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Is the Government Shutdown Over?

There are conflicting reports this morning about the status of a potential deal to end the government shutdown.

Checking the news this morning, I went to the websites of both CNN and FOX News hoping to see some good news about a potential deal before tomorrow’s default deadline.

First, I went to CNN. where I saw a video of New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte on the front page talking about the possibility of an agreement coming soon. However, after examining the rest of the page, the breaking news headline at the top of the page with a quote from Speaker of the House John Boehner saying,

“No decision has been made about how or when a potential Senate agreement could be voted on in the house.”

However, when clicking on the link to this headline, an article about the Senate reaching a deal to end the shutdown appears. Even with the live streaming CNN news feed which is running on the side of the site, conflicting information is being given. The story line across the bottom of the screen goes back and forth between saying that a deal has been reached and saying that, according to Boehner, no deal has been reached.

Curious about what to believe, I went to the FOX News website and saw a bold headline stating that a tentative agreement had been reached to end the government shutdown and to raise the debt ceiling, thus avoiding a default on Thursday.

Taking a look on Twitter, CNN seems to be taking this issue very carefully. Could this be because of the fallout after the misreporting by CNN staff during the Boston Marathon Bombings coverage? The first mention of the apparent deal by CNN’s breaking news Twitter feed is actually a retweet talking about the Dow Jones index jumping 200 points after reports of a deal had come out.

Shortly after that retweet, CNN included more information from reports by senators claiming that a deal had been reached.

FOX News also offered a retweet as its first report of the situation, but it happened nearly a half hour before CNN’s.

As I mentioned above, it seems as though CNN is treating this very cautiously and doesn’t want to report anything until it is 100% confirmed and true. It seems as though FOX News has been the better news source in completely and effectively informing its viewers and readers of what is actually happening with today’s agreement.


How the Shutdown Affects You

As the government is still closed, and no end in sight, I was looking through some ways that this is changing the lives of people across the country.

CNN ran a story talking about five crazy things that have happened because of the government shutdown. It discusses several national parks being closed the how it is changing the plans of tourists across the country. It also discusses the effects of the shutdown on the crabbing industry in Alaska. A map of the affected locations is below.

FOX Story also had a similar story about a tourist who was locked inside of her hotel at Yellowstone National Park and kept under armed guard because they were not allowed to tour the park. FOX also had a story about an Arizona Food Bank which was donating food to furloughed workers from the Grand Canyon National Park.

The Huffington Post had an article detailing 50 things that would be effected by the shutdown. However, some believed that that list of items was a bit much.

All in all, I found that all news sources did a good job of covering this story from a personal perspective. They were able to incorporate ways in which normal, every day citizens were being affected by the government shutdown.

The Government Is Still Closed

Well, it’s been a week, and the United States government is still closed.

As this case is continuing, I wanted to examine the coverage of the battle in the House of Representatives and the Senate about this issue.

According to CNN political experts, there would be enough votes to end the government shut down. With 435 members of the House, 217 votes are required to make a majority. CNN estimates that 219 votes would be in favor of approving the reopening of the government. This number would include all 200 Democrats and 19 Republicans. However, there is no motivation from the Republicans to convince Speaker of the House John Boehner to have a vote on the issue.

CNN makes it sound as if a reopening of the government could be a possibility because of the amount of votes, although it also states that a vote on this is not imminent.

FOX News states that politicians are “all over the map” when it comes to reopening the government. While CNN made it sound as though there was at least some bipartisan work taking place in Washington, FOX does the exact opposite. FOX says that both sides have a different solution to the problem, and that it’s hard to believe that any compromise can get done at this point. However, I also discovered that FOX takes a direct shot at the Democrats in this case, while many people believe that the unwillingness to compromise by the Republicans is the problem with the shut down. The FOX story says that while President Obama is willing to compromise with Republicans and offer a short-term resolution while negotiations continue to take place, that Senate Majority Leader and Democrat Harry Reid does not seem willing to do the same. It also continues on to talk about how the Republicans are attempting to create a bipartisan committee to solve the issue.

The CNN and FOX News stories are both very different in the tone they set and the content which is included. The CNN article gives information about a potential vote which could end this current standoff, but the FOX News story basically blames Democrats for making the situation worse.

This isn’t the first time that content broadcasted by a network about this government shut down has come under scrutiny.

FOX News was criticized for calling the government shut down a “slim down.” Republican politicians were also called out by a very conservative blog for not at least negotiating a temporary solution to reopen the government.

After seeing this criticism coming in from both sides, it’s curious as to why FOX News has such differing information in its story. It paints an entirely different picture of the story, and seems to only lay blame to one side, where both sides are to blame in this case.

CNN and FOX Get The News Wrong

In this age of trying to get the news first, it is, unfortunately, now somewhat expected that somebody is going to get the story wrong or report the wrong information. This one instance happened in June 2012, but is very relevant to what I am discussing on this blog.

This story from the New York Times got me very interested in the topic. (On an unrelated note, I graduated from the same high school as this NY Times reporter!) It discusses the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health care reform bill, more lovingly known as Obamacare. The United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the President’s bill. The article suggests that most major news networks were able to correctly report the story, but that both CNN and FOX News misreported the information.

Surprisingly, both CNN and FOX immediately put up graphics on their channels stating that the Supreme Court had voted against the bill and that they believed it was unconstitutional.

This image from the New York Times website shows CNN’s miscue as it happened live on television. Similarly, the FOX News gaffe is shown here.

A complete timeline of the events as they happened and as they were misreported by both networks can be found here from the Poynter Institute.

In addition to the wrong information about the Supreme Court ruling, CNN also gave out false information via Twitter saying that President Obama would discuss the ruling shortly, as seen below:

Shortly after, CNN retracted that statement and said it had no information as to when the President would offer his comments on the situation.

According to the above Poynter Institute story, CNN even sent out breaking news alert emails to its subscribers stating that the bill had been shot down by the Supreme Court.

After it was clear that the bill had been upheld by the Supreme Court, as opposed to being struck down, CNN offered the following apology to its viewers. CNN offered a corrected tweet to its viewers 13 minutes after the initial tweet was posted with the incorrect information.

FOX News explained what had happened with the issue, basically saying that it had been confused by the way Supreme Court Justice John Roberts had worded his statement, and then made a quick correction. In the process, FOX took a jab at CNN saying, “”By contrast, one other cable network was unable to get their Supreme Court reporter to the camera, and said as much. Another said it was a big setback for the President.  Fox reported the facts, as they came in.”

Basically, what happened with the issue is that both CNN and FOX News didn’t wait until Justice Roberts was finished speaking about the case. From the initial statements he made, it sounded as though the bill had been denied, while it was ultimately upheld.

In the reaction to all of this, members from the Associated Press, who correctly reported the story after waiting to hear Justice Roberts’ comments in their entirety, took to social media to poke fun at CNN and other networks for getting the story incorrect. This led to an AP editor sending a memo to his employees to quit taunting the other networks.

This is simply another instance in which the news networks and reporters want to get the news first and end up getting the news wrong. It’s an embarrassing thing for all of the reporters from that network as well as the network itself. People rely on these networks to give them the news, and cases like this, along with the incorrect reporting during the Boston Bombings, create distrust between reporter and viewer.


The Government Shutdown

As I’m sure everyone has heard, the inability of our elected officials to compromise (that’s a story for another day) has led to the shutdown of the United States Federal Government.

For this post, I wanted to focus on the coverage of the event by the major networks.

The shutdown, which went into effect on October 1 after the House and Senate were unable to reach an agreement on the spending bill, was widely covered live on FOX, CNN and MSNBC. The CNN coverage, hosted by Piers Morgan, included debate from analysts and an interview from Capitol Hill with a democratic and republican politician standing next to each other and debating what course the country should take.

While all these networks were covering the story right at midnight and boasted large banner headlines across the screen reminding viewers of the “GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN,” I found the Twitter coverage of this event from these same news outlets to be interesting.

The CNN breaking news Twitter feed informed its readers early on that the shutdown was imminent. At just after 9 p.m. on September 30, it sent out the following tweet:

FOX News, while alerting its followers of the shutdown at the exact same time as the CNN tweet, did not actually send out its own tweet. It retweeted a post from @foxnewspolitics saying that the government had shut down.

NBC News also informed its followers of the information at the same time as the previous two networks and had similar content in its tweet.

While continuing on through the night and into the day on October 1, I found the content of the Twitter accounts to be quite interesting.

CNN has many posts about what to do next now that the government was shut down and how the shut down would affect your money. It also had a very interesting story about World War II veterans breaking past the barricade at the World War II memorial in Washington, DC, which had been closed, along with all other national parks and memorials, because of the shut down of the government. CNN also included tweets which included quotes from President Obama telling republicans in the House of Representatives to re-open the government.

FOX News doesn’t seem to have a lot of information for its viewers on how to deal with the government shut down. It does, however, give tips on how to “navigate” Obamacare and talks about how Obamacare has started with the government shut down. It retweets a lot of its other Twitter accounts such as @FoxNewsPhotos and @fxnscitech which gave a photo of furloughed government workers leaving the Pentagon and information on how to visit national parks during the shut down (although the tweet describes it as a partial government shut down).Those tweets are below.

NBC News also offered information to its followers on what aspects of the government would be closed due to the shut down as well as how it would affect people all across the country.

As I discovered in a previous post about live Twitter coverage of the Navy Yard Shooting in September, FOX News, while ultimately getting its followers the news about what is going on, seems to not be quite as informative as other news outlets. Both CNN and NBC News seem to provide their followers with a wealth of knowledge about how to deal with the shut down, while FOX News basically only provides the bare facts of the story. While they get the story, they don’t quite seem as active in personalizing the issue as CNN or NBC.

The Ted Cruz Talk-a-thon

I thought it would be interesting how people on both sides covered the recent marathon speech delivered by Texas senator, Ted Cruz.

For those who are unfamiliar, Republican Ted Cruz was attempting a filibuster on the senate floor to show his opposition to Obamacare. Cruz began speaking at approximately 2 p.m. eastern time on Tuesday, and didn’t finish up until 21 hours later. He argued that he didn’t want Democrats to be able to fully fund President Obama’s healthcare plan.

To begin, here is a collection of some of the more memorable portions of this speech.

When I checked with some of my more reliable political resources, I overwhelmingly saw a response to Cruz’s speech from both sides of the aisle.

In a new practice I’m going to begin using on this blog, “The Bias Bar,” I’m going to determine which content lies on which side. More liberal-leaning coverage will earn a story or source a blue rating. A more conservative source will achieve a red rating. Anything which is neutral or encompasses both sides of the story will have a white rating, although unfortunately, I can’t incorporate any fun colors for that level.

From one source, they are encouraging readers to #MakeDCListen and believe that absolutely no funding should be given to Obamacare. They tell you the only way to stop Obamacare is to stop it from happening now. They say that all the Democrats in the senate plan to vote on for the bill and they will be able to “gain leverage over conservatives” and pass the bill. They argue that this is not just a Republican issue, that it is “an American issue,” and that everyone needs to stop Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Although they try to paint this as an American issue, this posting really leans heavily to the right. Bias Bar: RED

Another site I found talking about the speech (there was a pop-up encouraging me to sign up to stop Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell when I first visited the site, so I think I know which way this goes already) caught my attention because it offered a very open-minded-sounding title to its post. The headline of this post talks about a democrat applauding Ted Cruz for his nearly day-long speech. However, upon further inspection, it talks about a democratic strategist on the FOX News team appeared on the Sean Hannity show and stated that she supported Cruz’s idea. It expands much more on what the strategist said, but basically just discusses how she was catering to the FOX News viewers.

This story clearly leans to the left. Bias Bar: BLUE

Get used to seeing the Bias Bar appear on many more of my posts to see who says what when it comes to news equality.


After enduring an entire week of blogging, I have realized a lot about this medium.

It is very hard to come up with new content every day. After the first several days of blogging, I felt as though I was beginning to run out of things to talk about.

For the first few days, I was able to somewhat use what I had experienced that day or seen in the news to influence my blogs. I also sometimes was able to use what I had blogged about the day before to get me thinking about other things to blog about for the next day.

This experience has also made me realize the amount of detail and research daily bloggers have to put in every day to find new material.

The hardest thing was finding new, pressing topics to write about each and every day, and that is why I now have a new-found respect for every-day bloggers. I now know what it is like to be a professional blogger and to have to post new content every day, and it is a very time consuming process.