of the article.

Compare and Contrast
These news flashes were all similar in their treatment of Nader’s candidacy; they doubted he will make a real effect on the campaign but noted that if he does, it will be to the detriment of the Democrats. O’Reilly and the AP both used Independent Bernie Sanders’s denunciation of Nader’s campaign as proof that Democrats don’t want him to run. Each news station implied that he might be running because of an ego trip. The newspapers included the opinion of the Republican National Chairman in their story while Foxnews did not. The media were probably similar in their reporting because this was an important news event which would be reported by everyone.

The AP’s story was much more in-depth than the Star’s or O’Reilly’s about the causes and effects of Nader’s candidacy. There are two reasons for this: time constraints limit television programs from being as in-depth as newspapers, and an AP journalist can update and fill out his story through the day as more information becomes available. O’Reilly’s program was the most accurate in analyzing the consequences of Nader’s actions because it called two well-known figures of punditry onto the show to break the move down. A TV show with clout can call attract top politicians at the drop of a hat because of the chance for free publicity.

All of the stories were informative, but the AP’s was the best of the three because it had the most depth. I liked the fast pacing of O’Reilly’s show, but this pacing detracted from its ability to really analyze can issue because of time constraints. The O’Reilly Factor would appeal most to conservatives who feel there isn’t a news show for “them” and want a dose of “reality” because of O’Reilly’s cantankerous demeanor and his show’s motto, “The No Spin Zone.” I chose this show because it is notorious among liberals, the topic because I’m glad Nader is running for President, and the articles because they were fair and easily available. My overall reaction was good because the news media reported the story well.

Week Two
TV Show – “Meet the Press,” Sunday, February 29th, 2004: 10:00 AM
Anchor Tim Russert wore a gray-green-white suit. He did not seem biased towards either party; he seemed to have a knack for asking the questions that were on everyone’s mind. He treated all his guests fairly.
Russert opened with an on-site report from Kerry Sanders, who wore a red polo shirt, on the ongoing turmoil in Haiti. Jean-Claude Aristide fled the country that morning at 6:30 AM, and lawlessness prevailed.
The anchor then welcomed Robert Bennett of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board (black-blue-purple suit) and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington DC who wore priestly attire. The key topic of the morning was Bennett’s report about sexual abuse by priests in the Church. He determined that a lack of proper formation of sexually warped priests and lack of communication between bishops were responsible for the problem spreading so far. Bennett and McCarrick defended the tough stance the Church had taken so far and said celibacy was not linked to the problem. McCarrick the dignity of the priesthood but did not condone the actions of these shepherds.

Next, Meet the Press had four guests: David Broder (Washington Post, navy blue-pinstriped-blue suit), Robert Novak (Chicago Sun-Times, black-white-red), William Safire (New York Times, black-gray-maroon), and Pulitzer Prize winner/plagiarizer Doris Kearns Goodwin (black and red leather jacket and read turtleneck). This distinguished group assessed the current state of the presidential campaign. Goodwin, a liberal, seemed the odd man out among her three relatively conservative colleagues. They discussed Ohio, Kerry’s voting record, gay marriage, and social security as possible issues in the next election.
Once again advertisements were white collar because those who watch Sunday morning news are more educated than others. Morgan Stanley, GE, Microsoft, Mastercard, UBS, a nd Nightly News all received plugs.

Article 1 – Associated Press, “Former Mass. Bishop Faces Abuse Charges”
Retired Springfield Bishop Thomas Dupre will soon be arrested for molesting children in the 1970s. He would be the first bishop charged in the Church’s sex scandal. Dupre has been living at a Catholic psychiatric ward. His victims are now 39 and 40 years old. This article is cut-and-dried reporting. The only thing that might be construed as spin is the national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests saying that priests and bishops should be prosecuted just like other sex offenders. It features a Google-sponsored advertisement for printers.

Article 2 – Indianapolis Star, “Study: 4% of priests accused”
Studies commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 have concluded that 4% of priests since 1952 have been accused of child sexual abuse. The researchers said that since this was the most exhaustive study of child molestation ever undertaken, the study could not conclude if Catholic priests are more susceptible to this abuse than other people. The article also claims these findings will kick-start the discussion about the role of celibacy in the life of priests; this passage seems to betray an anti-Church point of view since criticism of celibacy is not quite a hot-button issue yet. Another study on the matter shows that seminaries were lax in controlling the conduct of their students in the past half-century, helping cause the decline of morality in the clergy. The advertisements in this article were for local services in Indiana such as Clarian Health.

Compare and Contrast
These media reported on different parts of the scandal in the Catholic Church, but all agreed that the problem was serious and should be addressed, and none criticized the Church for the stance it has taken on the matter. Two of the three news media questioned whether celibacy was related to the current church scandal. In each article, productive members of society favored a proactive response to the problem.
Meet the Press, unlike the two news articles, gave Catholic leaders an opportunity to respond to charged made against them. The television program devoted more time to the issue, in general, because Meet the Press seems to tackle only two issues in an hour. Russert seems to do an outstanding job with providing fair criticism and asking the right questions in his program. While the Star reported on the national trend in priest abuse, the AP’s story was about a specific case of wrongdoing by a bishop.

I thought that Meet the Press was most informative about this issue because Russert gave Catholic leaders a chance to respond to allegations and asked the questions that were on my mind. The newspaper articles informed me of the symptoms of the problem but did not give me the causes of it like Meet the Press did. I liked the television program’s dramatic music but disliked its front-loading of commercials. I liked the objective reporting of the newspaper outlets though I disliked the Star’s focusing on the celibacy issue because as Bennett said on Meet the Press, the two things are unrelated. This show would appeal to older people because of its slower pace and more methodical approach to reporting. I selected this program because it is the longest-running television show in history, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Overall, I liked Meet the Press very much and appreciated the AP and the Star on a smaller scale.

General Observations and Conclusions
The media possesses the critical duty of honestly reporting the news to people so they can make honest decisions about politics. By presenting the opinions of other people, it could influence the views of consumers, and so fair and balanced coverage is quite important. The media should try to reflect public opinion rather than molding it on such issues as the presidential election. Thomas Jefferson said that freedom of the press was the most valuable of the freedoms, and so the media is a vital safeguard for Americans’ rights. The media I observed were fair in their reporting of the news and did not force their opinion on others. For every Bill O’Reilly, there was a Doris Kearns Goodwin. The media remains a vital part of our democracy and our society.

Works Cited
1. Goodstein, Laurie. “Study: 4% of Priests Accused.” Indianapolis Star 27 Feb. 2004 .
2. Hananel, Sam. “Nader Announces He’ll Run for President.” My Way News 22 Feb. 2004 .
3. Meet the Press. NBC. WTHR, Indianapolis. 29 Feb. 2004.
4. The O’Reilly Factor. Foxnews. WXIN, Indianapolis. 23 Feb. 2004.
5. Recio, Maria. “Nader Will Reprise Run for Presidency.” Indianapolis Star 23 Feb. 2004: .
6. Tynan, Trudy. “Former Mass. Bishop Faces Abuse Charges.” My Way News 4 Mar. 2004 .

Explore posts in the same categories: Politics, Religion, Schoolwork, USA

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