(un)Sound Bytes

November 3, 2008

During what could be the closest and most crucial presidential campaign in our nation’s history, the campaigning ads seem to have gotten dangerously out of touch with reality.

Earlier in this blog, I talked about how nearly every televised ad was a shot at each candidates “weaknesses.”

Here, I will discuss the ethics of picking out sound bytes that completely distort the original intention of a message to portray that candidate in a bad light.

Technically, a medium can use a sound byte if it doesn’t change words around or replace them with other words. This means that opponents may completely warp an original meaning by selecting certain parts of a sentence or speech and leaving out other context clues.

As an example, McCain picked a piece of one of Obama’s speeches where Obama talks about how the country must repair the economy’s long-term structure.

McCain selects the phrase “the fundamentals of the economy are strong,” claiming Obama was making the same claim that McCain had been accused for.

Here is what an article from the Huffington Post lists as Obama’s original speech.

“[We need] a plan that would extend expiring unemployment benefits. For those Americans who have lost their jobs and have been working hard to find a new one, but haven’t found one yet. That’s part of the change we need. And then after this immediate problem, we’ve got the long-term fundamentals that will really make sure this economy grows. Change means tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses that deserve it. As President I am going to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups.”

Clearly the segment was taken out of context to try to turn people away from Obama.

Also, Obama’s campaign has done the same thing with McCain’s sound bytes, so don’t think that I am trying to sway you to one side because of the close proximity of election day.

This is just one example of the ethical issue of truth and honesty in the media.

I don’t see this problem ever being fixed any time soon.

They aren’t breaking any legal rules, only being dishonest, and people are too lazy and apathetic to search for the truth if they notice something fishy. The public is spoon fed what campaigners want them to think, and they swallow willingly.

Here is the Huffington Post article


A “Minor” Issue?

November 3, 2008

About seven months ago a 16-year-old girl from my hometown and my high school alma mater was brutally stabbed to death in her home.

A few weeks ago police arrested a suspect, Ryan Barnes of Portsmouth Va.

He is 17-years-old.

The problem with this isn’t that he was arrested for being a minor, if he is the lead suspect, then he should get arrested. The problem I see with this is that his name and information is being exploited through different media like the Web and television.

In one particular online article, the reporter included a link to Barnes’s MySpace page and YouTube page.

I understand that when you sign up to have a MySpace or YouTube page, you are agreeing that it is available to the public, but it seems to me that boundaries should be marked for the media in what they may publish.

Barnes is still in high school and isn’t even legal yet. Should there be a privacy issue regarding this?

Not only is he still a minor, but he hasn’t even been found guilty yet, he is only a suspect and could be innocent as far as anyone knows. This could particular ruin his young adult life.

If you were the minor’s parents wouldn’t you be heart broken to know that your child’s information was thrown all over the Web for everyone to see, and not only that but leave him vulnerable to hate mail and endless cyber-stalking?

Minors should not be exploited by the media, especially by ways of social networking websites, where everyone is welcome to read and view private aspects of their lives, and then respond to them by ways of mail messages.

If a news medium believes they have a just cause for providing this private information besides an easy way of cyber-stalking, they should include it in their story .

“Because it’s available,” is not an excuse.

Read the Barnes article here