In conclusion of two gruesome years of brutal campaigning and rhetoric, global attention and nationwide anxiety, a president has been elected in the form of an eloquently-speaking 46 year old — Senator Barack Obama.

The opposing party has since acknowledged their defeat and seemingly ambled in the direction of moving on, but anonymous political finger pointing from John McCain’s aides at to past running mate Sarah Palin and back have sparked various amounts of media airtime, and again the media bias topic has been thrown onto the table. 

So in final closing of the election, this question is more or less ready to answer: is the media in fact biased to one side and if so, by how much?

McCain With The MediaI think that in looking at this topic, many can see it in very different ways, based on their political views from the election. It is not a rare sight to see both liberal and conservative blogs and strongly left or right press outlets sending out daily attacks at the media, and that is not where or what would be constructive to do in actually answering this question. Instead, what we have to work with are simply facts and what has happened. 

Blame in this corner generally comes from clips of news anchors strongly defending or attacking a political figure, which can be taken in different ways based both on the context and the topic.

Fox News, attacked daily for bias, has in fact been “exposed” numerous times of taking anti-Obama clips from interviews and failing to air the rest, which most of the time is in fact against McCain. And respectively, frequently attacked MSNBC has not only been accused of bias toward Obama, but has also devoted air time to attack the supposed “right” media. 

But with this aside, to accuse the media of bias is more or less a completely impossible argument to complete in a non-partisan manner. The talking heads most politically attacked are merely hosted by media outlets and not necessarily backed by them — with the exception in my opinion being Bill O’Riley. But in fact, I enjoy viewing O’Riley even though I know him as conservative, in the same way I enjoy watching Keith Olbermann because I know him as a liberal. 

But above this, I honor both O’Riley and Olbermann for simply attacking each other, brutally pointing out mistakes in simply the form of media that we Americans have come to know. I personally perceive Fox News as conservative and MSNBC as liberal, but have come to not simply face these facts, but absorb both in light of what each media outlet has to say, and take it into context when choosing what to believe how to believe. 

So I’ll open this up to the commenters: What do you think — is there bias in the media, by what magnitude, and how is it perceived by you?

Analysis: Sarah Palin is a force, from whichever prospective you may enter from. But the underlying question is how she has become one in the form of something completely different than what the political world has ever seen. 

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 Shortly after her “homecoming” speech in Fairbanks, Alaska, Sarah Palin opened up, making her first fresh address since her repetitive “stump” speeches after her GOP acceptance, provoking the first thought from me that explains her marvel. How has Sarah Palin accumulated this much press in such a short amount of time?

What me must first understand is the fact that this has been done before, by the person who has been hit most by Palin — Barack Obama. Long ago in political time, Hillary Clinton was once the king of the hill, and a sure-shot to at least make to the general election. And then Obama came, literately out of thin air, and getting more press and hype than Clinton has ever had — eventually overtaking her. 

And although on a bigger stage, this process has essentially repeated itself with Sarah Palin. And because of this, the Obama camp must understand how they took down Clinton could end up being the end of them — defensive rage. Clinton, down in the polls, switched from talking about her policies to using brute force, taking swipes at Obama from a defensive standpoint, something the public recognized as weak.

So what Obama must do is exploit Palin’s weaknesses without letting go of his strengths — discussing himself and what his plans are if elected. 

As I have explained in a different post, Sarah Palin has two big weaknesses — the press, and hand to hand combat. 

The first weakness is due to Palin instant celebrity status. She has fallen victim to what many politicians have feared — a press craze. One of the prices Palin has paid since entering the political stage out of nowhere is that every political or celebrity magazine must have her on the front cover. And because of this, most magazines or press outlets has attempted to discover dirt, hidden, or unexploited information about Palin so their article could be different. And this is what really brought out Palin’s family, greatly including her now infamous daughters, one with down syndrome and the other 17 and pregnant. This has exploded, and later sparking so-called attacks from the opposing party.

The first weakness is due to Palin instant celebrity status. She has fallen victim to what many politicians have feared — a press craze. One of the prices Palin has paid since entering the political stage out of nowhere is that every political or celebrity magazine must have her on the front cover. And because of this, most magazines or press outlets has attempted to discover dirt, hidden, or unexploited information about Palin so their article could be different. And this is what really brought out Palin’s family, greatly including her now infamous daughters, one with down syndrome and the other 17 and pregnant. This has exploded, and later sparking so-called attacks from the opposing party.

The second weakness of Sarah Palin, which could potentially make or break her, is hand to hand political combat. Palin has (and will have) success in what I would call mortar fire, attacking the opposition by way of press statements and campaign ads, which continue to play huge roles in the public, each one accumulating tons of traffic on the viral web and ending up as stories on news outlets such as CNN. 

But If you ask any political commentator of any party the main reason why Sarah Palin has become such a dartboard, they would say her politics. And this is mostly true — Palin is short on the offensive-defensive game of a sit down debate, and because of this, she will most likely not fare well in any sort of think-on-your-toes situation, which has resulted in this very visible tactic: stay away from any interviews or debates unless they are mandatory. 

This tactic, recognized by the McCain camp, has let Palin literately control American press in her direction without making it. More simply put, because she has already created an amazing amount of press and PR from bursting on the political scene and accepting her nomination, Palin doesn’t need to create any press in the form of an un-necessary interview or debate. And instead, she has created the occasional new story far back in her campaign headquarters with statements and ads reacting or criticizing to Obama and Biden. But this stay-back-and-shoot strategy hasn’t been publicly reported or written on, however, mostly due to the overwhelming news on her family, which has now been proved to act as a media shield.  

If Obama plans to take a vital advantage in the media, he must not only focus on his strengths, but exploit Palin’s tactical  weaknesses, which provides a gaping hole in her public image.

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As political talking points near to its grimmest stage in this election, and as breaking news of oil corruption surface along with internet and media rumors about Both Obama and Sarah Palin’s faith and position, one might assume from 4 years ago that the citizens of the US are defensive. Far from it.

Record numbers have tuned into media outlets, millions more have voted for the first time in the primaries than ever before, and everyone fifteen year old to eighty is online to tell us about it. And in this time of political backlash and attack ads, the US is alive with opinions and commentary from everyone including the average citizen to Matt Yglesias

There are comments everywhere on blogs providing opinions on the biggest rumors the web can offer, and writers are accepting and answering them. For once people now have a credible voice, whether its Russell Brand or me, Politico or CNN. It’s true that political swiftboats, sexism, racism, and blatant lies still exist, but there are people talking about them.

So what would we call this? It’s change. Republican or Democrat, left or right wing, Green or Libertarian, this is change, and there is no denying it. 

I think Barack Obama should be elected president, and there are people who think John McCain should be elected as well. And with fifty-five days to choose that, America’s got a heck of a lot more negotiating and arguing to do. But at least we are. At least someone pointed out the youtube videos of Sarah Palin speaking at her church and Jerimiah Wright blasting the US in his, and at least Bob Salsbury made his joke. 

So if there’s one thing we can all agree on, its that disagreeing with each other is what will get a better president in the oval office, it is what will fix our economy and debt — it is change, no matter how you look at it.

As search engine powerhouse Google recently released its own web browser, Chrome, marketing strategy crossed with the future of the web, compiling into a tech buzz comparable to the elections this year — change. 

And so sweet it is. Chrome not only offers breakthrough surfing features, but provides light at the end of the tunnel in terms of giving an easy and effective alternate browser to Microsoft’s Slow, Crash-Happy, and Ugly Internet Explorer, which currently occupies 75 percent of the World’s computers.

Also, by creating Chrome, Google finally gets it’s chance to get back at their enemy, Microsoft, which is intent on reducing traffic to Google’s search engine. (shown here when typing in “google chrome” to Microsoft’s own search). 

So what does this really mean for Google? Sadly, not much. Although all tech junkies will most certainly download and use their browser, corralling the millions of technically un-savvy Window’s users will be another task entirely.

After glamorously introduced in Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, Joe Biden excitedly strolled up to the podium, addressing the thousands of screaming voices directed to him. And at the same time, across the United States, hundreds of thousands of McCain’s loyal supporters banned together, gathering for another swipe at the Democrat’s final campaign. 

Its just another day in the world of politics, where bitter rivalries are settled by a public media death-match, and separate campaigns take whatever they can find and throw it into the fire. And this is precisely what is happening now on the web in both sides of the center, both officially and through amateur sources. JohnMcCain.com recently ran a section with pre-primary debate footage of Biden confirming that Obama was too inexperienced to be the president of the United States. This ad, which is now on a youtube thrill ride, has been both pushed on proudly by conservative bloggers and ripped up by liberal sources. It has been been debated on both sides the by the professionals and used by Obama’s extreme opposition (the ever so questionable McCain-Clinton group) in every possible angle that somehow attacks the senator. 

And with campaign news like this, an explosion of opinions and analyzation all over the world was in a sense expected.

In my opinion, Biden on Obama’s ticket strikes many nerves. Politically, he is the best pick to support the candidate, with his impressive foreign policy insight and credentials, but at the same time he is the perfect person for conservative attack. Even though he is now on team Obama, his long line of gaffes and politically un-correct (whether taken out of context or not) comments will come back to haunt him, whether delivered by the press or by the opposing party.

But then again, that’s just a part of politics, and in the end, it will be America’s decision whether he is the overall best running mate for Obama, not McCain’s.

China’s In Trouble

August 6, 2008

I bet a few critics of the IOC are giving their “I told you so” remarks right about now. Why? China’s in big trouble. After insurgent attacks in Western China, China’s is up to their necks in problems – as well as doubters. These attacks (which killed 20 border patrolmen) claimed to be in favor of independence in some of China’s Western providences. But everyone knows that they came at the perfect time – just days before the Beijing Olympics. And why are we so ticked off with this? In 2001, when China was given their Olympic stature, they vowed to do many things for the game, including limiting the violence and taking care of their human rights issues. If you ask a foreign policy hunk, they’ll most likely tell you that after seven years, they haven’t exactly fulfilled their promises. Their popular-with-the-press pollution problem doesn’t help either, as many athletes who arrived to the games wore masks off the plane. 

But aside from that, one must wonder if another attack is in the making for Beijing. The Chinese government boasts they have foiled past plans, but many of us know that with China’s decreasing credibility, they are looking for anything to gain the press’s trust – and with China that sometimes leads to a habit of exaggerations. Aside from that, it looks like China isn’t very keen on getting very much outside press into their business – they weren’t so accommodating to Japanese reporters covering the insurgency attacks. They also don’t like the rest of the world reporting on the games, as they issued a countrywide internet blackout for websites that planned to cover the Olympics. They also sent out a list of websites that they did not want to publish a word about their games, most international. China has also cut off internet access entirely in parts of their country, and one can only wonder why…

So here we have a country in which many people are speculating. It has in a sense failed its own promises. They have issued a media and internet blackout throughout their entire country and have set limits on all the worldwide media they can get their hands on. They aren’t exactly best of friends with America, and our athletes have showed their concern by wearing masks inside the air-conditioned Beijing airport. So with all this, one might conclude the US president should not be one of the spectators at the Olympics. This was something I was for until my brother brought me to my senses and gave me a great, but simple reason why this would be a horrible idea. He correctly stated that Bush would stir an already sticky situation by boycotting the Olympics.

Now this is a correct answer, but there is something he may not have thought of, and rightfully so. In this whirlwind of politics, one might forget what the Olympics really boil down to – sports. A gathering of world-class athletes couldn’t come in a more grand stage, and sometimes big time newspapers and writers can forget that. We’ve all had those moments sitting in front of the TV with a Coke in one hand and chips in the other with your buddies, and whether you are watching tennis or basketball, ski racing or baseball — pegging your friends with chips or chucking them at the players on TV – we’ve all felt at home. I remember watching the finals with a bunch of guys I spent a week with in some remote tennis camp (that’s another story), and they were all Boston Celtics fans. Crammed in a smelly breakfast room with a bunch of sweaty top US junior tennis players in a room with only two small rotating air-fans, I felt like some monk dude who found the connection with god. I had found the real essence of sports – rooting on a team with a bunch of other people who you knew nothing about other than the point that they liked another team. You hated them, but that just makes your connection with them more powerful. So this is why we should forget that maybe we made a bad decision by picking China to host the Olympics, but besides that, in the end it’s the game that matters. I’m sure if Bin Laden was a Red Sox fan and Bush was a Yankees fan they would get in a brawl, but in the end they are just sports fans. My point here? Sports isn’t just a game, it’s an escape from politics and the outside world. That’s why every country should be part of this celebration, and that’s why we should all forget the politics, cram ourselves in small bar with our buddies and stare at the TV screen, and be sports fans. Not politicians, presidents, citizens and terrorists, but just sports fans. And that’s all that we have in common these days.

For the first time in my life it feels weird to be American. As a kid, I’ve always

‘thought of South America as a vast continent scattered with small towns comprised of tents and longhouses, and the cities would be much less than what we have in the states. Why the heck did I think that? Is it because I’m tired after a ten-hour flight, or is it because I’m American, and that’s what we’re supposed to think. I’d guess it’s both. So here I am in the capital of Peru’s airport during a 30-minute refueling break for a plane bound for Santiago, Chile. It’s a strange sensation; I can’t read or understand a word that’s spoken or written, and I’m fascinated by it. This is the first place I have ever been where I am the lone American, surrounded by South American people who don’t give a tomato that I speak English and walk around like a tropical parrot in the North Pole. In fact, everyone around me seems kind of disgusted. They’ve probably been through this drill before, and I can relate to that. Heck, whenever I’m trotting around the Los Angeles Airport, which is my home for the weekends, I’m disgusted to see foreigners speaking other languages and getting completely lost. I just want to shout: “Can’t you see the signs!” Gee, I’m so American.

So here I am, sitting in a Spanish smoking bar, music blaring all around me, my lungs half full with second-hand smoke, sitting in front of a computer that has free internet, but because I forgot almost all my Spanish from second grade, I can’t read a thing on the screen. I knew that was going to come back and haunt me. I’m in somewhere totally foreign to me, thousands of miles away from home, and – as an intense traveler — my worst dream has come true: I, the local, has become the tourist. I have lost the battle with myself to overcome being in such a different place and act like I live here. The only thing I am familiar with here is a Hannah Montana backpack worn by a 10 year old Disney fan sitting to my left. God, Disney’s marketing is genius. So, here I am, surrounded by Peruvian people, in a smoking bar in a South American airport. And it feels tiring, enraging, and good at the same time. I’ve only spent 10 minutes here, and Peru is unique.

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Note: Since I ended up being too stupid to even try to get internet, I typed this in Peru, but it will probably be published whenever I get internet, so don’t get freaked out because of the different times. And don’t tell me I’ve overlooked Peru, because I have…I’ve only visited the airport for a refueling stop. If you want a full review of a South American city, try to read my first impressions of Montevideo, Uruguay, which I’ll write when I arrive there later today. 

Good Press, Bad Press

August 2, 2008

One of the reasons Blogging was thought up was to allow people without credentials or three-foot thick portfolios to report to the world on anything they want. The world – in return, can read it as they please, put their opinions to the side, and look at someone else’s view. They can respond, either by contacting the original writer or writing a piece of their own that is either disagreeing or agreeing with the person. For example, instead of watching a Fox News reporter give a generic report on the Internet, all one must do is power up their computer, and through the internet, read the real story firsthand from a Darfur local. This is why I believe Blogging is the future, and unless the AP can follow the leader, media is the past.

So, with that said, I am greatly puzzled why people, although most feel the press isn’t giving the whole truth at times, still read and (some) daily worship media outlets that have been proven to bend or hide reality. And this isn’t just the obvious, big time newspapers, but magazines, too. How do we truly know what’s real and what’s a publicity stunt? Its definitely hard, with the entire entertainment business always on their toes for a new story, equipped with the best journalists out there. It is no doubt a complex mission. In truth, we don’t know who or what to trust. Everything from Newsweek to OK! has had its ups and downs, rights and wrongs.

And who knows, maybe a source like Hello magazine — who nine times out of ten will have their five page spread on something the celebrities want them to write – gets their hands on the juiciest story in entertainment history, and publish it. How would people react? Would they doubt its truth, and question the magazine’s credibility? Or would they praise them for coming out of their cocoon and reporting on something out of their realm? And what if the National Enquirer, a digest magazine with so many bogus claims in the past — landed themselves that same story — and published it? Certainly a story of that magnitude in an entertainment source that has a history of publishing such stories of false outcome would go unnoticed. It would be like Peter and the Wolf, with the Enquirer being Peter, crying out the same stories over and over again, at first to peril of the rest of the world, and then to their annoyance. And once Peter called it out one last time, this time for real, would the world take any notice?

And what if the hailed New York Times got that exclusive story and published it? In truth, everyone would believe it. Few would question its credibility, for this is the New York times, arguably the greatest assortment of press that has ever joined forces to make a newspaper! Even though many times before it has been wrong, made mistakes, and even tied the wrong ends, a story of this size and alleged importance must be true – especially from a source as large as this.

And what if that story was wrong?

What if Hello magazine, the National Enquirer, and the hailed New York Times just made it up? How would we know? The answer: it would be impossible. We, the general public, have no power compared to them – their higher class, credentials, reporters, leaders and owners no doubt know so much more about everything that all we are left to do is guess, pick and choose. And that is why blogging is the future. We can change this. No one would stand in our way. And now, with computers on our side, it’s the public against the press. And unless the press has enough sense to change their ways, we will occupy the throne of truth, and they will be merely a thing of the past.

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I’m sure this will cause a few mixed feelings, so feel free to put your opinions into comments, and I’ll try to respond to everybody. Thanks for reading. 

The Art Of Chain Mail

July 29, 2008

As the web, the greatest communication portal ever constructed, continues to flourish, email made its mark in hundreds of millions of people’s lives wordwide. And what has started as a simple one line text message relayer, email has now become so flexible you can send almost whatever the heck you want to anyone’s address you want. And because of this, email has been one of hackers and identity stealer’s greatest assets. But almost as bad, however, is the ever-growing art of — yes — chain mail. You’ve seen it. You’ve deleted it. But, if your gullible enough, you’ve probably been fooled by it. As a 13 year old, I get about two chain mails a day or more in my spam, and (since I like to think I’m not very gullible) I delete them. But interestingly enough, they come back. This is because other people who fell for the chain letter and put down their email address. The sender is getting more success, so he sends more chain mail. And according to my study (which you will here about later in the post) he will then send out the money bags. 

I have encountered many different kids of chain mail, two in particular. The first, which you probably have seen if you are a emailer, is the most common of chain mails — the multiplier. When it reaches you, it will probably have over 1,000 followers of about the same age as you. If you are a young teen…the mail will probably start out with the name and email of the person who forwarded the email to you. He or she will have to be someone with your email address, so it will probably be someone you know. Then, below that, there will probably be a message on on a topic that is supposed to be either tempting, gut wrenching, or anything else that will make you interested. For me, the message almost 90% of the time is something relationship centered. It will start on with a really cheesy story of a couple where one cheated on one, or one didn’t pass on a chain mail, or one did something like move to Greenland. Then they break up, who ever cheated or didn’t pass it on gets stung by killer bees or someone gets fired or the girl turns out to be Mr. T, or Kimbo Slice and beats the heck out of the guy. Then, you have to scroll down for suspense, and another message appears. This is guaranteed to be some sort of threat about how if you don’t forward this to 10 more people, you will get bad luck, you will have some sort of relationship problems, or you’ll get beat up. Sadly, as retarded as this sounds, people actually find themselves to believe that if they don’t forward, all those things will happen. And because of this, the ten people that they send to will most likely be you. 

After maybe three weeks of the chain mail going on, the original sender will look over an updated copy of the email with maybe, 3,000 or 4,000 emails on it. Now, this is where the sender makes his pay. He could, using the IP, name, and email one of his gullible senders, hack their computers, take everything on it, and then plant a virus. As one of the people who have witnessed something like this live, you can put the above sentences in consideration before you plant you name and address on a random email. But the second, non lethal thing that he will try after the original chain mail is something called the pyramid, which was mentioned as the money bag method earlier. 

This method is primarily used on adults, but I have seen it pulled off with kids, too. The sender, now with about 10,000 addresses, will (for example) send an email to 5,000 of them saying that the DOW will go down the next day. Then, to the other 5,000 how will send a similar email reading the DOW will go up the next day. He will make all his emails look like they are only written to each and everyone of his recipients, so the recipients will not suspect this is a massive chain letter. Then, the next day, the sender will look at the Wall Street, see how the DOW did, and then to the 5,000 letters that were correct, he will split them in half and repeat the same method, for instance claiming that Apple stock will go down. He will repeat until he has about 100 email addresses who have gotten correct information maybe, 10 or 11 times (I’m not in algebra yet, so spare me). Then he will send emails to all of them claiming either he is magic or more likely, he is an inside man who knows how the stock will favor every single day. Then he will entice the 100 people, and then offer to give them a detailed description of how stock will go every morning for an entire year — but for the price of $50,000 dollars. In an ideal world, he will probably get about 70 of those people to give him the money, then he will disappear to Brazil and live off of his cash there. 

Although this seems, far fetched, this has happened numerous times. My point? The next time a chain mail comes you way, think twice about where your information will be going.

With the media attention now accelerating because of Barack’s Obama’s trip overseas, again — the common perception now is that the media is biased towards Obama. But I think that the media is so vast that it is hard to correctly identify that it is biased…

Now as the election narrows down, and with only two fighters left in this presidential melee, news today is merely two subjects — Obama’s trip and the so called “fact” the the press lean towards him. What is the truth? Well, to clarify this to myself, I wouldn’t call the press one. In fact, it is divided into five totally different sections: Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, TV, and Internet. Calling a one of these organizations liberal or conservative is hard to do, for example: although CNN may have 4 Obama articles to one McCain story, its staff’s blogging section may be overwhelmingly conservative. After the New Yorker controversy, a magazine that was thought to be liberal is now questioned, while in my mind they were just poking fun. On TV, reporters may belong to the conservative party, and have pro-McCain views, but report on stories about Obama’s trip to the middle east. On the web, (what I think is the most opinionated source) where the candidates control their own ground, nothing is held back. Both Obama and McCain have set up camp with they own websites, and grown outward, each trying to conquer Youtube, Myspace, and Facebook. Although some of this has lured in otherwise non-voters, this task is almost impossible — there are so many users on these web powerhouses, that having an Obama or McCain section of the site is not going to effect anything — people are still going to post whatever the heck they want. So although I do think there are some West Wing news sources and some conservative news sources, it is virtually impossible to enter that realm and come out with a credible point. 

Now with that said, I will get into what I think. This election has been like no other in terms of its candidates — with the first woman and first black president. Barriers have been broken, and the press has no doubt soaked it up. Hillary Clinton put this point very well many months ago when the Democrat side consisted of Obama, Clinton, and John Edwards. She pointed out that there are  new candidates for America to ponder, herself as the first woman, Obama as the first african-american, and then — there’s John Edwards. Her point was that the dominant figures in America have been rich, white men and now that this is starting to change, the bold new political figure won’t exactly be bold and new anymore if it is a while male. And now with Obama against a white male, the public would love to know all about this different breed of politician that Obama is and the press has had a field day telling them all about it. Do I think this is right? No, I believe the person who deserves to lead the polls should have the right beliefs about America and not have the public be biased or have hatred against them by their race, gender or appearance. So the press might claim that they only write more about Obama because more people would like to know about him, but that isn’t exactly true. America is in a dead heat in this race, leading into the convention. The percentages have been almost been equal, currently CNN says (not that I fully believe them) that Obama is winning the national polls 47% to 41% for McCain. Looking at the US map, McCain has secured many states and has many states leaning on him compared to Obama, who (like the average Democratic powerhouse) secures less states, but has control of the more populated ones. 

So, since this is a perspective blog in many sorts, I will put my point across. What I believe is that some of the press is overwhelmingly left wing and some of the press is overwhelmingly conservative, but with so many news sources and perspectives to take in, it’s very hard to accuse anyone of being partisan and be correct. I do believe Obama can get more press than McCain because he has broken many boundaries, and that is part of the reason for this post to be written. But another part of that is the press being a little more left wing than conservative.

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