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10 Things to Ask About the News- Mar. 7th

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Media Bias on War Coverage

With drastic ongoing developments happening with the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the news coverage over the topic continues to make headlines and front covers. It’s all everyone will talk about, yet the unending media output has given way to many remarks of media bias, particularly in the way news anchors and reporters have made comparisons of the Ukrainian conflict to those in the Middle East.

CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata said, “But this isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose my words carefully, too – city, one where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen.” He later apologized, but similar behavior is seen in other news outlets in Western media. Lucy Watson of ITV news said, “This is not a developing, third world nation; this is Europe.” Multiple other European and American journalists have also used similar “they’re just like us” language in articles and news reports, bringing lots of attention not only to hints of off-handed racist language but also to a direct comparison of this conflict with those in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Engagement Questions

  • In light of this conflict, we are seeing a majority of Americans coming together in agreement and support of Ukraine. What does this almost-unanimous support reveal about the values that Americans treasure?
    • How does it shape the kinds of conflicts we do or do not support? 
    • How might one conflict, like the Ukraine-Russia conflict, contrast to another conflict, like the Afghanistan conflict? 
  • How should we, in Braver Angels, frame the conflict? What aspects of it do we want to highlight? What aspects may we want to be more wary of addressing? 
  • What does the current media coverage on Ukraine and Russia reveal about media biases prevalent in Western media?
  • What makes this war different from conflicts in the Middle East? Why is there so much more coverage?

Supreme Court Decisions This Week

This Monday morning, the Supreme Court declined Bill Cosby’s prosecution case. In 2018, Bill Cosby was one of the first major celebrities convicted of sexual assault in the #MeToo movement for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. After being sentenced to about three years in prison, Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his conviction on the grounds that his right to due process was violated, releasing him from prison. Now, the Supreme Court has just announced that they will not review his case.

Last Saturday, the Supreme Court also reimposed the death penalty for convicted Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. 

Engagement Questions

  • What does justice, accountability, and freedom mean to you?
  • To what degree is constitutionalism a priority to aspects of justice? 
  • After all these years after #MeToo, how might it still be relevant? Have we seen change? What has it contributed to mainstream media and culture?

Women’s History Month

So, with the close of Black History Month, we now enter March: Women’s History Month. In celebration, I’d like to highlight Jane Addams. A peace activist in the late 19th century and a leader of the settlement house movement, Addams was one of the most distinguished in her generation of college-educated women. Rejecting marriage and motherhood, she committed her life towards her activism for poor and social reform. 

Engagement Questions

  • What can we do to commemorate this month?
  • Is it important to learn and share our histories with one another? Should things in the past stay in the past? Or are there specific things we should remember and commemorate? What differentiates what should be remembered and what should be forgotten – if anything at all?
  • What role should past grievances play in the reconstruction of our present? In terms of policies? Events? Observances? How does recounting history give power to the present?

Editor’s Note: Every week, BA Media intern Janus Kwong compiles a briefing document for our national media staff’s reference, a guide for thinking through the major news items we and our fellow Americans might have at top of mind. These documents don’t assert a party-line or standard; they lay out some themes and guide us through key questions, and like the best of our work, they bring us a little closer to understanding things with a spirit of goodwill, through a commitment to process. They shouldn’t be seen as fact-sheets or strategic assessments, but as reflective little guides to help us cultivate the Braver Angels Way as we approach any issue at all. We in the media team are reflecting on these questions ourselves, and we invite interested BA members to do so too, and share your thoughts with us at media@braverangels.org or in the comments. -LNP

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1 thought on “10 Things to Ask About the News- Mar. 7th”

  1. I’m working with Mount Tamalpais College (the only accredited college inside a prison – San Quentin). I’d like to know more about this campaign on Media Literacy and see if we can find a way to make a presentation inside San Quentin (maybe even create a college course).

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