Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Middle class Tax Hike?

OK. So Obama, reaffirmed his promise to the middle class for NO new taxes. But I am not convinced at least not in a few years. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, said Sunday they could no longer guarantee the middle class will be spared a tax increase. These are economically minded people, they said this for a reason. Look we can’t fund healthcare and a MASSIVE debt without raising taxes or cutting A LOT of services. Which do you think is easier, realistically, thats right taxes. And even if you cut some programs its still not enough. And the rich can’t pay for it all either. The Bush tax cuts will expire soon, then theres talk of an tax increase on top of that then plus state taxes…it could be that the rich in America could pay 50+% in income taxes which rich or not rich is a lot of money. The rich can’t pay for everything what are we going to do make them pay 90% income tax. Even at 50% I am sure that will drive many of them away to I don’t know Canada or somewhere else which actually means we lose money. My long rant is that the rich can’t pay for it all. This isn’t heaven or something, we just don’t have responsibility but tons of benefits but we need to be realistic. Hey, I don’t want to pay more taxes but how else are we going to pay for a bankrupt Social Security, bankrupt Medicare, uberexpensive universal healthcare (potentially), the nation-building of Afghanistan, an insane amount of debt (!), etc get the picture. The Middle Class has to eventually take more of the burden and the Obama economic team knows it. I am assuming Obama will not raise these taxes (if he does) unless he gets a second term for his own political security just because it will be very unpopular and plus we are in a pretty bad recession. Obama can’t be honest about this because the media is going to eat this up. Talk of taxes is taboo during a severe recession which could actually hurt the economy.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/03/obama.economy/index.html#

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/03/white-house-obama-committed-shielding-middle-class-tax-hike/

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Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Is Blogging increasing public participation in politics?

Trent Lott with Storm Thurmond

Trent Lott with Storm Thurmond

Yes and No. Robert Cox is right that there is a potential for “disruptive force in the political power structure” of blogs. For example, Trent Lott had to step down because as Senate Majority Leader and Dan Rather had to resign from CBS Evening News because of blogs. However, I also agree with Professor Richard Davis that blogs are just another vehicle for political expression but its influence is primarily limited. Political blogging is really a niche. The blogosphere is really for people that are already in politics. Its just another way of keeping informed or keeping others informed. People involved in these political blogs are generally already active in politics in vary degrees.

Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

PBS News Network!

“Journalist complain about neglect of complex issues and say that lines between commentary and reporting and between entertainment and news have been unduly blurred. Many think that news reporting is increasingly sloppy and full of errors , and that the watchdog role has gone awry presenting sensational audience ‘grabbing exposes.” According to Graber p 354 this opinion is across the border including television, magazine, newspapers, and Internet reporters. Its the waning public support that is leading to this journalistic decline (Graber p 358).

This make me wonder if having a PBS News Network similar to BCC in the UK would be a good idea. Those that want their sensational “news” can still view it on Fox and MSNBC while more authentic journalism can have a haven at PBS. It might mean a couple of extra dollars per person in tax dollars but it could be well worth it especially if this is the trajectory of media. I really don’t want another Yellow Journalism.

Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Is attracting newspaper readers with emotions wise?

The Reader p216-217 presents an interesting story in that emotions attract young readers more. Apparently, we want humor, surprises, something to talk about or looks out for the interests of the reader. This techniques promises some hope to the declining newspaper circulation. But what I am afraid of is that this is a slippery slope because this is borderline soft news, as I see it. How is this different that Eastern European model for success, I think its supposedly more artist driven which is cool? Maybe its not and its just the same thing with a cooler description and that model could lose its journalistic integrity as well. I don’t know but it will be interesting to see if this “experience version” news will not lead to the death of the journalism version of the news.

Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Selective Media = Distorted Reality?

When Graber showed the Bush Press Conference on Social Security (page 268-270) and how they basically ignored the topic and molded it to what the journalists wanted, out of 21 questions only 3 were on topic, it reminds me of how Obama’s recent Press Conference on Healthcare was recently mangled. The circumstances were different in the sense that the majority of questions were on topic however the last question was about the Henry Gates incident. This last question/answer got the most media attention post conference which is obviously completely off topic.

Get it? Its a distortion of Hope. Eh, I know. The best image I could get.

Get it? Its a distortion of Hope. Eh, I know. The best image I could find.

Its interesting to see how a President is at the mercy of journalists. They can portray him in a certain light so easily. The mirror model is I suppose impossible but to have the mirror out of focus is another thing altogether. It makes me question what I see and read if it is an accurate reality even if I go news junkie. Hmmm.

Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Voting Behavior, Obama, and the Financial Crisis

“Campaign messages are most potent if they concern a major or unpredicted event.” Voting behavior can be changed by political speech and campaign under this circumstance according to Graber on page 241.

Fareed Zakaria is amazing!

Fareed Zakaria is amazing!

This made me remember when Fareed Zakaria endorsed Barrack Obama on his GPS program. He mentioned that one of the main reasons was that Barack Obama had a better understanding of the economy and a better plan to deal with the crisis while John McCain did not have any new or special insight on the economy just classic Reaganomics. Zakaria did not attack Reaganomics per se but just meant to point out that times have changed and there was a specific set of problems to which Obama was honing in on while McCain did not seem to be adaptable and modern on his economic theory. In fact, McCain’s solution was virtually the same as his economic plan pre-financial crisis. Now obviously Fareed Zakaria is a political analyst but I think he picked up on something that the general public was able to sense as well. OK, maybe not be able to articulate this observation as well nonetheless still see it. Obama’s response to economic crisis during campaign was a message that persuaded many hesitant or undecided voters or even some McCain supporters to vote for him. And I think this was the reason Obama was able to have the edge and win the election.

Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Are Bloggers Journalists?

I think that bloggers should be given a media shield because 1. Many journalists are also bloggers and vice-versa 2. as Kurt Opsahl said so eloquently in the Reader page 82 “what makes journalism ‘journalism’ is not format but the content …[and many bloggers do publish] daily news, feature stories and the latest happenings” 3. the lines are obviously blurred between journalists and bloggers 4. its a question of freedom of speech and 5. if newspapers are really going to die off this a mode were journalism can survive and maybe even flourish.

Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Why is the perception of the Media as conservative, growing?

In the reader page 147 the GallUp poll shows that more people are thinking that the media is too conservative as its steadily grown in the past few years from 11% to 18% of the population. I wonder what could be the case of this phenomenon? The perception of a conservative media because its of lack of watchdog role in pre-Iraq War? The popularity of Bill O’Reilly, Lous Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Savage, Sean Hannity, etc? The article talked about political polarization increasingly reflects the public news habits. So, could this be evidence of the polarization of perception as an outgrowth? Or something else completely?

Posted by: edgarvasiliu | August 6, 2009

Pay No Attention to the Money behind the Curtain

Look, Paul Waldman makes a valid point that its the media that picks and choses the topics it will broadcast or publish. Yes, it did decide to focus on silly, trivial things like flag pins and Jeremiah Wright as opposed to the deeper more important issues at hand. However, he fails to mention for better or worse that these are generally more interesting stories which means its an audience grabber which means its a money maker. Like it or not the media needs to make money and many times such as these examples you can see it by the stories it chooses. Also, media is a little more complex that that too because competition (which ultimately means money) is a part of this equation. For example, if Fox News is going craaaazy over this Jeremiah Wright story and NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN don’t cover it in someway they could lose viewers, at least in the short term, because sensationalism works and people want to see it. So, it spreads like a cancer because of competition. I am just telling like it is, yes, it sucks, but money is as part of the equation as the journalist, sometimes. So, I think that Waldman is a little too harsh on journalists by failing to show the whole picture.

Is the new media role and traditional role in the primaries really contradictory? Why is it wrong to inspect the candidates’ platform or judge their fitness for the nation’s highest office or determine their electability? It is arguably part of the watchdog role. Its is also arguably part of social responsibility. What is wrong with attempting to inform the voter. Losing its objectivity, you say? We’ll with tricky or controversial topics you could have a balanced editorial or different editorial views or somethin. Also, the media employees analysts to give valuable insights on such topics. I am not convinced that a commitment to inform the public is miscast or contradictory to the media’s traditional role of conveying the campaign message and exposing wrongdoing. What is wrong with the media playing a constructive role? I think its a natural outgrowth and compatible with the traditional role. I don’t exactly understand how the traditional role existed but from the article’s explanation I am not persuaded that they are mutually exclusive.

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