Intro to World Religions (M, W, F @ 12pm)
Kim Davis in the Media
In today’s vast media coverage of the Kim Davis event the opinions range from liberal, to conservative and fall everywhere in-between. It’s important to understand what kind of a source you are reading, what kind of biases are you going to run into? Are they news stories or opinion pieces? Depending on what you’re looking for these questions can make or break and article; so let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of coverage that followed the Kim Davis story…
The Daily World.com under their opinion tag has an article that attacked Kim Davis using words like “ridiculous, no empathy and plain and simple”. The article goes so far as to attack Ms. Davis personal life bringing up her four failed marriages and her illegitimate children, “having been married four times. She also has unfortunately had several illegitimate children, which I doubt set very well with her religion” (Schwing, 1). This news source dose a poor job at remaining impartial and just giving the facts. They are clearly opinionated and make their disdain for Kim Davis clear in their article. Something similar occurs in a YouTube video where Jaclyn Glenn, who does opinion based videos, takes a look at a Kim Davis interview. However Ms. Glenn actually cites the law, unlike the previous article which was all personal opinions; while the video is definitely opinionated she is able to make an educated argument based on facts to support her opinions. These articles both support the idea that Kim Davis is the “wrong kind of Christian” or “not a real Christian” leading the reader to believe that only some Christians are “real”. But because both of these are opinion pieces they are entitled to whatever opinion they hold without it being considered slander like so many people that agree with Kim Davis try to say it is. These news sources are geared toward a younger demographic.
On a Fox News interview criminal defense attorney Sharon Lyco stated, “She’s applying for the job of a martyr…if she can’t do her job then she needs to resign” (Lyco). Almost the exact same thing was said in the Daily World article which makes sense because both news sources are liberal in nature. The idea that Kim Davis needs to resign since she can’t comply with the law is a universal thread between these two sources. Lyco is saying that religion has no place in law and no place in the work force. And this is a perfectly fine statement because the interviewer asked her what she thought making this her opinion. This news source is geared towards people flipping through the channel opening up the on their computer. This article shows religion to be something only fanatics participate in.
This article dose a good job of not using any leading words. However CNN is notoriously democratic in their news coverage. And the questions the interviewer asked might have been one step over neutral. The most interesting thing about this article is that it seems to lean to both sides not just one. You see that in the contradictory answers to the questions being asked and the people being talked to. The questions lead to answers like, “‘hopefully (Kentucky Gov. Steve) Beshear will have the guts to do his job’ “(Joe Davis) and then, “Bunning said he, too, was religious, but he explained that when he took his oath to become a judge, that oath trumped his personal beliefs” (Payne, 1). The question this raises is if an article leans to both sides is it bias or neutral? This is for people who watch the news regularly and leads the reader to see religion in two opposing lights.
The Blaze.com which was started by Glenn Beck seems to be slightly on the side of Kim Davis; which makes sense because Glenn Beck is a conservative politician. Almost all of their article comes directly from her mouth. Granted that’s the most interesting source they could use if they truly wanted to be neutral they would have interviewed someone on the opposing team as well. Instead they chose to include the word joy over and over again going so far as to put it in their article heading. “I’ve wondered why God would ever choose a woman like me stand up and defend marriage,” Davis said. “It’s not mine to question because his ways are perfect. It is by the blood of Jesus that I have been redeemed, I’ve been made whole, I am a new creature” with quotes like this included in the article it seems as though the author may be on Kim Davis’s side. It leads the reader to see Kim Davis’s religious views as righteous and holy. Either way this source is not strictly objective.
International Business News.com:
However not all news coverage has the same tone; unlike some of the previous sources International Business News.com does an excellent job of presenting both side of the story equally. Which makes sense because they are pulling information from many resources from many different places. The article focuses on the people rallying at the courthouse in support of Kim Davis. However they do a fairly good job of staying strictly factual, they are just presenting what it is that’s happening. They even include tweets from both sides of the argument. Unlike the previous sources which presented one sided arguments. The posters that are previewed in this article show both sides of the religious spectrum. From the bigots to those who see Christianity as a religion of peace and forgiveness.
This source is unique in that it focuses on a conversation between well known actor George Takei and a man named Shawn over social media. Takei starts by stating that, “She is entitled to hold her religious beliefs, but not to impose those beliefs on others,” he continued. “If she had denied marriage certificates to an interracial couple, would people cheer her? Would presidential candidates flock to her side…In our society, we obey civil laws, not religious ones. To suggest otherwise is, simply put, entirely un-American.” The confrontation that the reporter is focusing on happens when Shawn replied on Facebook that Mr. Takei needed to “learn the first amendment”. The article then explains how Mr. Takei made Shawn look uneducated by stating and explaining the first amendment. So in the end this article is bias because the reported took the side of Mr. Takei saying that Mr. Takei’s “civic lesson silenced Shawn” (Edwards, 1). Religiously this article is intended for everyone, the intention to make people see that there may be some areas were religious beliefs have no place; and make those who support Kim Davis seem uneducated.
An article posted November 1st 2015 discussed the issue of Pope Francis seeking out Kim Davis to give special blessings. This article is obviously opinionated as it should be because it is a blog geared toward the gay, lesbian, and transsexual community. The title of the article itself is also bias “Pope Francis’ blessing of Kim Davis was bad news for marriage equality” you know automatically that the author was against the Pope giving Ms. Davis special treatment. But beyond that the words and phrases used in the article also contribute to the bias, “ugly past treatment” and “misguided religious views”, are just a few of the phrases used. This is definitely not a neutral source, they have a clear opinion with no room for argument. Religiously this article paints Christianity and specifically the Catholic Church in a less than flattering light. And is intended for those in the LGBT community.
The Seattle Times: The Seattle Times recently published an article about the Mormons view on Kim Davis’s actions. However this news source remained fairly objective in their writing, allowing the events themselves to be the star and not their own opinion. However the author did use quotes such as “religious freedom should not be asserted ‘to override every law and government action that could possibly be interpreted to infringe on institutional or personal religious freedom’ (Healy, 1).” Now depending on whether you decide to believe that he used this quote because it was directly from the person he was talking about in the article or if you think he chose this as a way to allow his own opinion to slip in through the cracks will determine if this remains a neutral article or not. Religiously this article took a religion that in today’s culture is seen as extreme (the Mormon church) and put it up against Kim Davis with the intention of showing here as a unhinged fanatic. With Seattle growing more and more liberal The Seattle Times is also growing more liberal and this is shown through this article.
The Guardian.com: The Guardian is over the top in your face opinion. They are firmly on the side of Kim’s Davis saying things like “America was founded on Christian Principles” and “it’s Gods own country!” They are not subtle about what they think and they defiantly don’t try and represent both sides of the argument. Even the title of the article written by Gabriel Agbo on October 4, 2015 is opinionated, big time “Kim Davis, America and Heroism”. Needless to say this is not a neutral source. They are strictly a conservative paper and their religious standing is simple. Zero tolerance for any other religion besides their own. They antagonize people on purpose trying to cause a reaction.
Gay Star News.com:
While this news source’s name put it obviously on the side of gay rights advocates they stay strictly factual during their article titled “Kentucky’s Kim Davis, still fighting against gay marriage”. The author of this article Greg Hernandez simply states the facts of what it is that’s going on with Kim Davis’s appeal. The language stays neutral, and while they don’t interview someone from the opposing side, that’s ok because no opinions are made, period. The only thing that isn’t strictly neutral is the name of the site itself, not the content in this article. I’d go so far as to say this is the least opinionated news article I’ve found. Interestingly enough he tries to stay as far away from the subject of religion as possible. It shows the Kim Davis issue as being a women who takes her religion perhaps a bit too far without ever using those words.
Surprisingly the Huffington Post also retained the same amount of objectiveness as Gay Star News did. Both news sources covered Kim Davis’s Appeal and both used neutral, objective language to sate the facts. Just like the Gay star News article the Huffington Posts stays away from the topic of religion making this article unique; the article title remained neutral as well, “Kim Davis Loses Latest Gay Marriage Appeal”. This article is meant for the everyday person surfing the internet looking for a synopsis of what’s going on in the news.
In conclusion these articles show that it is nearly impossible for people to keep their opinions out of the news and social media. I compared twelve different news sites along with videos about the topic as well and 2 are completely neutral while only one tried to present both side of the argument. The role of religion in the media is a key component in the discussion of Kim Davis in the media. Every opinion from “she’s crazy” to “she’s absolutely right” can be found within these articles. Depending on the author, the news source and the angle they take the same topic can be presented as two different stories.
Agbo, G. “Kim Davis, America And Heroism (2).” The Guardian. October 4, 2015.
Edwards, D. “George Takei gives amazing civics lesson to pro-Davis trolls: ‘I know the First Amendment. Do you?’” Raw Story. September 9, 2015.
Glenn, J. (YouTube). “Ridiculous Kim Davis Fox News Interview”. You Tube. September 26, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JexlG4ZF0x8
Healy, J. “Mormons, still against same-sex marriage, take stand against Kim Davis” The Seattle Times. October 22, 2015.
Hernandez, G. “Kentucky’s Kim Davis, still fighting against gay marriage, loses another legal round.” Gay Star News. November 6, 2015.
Lidgett, A. “Kim Davis Jailed, Found In Contempt Of Court: Kentucky Clerk Who Denied Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Taken Into Custody.” International Business Times. September 3, 2015.
Lucas, F. “Kim Davis: Going to Jail Was a ‘Joy’.” The Blaze. September 25, 2015.
N.D. “Kim Davis Loses Latest Gay Marriage Appeal.” Huffington Post: Politics. November 6, 2015.
Patterson, J. “Pope Francis’ blessing of Kim Davis was bad news for marriage equality.” LGBT Weekly. November 1, 2015.
Payne, E. “Kim Davis appeals contempt of court ruling over same-sex marriage licenses.” CNN Politics. September 7, 2015.
Raw Story. (You Tube). “Fox News panel on Kim Davis’ lawyer: He’s ‘ridiculously stupid” Fox News. September 7, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEE_ZgcPR-k
Schwing, B. “Letter: Kim Davis debaucle fodder for news outlets, conservative candidates.” Daily World. September 19, 2015.