CBS Evening News is one of the main news programs in the United States. It was the first news program for the news network CBS. The show is anchored by Scott Pelley on weekdays and different reporters anchor the show on Saturdays (CBS).
Pelley, being responsible for script editing and story selection promises a focus on hard news, as opposed to infotainment. The issues addressed in CBS News are mainly on foreign policy, the economy, and politics. Ratings for the show have increased making second in the ratings in relation to other news networks (Rainey par.6). This paper analyzes the CBS News Show and what it represents. The show only airs relevant stories affecting the common American and stays away from scandals or soft news. This paper focuses on the episode aired on October 6, 2012. The focus of the paper is to analyze the presentation style applied by the anchor and the stories aired.
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This Saturday episode was not aired by Scott Pelley, but it contained the usual mix of news from around the country. The newscaster was Jim Axelrod and had varied news stories; however, he began the show with the fast rising gas prices in California; this was caused by a power failure shutting down a chevron oil refinery. The report showed the negative effect of the 47 cents increase in the price of gas, in the state. Although the prices of gas have increased across the country, California is the worst hit and motorists are complaining with some gas stations remaining empty showing that the limits for the consumers are being reached with these price increases (CBS).
Something particularly intriguing about the show is that it does not focus so much on politics. There was only one political story on the episode under review. The show tries to focus on other issues that affect the general public (Rainey). The first story was about the rising gas prices and the spike in prices in California. The show applies investigative journalism in its analysis in order to get the truth of the matter. This enables the viewers to analyze and understand the information and decide on their own about which side seems more convincing to them. The show is effective in addressing different sides of the story, for example, in the story on the exploding PVC pipes manufactured by JM Eagle. The whistle blower talks about the PVC water pipes made by JM Eagle being substandard. The manufacturer of these pipes, JM Eagle was accused of fraud and hiding information about the high failure rate of the pipes and their failure to meet industry standards. The company disagreed with this view although the ruptures and breaks of the pipes since 1999 seem to prove otherwise. Safety and cost of the piping is becoming a concern for the attorney general and other state authorities. The company spokesperson says that the pipes break because of contractor error and poor installation. State authorities including Nevada are suing the company.
The reporters talk to the whistle blower, John Henderson, the company’s representative, and victims of the breakages in order to provide a clear analysis of the situation. The reporters also engage history in addressing the issue by showing similar accidents that have occurred as far back as 1999.
International news is also presented in the show with the newscaster focusing on a few international events that have an effect on United States foreign policy. With terrorism being a significant topic to the American public, the show aired the story on extradition of terror suspects from the UK. Abu Hamza and others appeared in a United States Federal court, in New York. The reporter shows the different cases that the terror suspect is sentenced to including establishing a training camp in Oregon and bombing America embassies in East Africa. This is relevant to the American public and the network applies a strategy of providing as much concrete information as possible concerning the issue. This story is accompanied by a story on United States soldiers killed in Afghanistan. This news highlights the state of the war on terrorism by the United States. The reporters provide objective reports on their news coverage and avoid opinion and sensationalist journalism.
The show is intriguing because it also shows news articles that are related to foreign policy although not necessarily affecting Americans. For example, the story on the Papal butler who was found guilty of stealing papers from the Vatican and leaking them to the press. These were used to detail corruption and infighting within the Vatican. It shows the progress in the case and how the pope had to judge this case in spite of him being the victim. This provides an insight into the governance issues that arise because of the form of government applied in the Vatican.
The episode also aired a story on Christian cheerleaders in a Texas public high school who put up Christian messages in their cheerleading banners. The newscaster starts with the statement that football in Texas is compared to a religion. This provides an insight into the social significance of football in the state and the large crowd that it attracts. The cheerleaders are fighting for the right to display banners with Christian messages claiming it was their freedom of expression, and they did not understand why the principal denied them the chance. This resulted in a legal battle because of the conflict between free speech and the separation of church and state. The reporter samples view from different people including former graduates of the school, parents, and the cheerleaders. The report shows the conflict highlighted by this practice because of the large number of religious viewpoints that the population might express.
This show uses different clips to cement the point being driven across with opinions from the people involved in the story taking center stage in the coverage. For example in the story on presidential campaigns, shows the criticism that Obama got even from his supporters for his debate performance. It shows different clips that are relevant to issue such as the change in tact by Mitt Romney by sharing a personal story in his campaign. The reporter shows issues such as funds raised for the two presidential aspirants and the responses by people on social media. Instead of focusing on political analysis or issues that they discussed in their presidential debate, the reporter analyzes the tactics used in campaigning such as the use of personal stories by Romney to woo voters in Florida (CBS News).
In conclusion, CBS Evening News show has a high rating among other news shows and focuses on providing hard news on matters that affect the American public. The opening segment of the show highlights all the relevant stories that will be aired and provides just enough information to keep the viewers interested in the full stories. The highlights do not differ from the full stories, and this works to increase viewer confidence based on relevance of the stories and honesty of the presenters and reporters. The show utilizes investigative journalism and retrospect to provide facts to the viewers and leave them to judge the issues on their own.
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