Banisch: Fact Checks and Conversation.

Banisch’s statements as to the sad state of affairs for news media immediately brought to mind a multitude of gripes which I have been growing.

“It is now commonplace in political sociology to observe that the ideal-typical public sphere of classical liberal political theory-where truth emerges from rational debate among active citizens and its reflection through the media and political representation- is an increasingly hollowed-out space.  Concentration of mass media ownership, corporate agenda for news setting, and the limiting of open debate both in the political fora and in public conversation mirror secular decline in citizens’ interest and participation in politics (139).

To illustrate

The Murdoch empire

newscorp-holdings.jpg gives a rather compelling list of who owns which news media entities, as well as how much money they donated to political campaigns. To give a few examples: General Electric, owner of media entities such as NBC, MSNBC, CNBC-with co-ownership of other great channels such as the Hitler…I mean the alien…I mean the History Channel, hits a massive number of viewers, and also donated millions to the 2000 presidential campaign of GW Bush.

To be honest I am not doing this sight justice, here is another example of the connections which are being made:

Westinghouse Electric Company, part of the Nuclear Utilities Business Group of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL)
whos #1 on the Board of Directors? None other than:
Frank Carlucci (of the Carlyle Group)

Television Holdings:
* CBS: includes 14 stations and over 200 affiliates in the US.
* CBS Network News: 60 minutes, 48 hours, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CBS Morning News, Up to the Minute.
* Country Music Television, The Nashville Network, 2 regional sports networks.
* Group W Satellite Communications.
Other Holdings:
* Westinghouse Electric Company: provides services to the nuclear power industry.
* Westinghouse Government Environmental Services Company: disposes of nuclear and hazardous wastes. Also operates 4 government-owned nuclear power plants in the US.
* Energy Systems: provides nuclear power plant design and maintenance.

The point being made here is pretty obvious right: impartiality???

To be honest I have been looking at goofed up graphs, skewed reports, and recalling images of fire breathing Egyptians used as a backdrop for a Fox News piece on the growing power of the Muslim Brotherhood, for quite a long time now. All of which reminded me of the hierarchies which blogs transcend and monitor. I came across another example of skewed data on

unemployment chart by fox news

Looks a bit funky right. But the real gold was below this post. Reading the back and forth reminded me of just how powerful this style of interface could be. Here we see more than a single author griping, but move to a contained discourse community who moved beyond the article’s contents; note the link on the second post.

You know Fox News is meant to be unbiased, right?

It clearly is not but MSNBC stinks of liberal bias. I’m a lifelong Republican but I only read Reuters. We still lack a popular, balanced source of news in America. This chart certainly does not make Fox News reliable but at least it can be considered reliable considering its nature.

Nevertheless, there have been enormous increases in public debt–no doubt caused by Obama’s blue-collar public sector support. He’s causing more problems than providing solutions to be fair. Although he is one of the better Democratic presidents of modern times, there are better alternatives. I won’t give my preference and with this move I am allowed to put the message out there that FlowingData should not push a political agenda. I understand this is your personal blog on statistics, visualisation of them and more, but it should remain confined to this subject.

  • Ionnas, “no doubt”? There are a lot of doubts about that statement; I don’t think that “blue collar public sectorN has any real meaning. Debt started rising after Bush’s first two unpaid for tax cuts. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were also unpaid for. There was also the huge expansion of medicare which was also, you guessed it, unpaid for. Obama’s policies have added to debt, but keep in mind that times of high unemployment is the only time when deficits are justified. The main reason for the massive increase in debt is the lower tax revenue because of high unemployment and the Bush tax cuts. Take a look at this chart:……html?_r=2

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2 Responses to Banisch: Fact Checks and Conversation.

  1. Pingback: Weekly Review | thismattisblogging

  2. mcmorgan says:

    Interesting to compare the design of this post with your notes on Walker. This kind of develpment — statement – testing – statement – testing — seems, in this case, to develop or draw out implications. Maybe we have the start of a new rhetorical mode here – beyond compare/contrast. The annotate – test, or gopher whacking.

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