In the epilogue, I found it really sad that the story was altered to stating that there were only male terrorists. I agree with Gen that it was probably changed to read as a better story, as no one wants to hear female terrorists being killed. It made me wonder about how many major news sources alter their information to fit their agenda. How many times has this happened specifically with terrorist stories? I’m sure Patchett brought that scene up for his particular reason. This led me into research about the accuracy of major news networks. I came across a site that discussed statistical information about viewer’s perceptions of major news organizations. The public evaluations have been collected since 1985 and provide an overall trend within news networks today. About 29% of Americans say that a news network is factual and accurate, while 63% state that the stories happen to be inaccurate. Back in 1985, the ratio was 55% accurate to 34% accurate. This fall started in the beginning of the 1990s and has continued to stay there for over a decade (PewResearchCenter).
The statistical information also happens to have variation versus different political parties. For example, Democrats have also increased in news media criticism in the past two decades. They are also able to spot favoritism in the media compared to a decade earlier, with 67% stating the press tends to favor one side rather than treating all sides fairly (up from 54%). Republicans happen to view many of the news stations democrats’ view as being false an inaccurate. A majority of Fox news viewers, who happen to be republican, view the channel as 72% positive with only 43% from the democrats (PewResearchCenter). What is interesting is the fact that in 1985, both parties were almost equal in these percentages. The changes began occurring during both Bush administrations, which could be argued as being correlated with both administrations military actions. This is where Fox news viewers began claiming that major news networks were being too critical of America and when democrats were noticing a political side being favored. There are similar trends in political party’s opinions about whether criticism of political leaders by news organizations hinder these leaders from doing their job or prevent them from making rash decisions. A majority of democrats believe that criticism helps to keep leaders in check while republicans mostly feel that it prevents our leaders from doing their jobs.
Overall however, about 26% of Americans believe that news organizations are careful that their reporting is not politically biased. About 60% believe that they are. About 80% of Americans believe news organizations are dependent of powerful people and they also believe that 20% of news networks are willing to admit their mistakes (PewResearchCenter). This remains to be the basic opinion of Americans of news networks for the past two decades, with the exception of a slight boost in accuracy during 9/11 and terrorism broadcasts.
These poll trends led me to research into documented fallacies by major news networks. Several of them are coming from Fox news. About 60 percent of facts reported by Fox News were actually false as of January of this year (MintPressNews). The site itself shows an image of a news anchor with the main heading “No military Action yet against ISIS, despite coalition to fight terrorists” while at the very same moment on the upper right hand bar it says “U.S. has conducted at least 160 airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq”. Fox news has also been demonstrated to being obviously biased towards conservative republican values. When compared to other news networks, MSNBC and NBC were received as being 44% false with CNN having the most positive record of being 80% true (sharokman). Now the source of this information has stated that these numbers may not be completely accurate as they don’t take into account the different platforms of information medium each news station uses and how those affect the record.
It’s very concerning that these news networks are pumping out false information on the daily. How can we as audience members discern whether or not we are getting the whole story? Or are we just being manipulated by a group that has enough power to skew a broadcast and steer public opinions?
PewResearchCenter. “Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low”. Sept. 13, 2009. U.S. Politics & Policy. http://www.people-press.org/2009/09/13/press-accuracy-rating-hits-two-decade-low/. (accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
MintPressNews. “Pants on Fire: Analysis Shows 60% of Fox News Facts are Really Lies”. May 12, 2015. http://www.mintpressnews.com/pants-on-fire-analysis-shows-60-of-fox-news-facts-are-really-lies/205563/. (accessed Nov, 18, 2015)
Sharockman, Aaron. “MSNBC, Fox, CNN move the needle on our Truth-O-Meter Scorecards”. Jan. 27, 2015. PunditFact. http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2015/jan/27/msnbc-fox-cnn-move-needle-our-truth-o-meter-scorec/ (accessed Nov. 18, 2015)