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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Burning Carrie and Sarah

Well, it's official, Donald Trump has fired Carrie Prejean from her Miss California crown less than a month after Trump had told her she could keep the title. Of course, Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, and he can do as he pleases.

To make matters worse, the attack on Prejean came after Trump had stated her views on gay marriage as being the same as President Obama's. “It's the same answer that the President of the United States gave,” Trump said. “She gave an honorable answer. She gave an answer from her heart." Yet, in the end, Donald Trump, Perez Hilton, and the whole Miss USA bunch seems to be mean spirited and intolerant toward opposing views and just as quick to sell out to public sentiment from certain sectors.

Meanwhile, David Letterman made this comment in reference to governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a recent monologue, “One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.” Of course, Letterman feels justified in personal attacks against the "right" kind of people. He once quipped, "Say what you will about this Sarah Palin, women love this candidate. Am I right about that? ... As a matter of fact, last night at the convention, security had to restrain Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter." Imagine the controversy if this personal statement had been made about the so-called "media darlings." If those who control the mass media were not equally biased and strongly liberal, Letterman would be forced off the air for his comments, just as Don Imus was fired for similar offensive remarks he made about a basketball team. Sexism lurks and its ugly. Discredit Governor Palin's policies, not her person and young family, please. Do we hear sicko jokes aimed at Chelsea Clinton? No. But at the Bush twins-- yes. Do we hear sicko jokes aimed at Michelle, Sasha, and Mahlia? No. But at Bristol and Willow Palin-- yes. The sad truth is that if Carrie Prejean, Sarah Palin, and Dick Cheney were minority ultra-liberals, these personal attacks would never have occurred. Gallup polls have consistently found that three times as many people see the media as “too liberal” as see a media that is “too conservative.” A 2005 survey conducted for the American Journalism Review found nearly two-thirds of the public disagreed with the statement, “The news media try to report the news without bias,” and 42 percent of adults disagreed strongly. According to scholar Richard Alan Nelson's (2003) study Tracking Propaganda to the Source: Tools for Analyzing Media Bias, media effects findings suggest that when bias occurs it stems from a combination of ten factors:
  1. Framing devices are employed in stories by featuring some angles and downplaying others.
  2. The news is a product not only of deliberate manipulation, but of the ideological and economic conditions under which the media operate.
  3. While appearing independent, the news media are institutions that are controlled or heavily influenced by government and business interests experienced with manufacturing of consent/consensus.
  4. Reporters’ sources frequently dominate the flow of information as a way of furthering their own overt and hidden agendas.
  5. Journalists widely accept the faulty premise that the government's collective intentions are benevolent, despite occasional mistakes.
  6. The regular use of the word “we” by journalists in referring to their government’s actions implies nationalistic complicity with those policies.
  7. There is an absence of historical context and contemporary comparisons in reportage which would make news more meaningful.
  8. The failure to provide follow up assessment is further evidence of a pack journalism mentality that at the conclusion of a “feeding frenzy” wants to move on to other stories.
  9. Citizens must avoid self-censorship by reading divergent sources and maintaining a critical perspective on the media in order to make informed choices and participate effectively in the public policy process.
  10. The media are neither objective nor completely honest in their portrayal of important issues.
Some commentators have argued that the term "political correctness" is a straw man used by conservatives in the 1990s in order to challenge leftist social change, especially with respect to issues of race, religion, and gender. Yet, Debra Shultz of the National Council for Research on Women stated, "Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New Left, feminists, and progressives ... used their term politically correct ironically, as a guard against their own orthodoxy in social change efforts." It seems the new politically correct depends not upon shared political views of correct and incorrect language usage, but rather upon the individual aims of politicians and public figures to use the label for their own advantage of popularity. Having been called terms like bigot, bitch, bimbo, pig, porn star, and white trash, Carrie Prejean and Governor Palin have certainly borne the brunt of some nasty political incorrectness. Maybe it's time for America to face the truth. (1) These women are viewed vulnerable to public contempt because they are both women who do not exactly fit the popular mold of their chosen professions and interests. (2) For obvious reasons, they do not get the privilege afforded to racial minorities of being exempt from media criticism. (3) They endure personal affronts because they are conservatives challenged on their beliefs by an ultra-liberal media. (4) Neither woman has the money, power, and prestige to "buy out" the system, so the "boogie women" fit the sad public perception of ineptitude. I wonder how politically correct this joke would be? The total absurdity of the original Miss USA question being posed to a Christian college student and the homosexual acting judge may be put into perspective as Donald racks up publicity for his production. Think, America! Wake up to a world of media-shaping so-called "right thinking" puppetry. Here is the joke.

"I only asked her (Carrie Prejean) if it were OK for Americans to marry Lowland Gorillas and chimpanzees and she answered yes. Americans just don't do that!" said asking judge Perez Hilton.

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