Thursday, February 17, 2011

Even-keeled "Evening News"

Keeping with the networks, this week I viewed the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.”  Here is the link: 
Here are my thoughts:


                This feature dealt with President Obama’s speech on the 2011 budget and the deficit, along with other comments made at Tuesday’s news conference.  The story began with anchor Katie Couric reading off poll results which show over half of the American public believing the recession to be ongoing.  Other polls revealed that Americans think fixing the deficit will require taking money out of their pockets.  A final poll acknowledged the feeling that people earning six-figure incomes will be taxed more.  Couric also reported Obama’s current approval rating, which stands at 48 percent.  Correspondent Chip Reid then began speaking of how the president feels that his budget cuts are needed, but not too drastic.  This was compared to Republican sentiment that more reductions are needed.  Reid reported that Obama wants to make meaningful reductions which will not endanger the economic recovery.  Once again, this was contrasted against Sen. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., talking about his view of the 2011 budget.  Reid was swift to note that the Republicans as a whole have not responded to the budget.  The story concluded with a quote from Obama detailing how America dealt with Egypt correctly.  This opinion was seemingly mirrored by CBS, as poll results showing 50 percent of Americans agree with the actions of the United States during the crisis.
                On the whole, this was an objective report.  There was no unnecessary lauding of the president for revealing his budget, nor was there any unwarranted commentary on the Republican response.  Reid did a good job creating a balanced package which brought in both sides.


                This story focused on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s recent corruption charges revolving an underage prostitute.  Couric opened the package by giving an brief overview of Berlusconi’s past dealings with the law and calling him a “Teflon politician.”  Reporter Mark Phillips provided detail to the story by giving some background on the underage girl in question.  He reports that she is Karima El Mahroug, known professionally as “Ruby Heartstealer.”  This Moroccan-born girl was in Italy to attend one of the prime minister’s all night "bunga bunga" parties.  A record of the prime minister’s past corruption charges was provided for reference and context.  Phillips then brought up the current charges against Berlusconi: abuse of power and “paying for sex with an underage prostitute.”    Integral to this story is the fact that Berlusconi gave $8,000 to Heartstealer.  Whether this was a gift or payment is what is in question.  The story ended with Phillips saying that time will tell whether or not Berlusconi escapes prosecution, as he will be tried by “three female judges” in April.
                CBS was not objective here.  They portrayed Berlusconi as a man of poor judgment who went around having sex indiscriminately.  CBS also cast doubt on the prime minister’s credibility by making his arguments seem weak.  Rather than use a translator, Phillips summarized Berlusconi’s statement about the charges, thus making Burlusconi's defense sound bad.  In doing so, Phillips added his own inflections and opinions into the prime minister’s words.  Also, CBS showed a women’s group protesting against Berlusconi, but did not mention any efforts to refine or support the prime minister’s image.

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