Various news sources approach reporting differently. The objective in writing this report is to compare and contrast the different standards or approaches that the mainstream press and the new online internet media are applying when it comes to news reporting, specifically news about President Obama’s Health Reform Plan. Mainstream press and new online internet media will be compared and contrasted by selecting five of the most recent and relevant articles about the health reform plan from each of the following news sites – New York Times (NYT), World Net Daily (WND) and Firedoglake (FDL). Furthermore, the news will be compared based on how well the health reform plan news was covered and the through different standards including the sources utilized (credibility), the target audience, the kind of message conveyed in the news, and the purpose of the reports.
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The New York Times have thousands of article about health care reform in the United States, however based on relevance, articles about President Obama’s health reform plan that were selected for this project include the following: “Obama Signs Health Care Overhaul Into Law,” “Health Care Reform,” “Obama Calls Health Plan a ‘Moral Obligation,’” “Obama’s Health Care Speech to Congress,” and “Obama Hails Vote on Health Care as Answering ‘the Call of History’.” The distinct nature or characteristic of the five articles is that the NYT write their reports based on what transpired during meetings, announcements, speeches, and other events where President Obama talked about the health care plan. From the five articles, one would palpably notice that the articles are straightforward reports about what President Obama said or did with regards to his administration’s health reform plan. On the other hand, articles about President Obama’s health reform on both WND – “Why A Health-Care Mandate is Necessary,” “Citizens Sue Feds to Block OBAMACARE,” “Will Obama Give Illegals Health Care with Amnesty?,” “A Bad Amendment Defeated,” and “Obama Admin: Citizens Don’t Trust Gov’t Enough,” - and FDL – “Obama’s Healthcare Plan: True Universality?,” “Shifting the Health Care Discussion: The Obama Plan,” “Fact Sheet: The Truth about the Health Care Bill,” “Is Obama’s Health Care ‘Reform’ Plan Destined for Massachusetts Results?,” and “What’s in the President’s Health Care Plan?” – are mostly opinions pieces that reflect the responses of the writer to President Obama’s health reform plan or the people’s opinions about it. The difference in point of view between the news released by NYT, and WND and FDL, illustrate quality of reporting exhibited by the news sources, the objectivity or subjectivity of the pieces, and their target audience.
The NYT is objective in its approach in covering the issue because the reports are primarily retelling of the events and issues surrounding health care reform. “Mr. Obama signed the measure, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, during a festive and at times raucous ceremony in the East Room…” (Stolberg and Pear). “On March 26, the Supreme Court began three days of hearings on challenges to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act…” (Andrews). Andrews also covered what transpired during the three days of hearing. Based on the lines taken from the NYT articles, it is palpable that its writers cover the issue with objectivity in mind, such that they merely report the current events, whether President Obama signs reform documents or gives a speech about health care, without offering their opinion. The writers for NYT also reference sources directly from President Obama or his representatives. In the article, “Obama’s Health Care Speech to Congress,” the report contained direct quotes from President Obama’s speech about health care. Furthermore, Pear and Herszenhorn’s report contained quotes from President Obama himself or people in the administration such as Congress Representatives. Therefore, in terms of the kind of message conveyed in the reports, the NYT exercises objectivity in covering the news.
WND and FDL, on the other hand, employ subjective approaches when covering President Obama’s health reform plan. While the articles also cover factual events surrounding Obama’s health care plan, the writers mostly write opinion pieces about the issue. Welsh, for instance, attempted to argue whether Obama’s healthcare plan is universal, while Blandy criticized the loopholes and weaknesses in the reform plan. Cohn, from WND, argued whether health care reform is truly necessary considering the current situation in the country while the responses of the citizens toward OBAMACARE were reported in the article, “Citizens sue Feds to block OBAMACARE.” Considering the nature of reports released by WND and FDL, the articles are subjective because they focus on the opinion and responses of the writers or the citizens.
Since the coverage of NYT is objective in nature and references first hand sources, it earns credibility as a news source. Considering the content of NYT’s articles, it is then accurate to assume that it aims to target a percentage of the audience who wants to be informed about the issue without being influenced by personal opinion. The NYT’s articles are also meant for those who are unaware about the issue, young or old, and want to keep updated about it. On the other hand, news released by WND and FDL are personal in nature and thus, requires verification from credible sources and facts, like FactCheck. Therefore, WND and FDL targets readers who want to form opinions about the issue or those who look for articles and discussions that would either provide them with insight regarding the issue from the perspective of other people or support their own opinions about it. The purpose of articles at WND and FDL is to incite debate, arguments, or discussions, because these sources allow writers and readers to express their opinion, and to inform readers about what happens outside President Obama’s circle, such as the responses of the citizens towards the issue. It is also important to note that while the NYT releases news that are objective and reflect the views and opinions of people from opposite sides, FactCheck is equally a reliable source because in the site, all the facts, issues, and other concerned are checked. FactCheck is a useful source because the site checks and reports facts, like the implications of health care reform plans to health benefits received by the military, among others.
Based on the previous report, it is palpable that the primary difference between the NYT and WND and FDL is related to credibility, target audience, message, and purpose. The NYT is a more credible source of information because it presents straightforward facts about President Obama’s health care plan to readers who want to know the facts. The NYT is also objective when it comes to reporting when the purpose of informing readers. On the other hand, WND and FDL offer opinion pieces that are subjective in nature in order to target those who want to form opinions about the issue beyond the influence of news about the administration. Furthermore, WND and FDL also report the writer’s opinions and that of the citizens with the purpose of inciting talk or discussion. The differences between news reporting employed by NYT, WND, and FDL prove that mainstream news is much more credible and effective in covering news. The NYT covered the issues well because it presents the facts and both sides of the issue. However, news released by WND and FDL are important too because they provide valuable insights that would help readers form their own opinions. Their credibility could be checked by basing and comparing facts to articles released by sites like FactCheck.
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