Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Drill 1: Feb. 5

American citizens, politicians, and especially the media are interested in the proposed Stimulus Package to alleviate the nation in this time of financial crisis. In the New York Times article, "Time to Steer 'Forceful Course' for Stimulus," David Leonhardt expresses his doubt of the economic stimulus package's potential for aiding the nation in regard to the current, worsening crisis. The author's tone is definitely inquisitive, largely critical, and at times, confrontational. Twice, Leonhardt mentions that Obama and his team are negligent in responding to the criticsms that their package has accrued. Also, Leonhardt challenges the package's supporters with lots of questions and even a few quotes. Leonhardt advises the package's crafters and deciding members to approach the economic problem with more "force and prudence", and he warns that the Obama administration will be held responsible if the proposed plan does not succeed. I am unquestioningly led to believe that Leonhardt is not a supporter of this particular package endorsed by Obama and his team.
The article, "Girls on Film: Ditzy and Dumb," written by Maureen Callahan for the New York Post, suggests that Hollywood's movies "depict women as just stupid." She uses the women starring in the current and upcoming movies, "Shopaholic," "Bride Wars," "New In Town," and "He's Just Not That Into You", to substantiate her claim. Callahan makes a valid point in complaining that the women in these movies portray women in a somewhat negative and insensitive light, especially considering the social and economic climates of the day. And Callahan's failure to differentiate the dense women in these films from the strong women in the recent "The Secret Life of Bees," "The Spirit," "Not Easily Broken," and the upcoming "Madea Goes to Jail," proves that her views on this issue are biased. Maureen Callahan argues that movies like "Shopaholic" are the only kind of movies that are attractive to female viewers. But in reality, this is not entirely the case as I made evident in the previous example. Callahan attributes this lack of wholesome viewing to the lack of female directors, screenwriters, film critics, and suprisingly, superstars! Clearly, the writer has allowed her biases to blur her perception of stardom for actresses such as Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie.
A political cartoon by Mike Ramirez in the New York Post has many elements of sensationalism in journalism. The cartoon is an illustration of the White House. In front of the entrance sits an H&R Block representative. This cartoon is a funny and direct allusion to the recent withdrawal of Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer as nominees for positions in Obama's administration. Both of the previously mentioned nominees have been criticized for their failure to abide by the law in paying due taxes. What makes this cartoon sensational? Well most noticeably, it is a cartoon illustration. Secondly, it appeals to the readers' sense of humor. Also, as I found out in the assigned reading, subject matter in sensationalism is usually news of crime and scandal and high society. Ramirez's cartoon adresses the crime of unpaid taxes, the scandal surrounding Obama's support of such criminals, and the high society of the involved members. One other element of sensationalism is self-advertisement. This illustration must qualify as self-advertisement of the New York Post. Indeed, readers, especially Americans, are intrigued by drawings that poke fun at people that hold high positions.

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