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December 09, 2009 - Image 10

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THE EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK withJESSICA VOSGERCHIAN
A look at the big news events this week and how important they really are. Conveniently rated from one to 10.

Magazine Editor:
Jessica Vosgerchian
Editor in Chieft
Gary Graca
ManagingEditor:
Courtney Ratkowiak
Photo Editor:
Sam Wolson
The Junk Drawer:
Brian Tengel
Center spread design:
Corey Defever
Cover photo:
Sam Wolson
The Statement is The Michigan
Daily's news magazine, distributed
every Wednesday during the
academic year.

new rules
rule 233: You
can only turn
your nose up at
cheap beer if you
haven't been stu-
pid drunk in the
past semester.
rule 234: It's OK
to hate Christmas
music. And Santa
Claus. And super
crowded mall
parking lots, rule
235: No, Spanish
232 doesn't count
for the Race and
Ethnicity require-
ment - even if
you did take a
themed cultural
section.
- E-mail rule submissions to
TheStatement@umich.edu

I

1

THE COMCAST EMPIRE
Comcast, whose commercials and customer service have made it the cable com-
pany everyone loves to hate, announced that it would acquire a majority stake in
NBC Universal in a $30 billion deal. The deal, which has become the latest example
of massive media consolidation, has raised the hackles of consumer protection
groups who fear the cable giant could use its newfound power to force industry-
wide price increases, among other nefarious designs. Also worried is struggling
talk-show host Jay Leno, who risks being replaced by one of those Slowsky turtles.
"THE FAMILY" VALUES IN UGANDA
Gay Ugandans would face life imprisonment and, in some cases, the death penalty
under a bill being debated in the east African country. Ugandan legislators took
up the proposal following a conference in Kampala that featured three American
evangelical Christian activists. The bill's sponsor, David Bahati, has close ties to
the fundamentalist group "The Family," best known for offering counsel to GOP
adulterers like Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. The bright
side: Maybe Ensign and Sanford will move to Uganda, where their marriages would
surely be stronger without all those gays running around and forming committed
relationships in the open.
HUFF PO BLOWS ONE
The Huffington Post got itself into a sticky situation Monday when it ran a story on
a poster warning against shower masturbation that was found in a University dorm
bathroom. The sign called self-pleasuring in the showers a "University of Michigan
Honor Code Violation," citing the costs of clearing semen from pipes that aren't
meant to handle it. The only problem: The poster is a hoax, one that has popped up
occasionally in dorm bathrooms here for years. The Huffington Post corrected their
story yesterday, but the embarassment of running a masturbation false alarm will
take a long time to clear from their content pipeline.
FOLLOW
THE DAILY
ON
FACEBOOK.

f1 i a al P R E S E N T S
tI '.. e. A

za

THURSDAY, DEC. 3 - You don't really
think about your news-consumption rou-
tine until you're forced to change it. Nor-
mally, I would walk to class listening to the
five minute NPR news podcast. instead,
I listened to Bill O'Reilly's brief "Talking
Points" podcast, in which he gives his take
on a particular news item. Thursday's topic
was the President's jobs summit. O'Reilly
called for a complete government spend-
ing freeze - advice apparently reserved for
Democratic presidents.
To be honest, I had wanted to listen to
the true king of conservative talk radio,
Rush Limbaugh, but conservative pundits
are apparently operating on a different
business model than their liberal counter-
parts (big surprise). I get full TV episodes of
"Countdown", "The Rachel Maddow Show"
and the NPR audio podcasts for free every
day. Limbaugh, on the other hand, charges
a minimum of $6.95 a month (or $57.90 for
FRIDAY, DEC. 4t-sI clicked around the
Drudge Report this morning beforeI
got out of bed, and discovered that Gate-
Crasher-Gate wasn't discovered by the
Secret Service until the next day via Face-
book. What?!
Besides that stunning revelation, I read
more about Climategate, which apparently
wouldn't have been more than a blip on
my radar if I had been perusing my nor-
mal sources. According to Drudge Report,
Friday was the 14th straight day that ABC,
NBC and CBS all neglected to report the
"huge Climategate story" during their
weekday news programs. After every-
thing I've had to read about Climategate,
it actually leaves me shocked that none of
the major news networks have covered it.
Does this mean I've been persuaded by Fox
and Drudge, or have I been manipulated
into thinking this is a real story when my
regular news sources apparently deemed it
SATURDAY, DEC. 5 - In the WSJ edi-
torial, "No Way, No How, to the Public
Option," Kimberley Strassel portrayed
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) as the last
defense standing between our country and

the year) for access to something called the
Rush 24/7 Club, which includes his podcast.
No wonder Republicans have lost touch
with nation's youth. I can listen to a pletho-
ra of "liberal" sources for no cost. How can
Republicans expect to effectively dissemi-
nate their message if they start by restrict-
ing access to it?
Later, while cringing through an hour
of "Glen Beck," I learned about a scandal
involving a number of scientists that is being
referred to as "Climategate." Between this
and "Gate-Crasher-Gate" - concerning the
White House party crashers - I've decided
Watergate was the worst thing to happen to
the media in the history of suffixes.
1. Withdrawal from Afghanistan
2. 90bama's unemployment summit
3. Climategate
insignificant?
Coming home from class, I gazed long-
ingly at that lovely blue bag containing
the New York Times on my porch before
settling down with a borrowed copy of
the Wall Street Journal. WSJ economics
reporter Jon Hilsenrath debated the role
of the central bank in the United States. I
had always assumed that the salient debate
was over the role of government concern-
ing oversight or bailouts, but never in its
fundamental right to act in the market-
sphere at all. But for the second time in as
many days, I encountered someone argu-
ing against allowing the Fed to set interest
rates or regulate banks.
1. Climategate
2. Bernanke's reconfirmation
3. Dubai's bankruptcy
"another entitlement program." But I agree
with my normal media sources on this one.
Lieberman is less savior, more Judas. He is
not valiantly standing up for the position of
See THE LIBERAL, Page 8B

CAN CHANGING
THE--CHANNEL.
CHANGE MINDS?
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if a liberal and a conservative
traded news media for a few days? Liberal Sam Wainwright
and Libertarian Sam van Kleef did just that, ignoring news
for half a week and then submerging themselves in enemy S
content for the other half. The result? Insight into the bias of
U.S. news outlets.
BY SAM WAINWRIGHT AND SAM VAN KLEEF

THURSDAY, DEC. 3 - Ignoring the book-
marked Drudge Report tab on my browser,
I was instead confronted with three mas-
sive pictures of Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke on the Huffington Post web-
site that accompanied astory onBernanke's
reconfirmation hearing. I read through
some of the headlines and watched a clip
of Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" on the
Climategate situation, which garnered
mainly angry rebuttals in the comment sec-
tion. A New York Times editorial on Presi-
dent Obama's job summit contained absurd
claims that flew in the face of anyone who
has taken even the most basic economics
class - for example, the idea that unem-
ploymentbenefits help create jobs.
"Countdown" with Keith Olbermann
was the linchpin of liberal propaganda for
the day. Olbermann's most annoying part
was his very childish impersonations in his
"World's Worst Persons" segment.
Finally, I got in a good laugh when Olber-
mann accused the morning newscast "Fox
& Friends" for taking the Climategate
FRIDAY,DEC.4- FirstcthingFridaymorn-
ing, I turned to Huffington Post and the
Times editorial page. Interestingly, both left
and right seemed to agree on the poor han-
dling of the biggest current news issue, war
in Afghanistan. But Gail Collins of the Times
was apparently worried to death about a few
hundred million dollars in cuts in a $1.2 tril-
lion healthcare bill. She did, however, make
the astute remark that Republicans are only
fiscal conservatives when not in power.
On "Countdown," Adrianna Huffing-
ton's acknowledgement that hard times are
ahead for the Democrats in 2010 didn't go
down well with Olbermann, who tried to
steer the conversation toward discussing
the right-wing fringe. Childish tea-bagger
references are still thrown around. Liberal
hypocrisy on "Countdown" abounded as
usual, with the "birthers" rightfully blasted
SATURDAY, DEC.5 - On the morning of
day three, I felt some slight withdrawal, as
I again had to ignore my bookmarked tabs
and go straight to the Huffington Post and

"Daily Show" clip out of context. He should
have called the Huffington Post first, since
the full Daily Show segment was on the site
and showed that Fox & Friends were cor-
rect in saying Stewart had blasted Al Gore
and the climate scientists.
So far, three differences have already
become apparent between conservative and
liberal media. First, all the headlines are
much larger in liberal websites - the big-
gest font size on right-wing websites is 28,
but the left seems obsessed with headlin-
ing its propaganda in size 36 or above. The
second difference lies in the liberal media's
tendency to employ humor in delivering the
news. That probably helps compensate for
the third difference, which is the intensity
of the anger and hatred expressed in reader
comments.
1. Obana's unemnploymentsummit
2The Bernanke hearing
3. Climategate on "The Daily Show"
even though the show never made an issue
of crazy liberals like the "9/11truthers." One
of the main differences I realized Friday
between the left- and right-wing news and
opinion programs was in the types of people
interviewed. It seems the majority of guests
on right-wing programs are much more sig-
nificant individuals, like senators, others in
Congress, PAC heads or CEOs. On the other
hand, the left mostly features people whose
credibility seems only tobe founded on their
opinions (writers, columnists, etc.) as well as
a small pool of (former) political Democrats.
1. Afghanistan
2. Healthcare
3. Tiger Woods
the Times.
I also listened to the podcast of "Wait
Wait... Don't Tell Me" on NPR, and was
See THE CONSERVATIVE, Page 8B

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