pst2edit - 1 Lauren Mize PST 3127 T.A. - Michael Teske...

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Lauren Mize PST 3127 T.A. - Michael Teske Paper #2 26 November 2007 Friend or Foe? In the book Manufacturing Consent , authors Herman and Chomsky claim that the mass media propagandize on behalf of powerful societal interests. In order to see if their claims are true I will use their comparative method of case studies to see how the presidents of Israel and Nicaragua’s sex scandals are portrayed by the New York Times. According to Herman and Chomsky there should be a definitive line between the friend country and the foe based solely on the way the news is presented. My investigation into the events of both Israel and Nicaragua will see if the media is truly like a lense or filter, by using quantitative and qualitative measures, taking note of omissions and distinguishing between facts and interests. From a purely quantitative measure Herman and Chomsky prove to have a valid point as to how news in presented in terms of friends and foes. The New York Times wrote twenty-four articles on our friend country Israel, while only dedicating eighteen articles to enemy and foe Nicaragua. At first it seemed odd to me that one would write so much about our friend and so little about our foe. I thought that there should have been more written describing the Nicaragua President and his scandal. However, when I read the articles it was apparent as to why there had been so much more written about Israel; the Israeli case was treated with sympathy, defending 1
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President Moshe Katsav. More writing was needed in order to convince the readers of the “facts” of his wrong doings. In the case with Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, each of the eighteen stories is told with great similarities. This overlap and continual repeat of information is used to convince the reader to see only the information that needs to be remembered. The next method that Herman and Chomsky use to detect bias is the actual column inches of each article. This task proved to be difficult for me due to the articles which I was given were sent through e-mail and already formatted. I decided to take a different approach and find the average number of words used in the articles. My findings were similar to that which I found before with the number of articles written. The Israel case had an average of seven hundred and seventy nine words while articles written about Nicaragua only contained six hundred and ninety. Once again it seems as though there was justification for Israel’s President Moshe Katsav, while the facts were quite simple for Nicaragua’s Ortega. Ortega is viewed as a dirty political man who cares only for himself and would stoop so low as to rape his own step- daughter. Another tactic of Herman and Chomsky is to keep a count of the number of front page articles of each of the cases. I presume that this method is used because one of the key ways to sell papers is through front page articles and bold headlines. Israeli President Moshe Katsav’s rape allegations made the front page of the New York Times once. The title of the cover story
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course PST 3127 taught by Professor Klein during the Spring '08 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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pst2edit - 1 Lauren Mize PST 3127 T.A. - Michael Teske...

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