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Critical Analysis of News Articles - Body

Critical Analysis of News Articles - Body



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Published by Cliff Pearson
This is the BODY for the required paper in PSYC 1349 Critical Thinking and Logic, analyzing news media articles.
This is the BODY for the required paper in PSYC 1349 Critical Thinking and Logic, analyzing news media articles.

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Published by: Cliff Pearson on Jun 11, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Critical Analysis 1The following news article is rife with the deductive trap we learned in class and from thetext of using beliefs as facts, and of adding irrelevant material which seems designed more todiscredit or poke fun of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) more than provide the reader with news.For example, the reporter includes the sentence, “’I do not stand alone,’DennisKucinich said as he stood, alone, in front of a cluster of microphones yesterday evening.” Thewriter here erroneously implies that Rep. Kucinich has no support from anyone for his goal of impeaching Vice President Cheney, by including the phrase “he stood, alone,” and not alsoadding that congressional representatives typically stand alone at the podium to address theHouse even when discussing a popular bill or resolution.Ms. Milbank further reports her beliefs as facts – as well as encourages the reader toquestion her credibility – when she writes that “a reporter from the
Cleveland Plain Dealer 
encouraged USS Kucinich to contact planet Earth,” without providing the name of the reporter making the statement, and by allowing the anonymously attributed statement to stand alone inher article without also reporting any reaction to the comment (if any) by Rep. Kucinich or anyone from his staff.Ms. Milbank completes her biased attempt at news reporting in the sentence, “Standing perhaps 5 feet 6 inches tall in shoes, he wore a solemn face as he approached the microphones,which nearly reached his eye level.” Rep. Kucinich’s height and that fact that his face only“nearly reached eye level” are irrelevant and add nothing to the article, but do interject thewriter’s bias into the article.Because of the addition of biased filler rather than relevant facts by the writer, it causesone to doubt the credibility of the writer as a source in further (source credibility being anevaluative trap mentioned in class and by the text) news reporting.
Critical Analysis 2Although the author of the article is an author and a professor of sociology at a respecteduniversity, the institution for which he is writing, “Globalresearch.ca,” is generally unknown.When one also takes into account that the writer neither attributes his facts to any sources nor directly quotes anyone, it is immediately apparent that this second article lacks source credibilityalso.Additionally, Prof. Phillips falls into the evaluative trap we learned from the text and inclass of failing to understand the role of emotions when he makes extensive use of emotionally-charged terms. For example, the headline itself asserts that the U.S. federal government wants toestablish a “Homeland Security Police State,” but never qualifies the explosive allegation byciting a source.The writer continues this trend in the sentence, “threats of terrorism and twelve million‘illegal’ immigrants are being used to justify new police-state measures in the United States,”when he places the word “illegalin quotation marks, implying that there is somethingquestionable about the use of the term – but without qualifying the implication with information.Prof. Phillips, in fact, begins his article with such problematic use of emotionally-loadedwords and phrases. He describes American immigration policy as intending to use “coordinatedmass arrests, big brother spy blimps, expanded detention centers,repeal of the Posse ComitatusAct, and suspension of 
habeas corpus
.” But once again, he never qualifies the use of suchcharged phrasing.Even taking into consideration that the readers of the article and of the Global ResearchWeb site generally are probably ideologically in line with Prof. Phillips, and therefore would not be prone to question his credibility, the article could benefit greatly by toning down the use of emotionally-loaded terminology, and by citing sources.
Critical Analysis 3In general, the following article is fair and balanced in its reporting. It makes effectiveuse of source citation, attribution of assertions to sources, and direct quotation of sources. Thearticle is also from credible sources, CNN.com and the Associated Press.However, the article reports that, “the VA sought the settlement in the interest of thefamilies involved and to save taxpayers the expense of further litigation.” However, the Veteran’sAdministration comment indicates they have fallen into the deductive trap of the faulty major  premise by neglecting to consider that the First Amendment to the United States Constitutionmakes clear that the federal government is not authorized to make religious decisions. If a familywishes to make a statement of their loved one’s religious affiliation on a grave marker – even atgovernment-supported cemeteries – they should be allowed to do so without interference by thefederal government.The fact that the Veterans Administration is adding the Wiccan pentacle to “38 symbolsthe VA already permits on gravestones,” as reported in the article, including the “commonlyrecognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie,” further illustrates that they seem to see themselves as having approval authority for religious expression.This gives credence to the quote from Rev. Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State that, “this settlement has forced the Bush Administration into acknowledgingthat there are no second class religions in America, including among our nation’s veterans.”Although in fairness, Rev. Lynn’s comment is also problematic. Rev. Lynn characterizesthe Bush Administration of believing that there are “second class religions in America,” butoffers nothing to justify his broadly general statement.

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