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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The news media is no longer providing journalism.

Politics has taken over the news, leading to polarization, segmentation and for most of the public, a loss of interest in the very information that is needed to fuel a democracy: an interest in and balanced knowledge of civic affairs.

Money drives the media, which has elminated independant news divisions, making them answer to advertising dollars, ratings, "supporter" donations and special interest groups to remain active.

During this time the number and qualify of journalist has been steadily declining, fact checking and decisions made based on truth rather than audience response has both feet in the grave and accountants and marketing executive now decide what is news and how the consumer will exposed to what they think is news.

They are providing information to fuel arguments, to support viewpoints and to focus on whatever will gain the highest ratings, readership or Twitter talk.

Conservatives have driven the debate and the showdown in Washington this week. But even as national polls have shown strong public disapproval of the government shutdown, conservative media outlets — on the air, on cable, and on the Internet — have provided a voice of support for Republicans on the Hill and created a like-minded community for their audience.

And it is not just the convervatives...but the media itself.

Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Rush Limbaugh Show, National Public Radio--with so many options, where do people turn for news? 

In Niche News,Natalie Stroud investigates how people navigate these choices and the political implications that their choice ultimately entails. By combining an analysis of the various news formats that citizens rely on with innovative surveys and experiments, she offers the most comprehensive look to date at the extent to which partisanship influences our media selections. 

At the heart of Niche News is the concept of "partisan selective exposure," a behavior that leads individuals to select news sources that match their own views. This phenomenon helps explain the political forces at work behind media consumption. Just as importantly, she finds that selective exposure also influences how average citizens engage with politics in general. 

On one hand, citizens may become increasingly divided as a result of using media that coheres with their political beliefs; on the other hand, partisan selective exposure may encourage participation. 

Ultimately, Stroud reveals just how intimately connected the mainstream media and the world of politics really are, a conclusion with significant implications for the practice of American democracy.

Her book breaks down into these sections:

1. Partisans Make the News
2. Selective Exposure in Theory and in Practice 
4. Learning Partisan Selectivity
5. Partisan Involvement and Selective Exposure
6. The Heart of the Issue: Partisan Media and Problems Facing the Nation
7. Partisanship and Niche News

NPR radio stories related to this story (click here

Awards and reviews of this book:

International Communications Association Book of the Year, 2012
"American news media and their audiences were proudly partisan during the nation's first century. A long period of nonpartisan news followed. Stroud's richly documented study demonstrates that we have come full circle. An influential partisan press has been reborn, making it easy for audiences to select congenial news only. This intriguing and insightful book explains the profound consequences for the future of American democracy. It's message deserves serious attention."--Doris A. Graber, Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois-Chicago
"A previous generation of scholars concluded that the evidence for selective exposure was uncertain, but Niche News begs to differ. Using a compelling mix of experiments, surveys, and content analysis, Stroud confirms that political partisans increasingly tend to seek out information that comports with their beliefs. Selective exposure is back, and Niche Newsshows why it matters."--Scott L. Althaus, Associate Professor of Communication and Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
"Stroud's book offers an incisive and useful voice to the scholarly discussion about the extent and effects of partisan selectivity. She offers compelling evidence that partisan selectivity exists and is an important force in media politics. She also brings the path forward into focus. She opens her last chapter by noting,
"Stroud makes a convincing argument that there are both positive and negative aspects to polarized political news reporting. Using primarily quantitative data, the author reveals how audiences use selective exposure, perception, and retention in their news-media choices and political arguments."--D. Caristi, Associate Professor of Telecommunications, Ball State University

Media Convergence

CBS Sunday Mornings recently featured a look back at its history as a medium. It also took a look forward in this age of digital convergence. The video that results, although from an old school media form, is worth watching as a primer on how quickly our sources of information are changing. Can we trust the new media? Only if we learn to seek our multiple sources. And here is the hard part. You need to seek out sources that disagree with what you believe or think. Hard to do, but needed, or we will become an increasingly polarized and frozen society, with hate, misinformation, corporate control and mistrust growing to epidemic proportion.

Feel free to use the search box on this blog for related postings, each of which contains links to sources, other postings or references.

For information and a study on the subject of "is the media objective", offering ways and reasons to explore all forms of media and all sources, simply e-mail me and I will be glad to pass it your way. I did not write it and it is from a qualified academic or scholarly source.

First run 1/1/10

Net Neutrality Debate and how it impacts you - one view

Urgent: The FCC's Genachowski Is Playing With Fire
And America/Radio is About to Get Burned

A message from Eric Rhoads,
Radio Ink

As in a magic show, things are not always what they appear to be. In Washington, gentle names are given to horrible ideas so they appear fine to the general public. The FCC and Chairman Julius Genachowski are about to pull the wool over the eyes of America, then clobber us over the head.
The FCC is due to vote December 21 on a set of new "net neutrality" regulations. (Sounds harmless, right?) The open meeting at which the vote will be held was moved from December 15, leading some to speculate that the commission wanted to bury this key vote in holiday distractions. But that isn't really Chairman Genachowski's style.

Indeed, Genachowski has been quite straightforward about his desire to get regulatory control of the Internet. So was his predecessor, Kevin Martin, whose attempt to sanction Comcast for throttling down BitTorrent traffic ultimately led to the Comcast v. FCC decision, in which the DC appeals court ruled that the commission had overreached its authority in attempting to tell Comcast how to run its network.
But sharks want to swim and regulators want to regulate, and the commission couldn't shrug off that Comcast decision. So one of Genachowski's leading priorities as chairman -- indeed, practically his only public priority -- has been to get FCC control over the Internet. To that end, he has adopted the language of "Net neutrality" and the "open Internet."

Beware of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

What, exactly, does Genachowski want to do in the name of openness and neutrality? It's all fairly murky right now. The commission hasn't released the exact draft rules on which it intends to vote. Keeps us guessing and reduces flak.

But the rules will, Genachowski said, involve a "transparency" requirement (a fairly hilarious demand from an agency that won't make public the industry-changing rules on which it plans to vote in less than three weeks). There will also be a ban on "unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic." But the rules will allow for "reasonable network management."

All very (ahem) reasonable, right? But, setting aside the question of what the FCC will consider to be reasonable, and the likelihood that any definition will be flexible enough to adjust as technology develops rather than simply stopping that development in its tracks, the fact is, how private businesses manage the infrastructure in which they have invested their own resources is none of the FCC's concern.
And, more to the point, "net neutrality" is a solution to an imaginary problem.

Though there have been periodic disputes, no one is contending that telecom or cable companies are interfering with broadband traffic in any systematic way.

What worries the "net neutrality" brigade is the notion that these sinister "gatekeepers" could do it if they wanted to; comments from Free Press and other activist groups are full of references to what these companies could do, or really want to do. (Comcast's ill-considered decision to mislead customers about its blocking BitTorrent was not helpful in this part of the debate. But that was in 2007, eons ago in Internet time.)

Right now, the explosive growth of the bandwidth-intensive Netflix -- and no doubt Netflix rivals to come -- could cause some issues in fairly short order. In fact, Level 3 is duking it out in public right now over Comcast's desire to charge Level 3 more for access to its network now that Level 3 has a contract to supply streaming to Netflix. (Level 3 says Comcast is violating net neutrality principles with the proposed added fees; Comcast says Level 3 wants to reframe long-standing traffic-exchange principles among networks as a net neutrality issue. )

But consumers who find their movie service being degraded or who are being charged extra for "excess" bandwidth will soon find new providers. It will likely get rocky for a while, and then technology and the market will sort it out. This is how it's worked for some 25 years, during which the Internet has merrily thrived with hardly any government regulation at all.

It is also worth noting that Genachowski specified that he is no longer looking to reclassify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, which would mean treating it as though it were a monopoly phone company. He couldn't get that notion past even the current Congress, which has not been, one might say, averse to government overreach.

The FCC is naturally splitting along party lines on this, with the two Republicans, Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker, releasing blunt statements in opposition and Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps in support.

This will be approved later this month, though Copps, who is ordinarily Genachowski's reliable wingman, is still apparently holding out hope for Title II regulation. Indeed, the fact that Copps

Michael Copps sees it as part of the FCC's mandate to investigate and judge the "state of journalism," and to create tests of a station's "public value," and even to count how many local or regional artists get on the air. What sort of regulation do you suppose Copps will feel is appropriate for an FCC-controlled Internet?

What's this got to do with radio? Radio, like every other media business, is going to rely more and more on the Internet for revenue and content delivery. Digital is already a key and growing part of radio's business model. The FCC would like to insert itself into that part of your business, introducing regulatory uncertainty, unsettling potential investors, and interfering with the natural development of the market and of technology. Does that sound appealing?

To allow the FCC to get its hands on the Internet on the basis that bad things might happen -- things that have natural, market-driven solutions -- would be wildly short-sighted and destructive. Indeed, the very notion that government regulation of any communications medium will lead to greater freedom and openness would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous.

There's probably nothing that can stop the FCC from approving this in a party-line vote on December 21. But some legislators have already vowed that they'll do everything they can to undo it. I urge you to get in touch with your representatives and help make sure that stopping Genachowski and the FCC from taking control of the Internet is a top priority in the new Congress.

Eric Rhoads

FYI, Appreared 12/18/2013...I am on the opposite side in this debate, but all sides need to be heart. I am for net-neutrality and equal and fair access. -Art Lynch

The End of Human Specialness

For the 10th-anniversary issue of The Chronicle Review, we asked scholars and illustrators to answer this question: What will be the defining idea of the coming decade, and why?

The defining idea of the coming era is actually the loss of an idea we never had to worry about losing before. It is the decay of belief in the specialness of being human.
As an example of what that would mean, consider the common practice of students blogging, networking, or tweeting while listening to a speaker. At a recent lecture, I said: "The most important reason to stop multitasking so much isn't to make me feel respected, but to make you exist. If you listen first, and write later, then whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you'll be in what you say. This is what makes you exist. If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?"

Media Agenda Setting

Agenda Setting

M. Sanchez Spring 2002
                Mass Communication plays an important role in our society its purpose is to inform the public about current and past events. Mass communication is defined in “ Mass Media, Mass Culture” as the process whereby professional communicators use technological devices to share messages over great distances to influence large audiences. Within this process the media, which can be a newspaper, a book and television, takes control of the information we see or hear. The media then uses gatekeeping  and agenda setting to “control our access to news, information, and  entertainment” (Wilson 14). Gatekeeping is a series of checkpoints  that the news has to go through before it gets to the public. Through this process many people have to  decide whether  or not the news  is to bee seen or heard. Some gatekeepers might include reporters, writers, and  editors. After gatekeeping comes  agenda setting.                                                
                Agenda Setting  as  defined in “ Mass Media, Mass Culture” is the process whereby the mass media determine what we think and worry about. Walter Lippmann, a journalist first observed this function, in the 1920’s. Lippmann then pointed out that the media dominates over the creation of pictures in our head, he believed that the public reacts not to actual  events but to the pictures in our head.  Therefore the agenda setting  process is used to remodel all the events occurring in our environment,  into  a simpler model before we deal with it.  Researchers Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw have then followed this concept.           
                McCombs and Shaw as pointed out by Littlejohn have best described the agenda setting function  in their book Emergence of American Political Issues. In this book the authors point out that there is abundantly collected evidence that editors and broadcasters   play an important part  as they go through their day to day tasks  in deciding and publicizing news.                       
“ This impact of the mass media- the ability to effect cognitive change among among individuals, to structure their thinking- has been labeled the agenda-setting function of mass communication. Here may lie  the most important effect of mass communication, its ability to mentally order and organize our world for us. In short, the mass media may not be successful in telling us what to think, but they are stunningly successful in telling us what to think about.” (McCombs and Shaw, 5)
The common assumption of agenda- setting is that the ability of the media to influence the visibility of events in the public mind  has been apart of our culture for almost half a century. Therefore the concept of agenda setting in our society is for the press to selectively choose what we see or hear in the media.
            Agenda Setting has two levels.  As mentioned in Theories of Communication, the first level enacts the  common subjects that are most important, and the second level decides what parts of the subject are important. These two levels of agenda setting lead path into what is the function of this concept. This concept is process that is divided into three parts according to Rogers and Dearing in their book Agenda Setting Research. The first part of the process is the importance of the issues that are going to be discussed in the media. Second, the issues discussed in the media have an impact over the way the public thinks, this is referred as public agenda. Ultimately the public agenda influences the policy agenda. Furthermore “ the media agenda affects the public agenda, and the public agenda affects the policy agenda.” (Littlejohn, 320)
                Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw have brought the importance of agenda setting to our attention when they carried out the Chapel Hill study. Their emphasis and goal with this study was that the agenda issues found in the news media and among general public is what sets the media agenda. Then in 1972 David Weaver joined McCombs and Shaw in project were they panel studied the 1976 U.S. presidential election. Within this project the researchers studied the attributes of the agenda, the description of presidential candidates in the news and the agenda attributes in voters’ descriptions of the candidates (McCombs,4). Throughout this study the researchers found out that their was a relationship between the media agenda and the public agenda. These studies are for the purpose of looking at the media issues and determining whether these issues are important. Therefore the second level of agenda plays an important role in this study because it decides what parts of the issues are important in regards to the presidential election.
                Other factors that affect agenda setting these may be the combination of gatekeepers, editors and managers, and external influences. These external influences may be from nonmedia sources, government officials and influential individuals. These factors affect the agenda setting process to an extent that depending what power each factor may  have will eventually influence the media agenda. For example “f the media has close relationship with the elite society, that class will probably affect the media agenda  and the public agenda in turn” (Litlejohn,321).
                This theory of agenda setting as I have mentioned above has many useful uses in our society. First of all it  gives the media power to establish what news wee see or hear and what part of the news is important to see or hear.  This concept of  agenda setting in Littlejohn’s book is  explained as the idea of issue salience as a media effect is intriguing and important. Therefore agenda setting is used for many purposes to establish the media agenda and to retrieve the opinion of the public. Also agenda setting is very important in the political aspect because the public agenda influences the policy agenda which means that candidates will try to focus on issues that the public wants to hear about. In conclusion the agenda setting theory has many beneficial uses in our society and it is part of our communication. 

Works Cited
Littlejohn, Stephen W. Theories of Human Communication.  Seventh Edition.Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wadsworth, 2002.
McCombs, Maxwell E, and  Donald L. Shaw. The Emergence of  American Political Issues. New York. West Publishing Co,    1977.
 Wilson,James R., and Roy S.Wilson. Mass Media, Mass Culture, Fifth Edition.Boston.Mc Graw Hill, 2001.

FCC to consider tougher rules for local TV stations

Tom Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler speaks during a House subcommittee hearing in Washington. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg / December 12, 2013)

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission is set to consider tougher rules for local TV stations that would prohibit some of their joint negotiations with cable companies and limit deals between broadcasters to jointly sell advertising and share other services.
The proposals Thursday by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler came as the agency prepared to start another broad review of its media ownership rules, as required every four years.
Wheeler wants to begin the latest review with the tentative conclusion that the FCC should not loosen restrictions on joint ownership of TV stations and newspapers in the same markets.
He is asking his colleagues to approve the local-TV restrictions at their March 31 meeting and begin the lengthy process of soliciting public comment on whether to change other media ownership rules.
"Chairman Wheeler is taking steps to protect consumers and preserve local broadcasting by preventing the erosion of competition in local broadcast markets," the FCC said. "These steps will curtail practices that have put upward pressure on cable prices."
Wheeler wants to prohibit the top four TV stations in any market from joining together to negotiate with cable companies for fees to carry their broadcast signals, a process known as retransmission consent.
Congress intended such negotiations to be done one-on-one, said a senior FCC official speaking on background. But increasingly large stations in the same market have banded together to bargain with cable TV providers, causing total retransmission fees to skyrocket from $28 million in 2005 to $2.4 billion in 2012, the FCC said.
There are signs the higher fees are being passed on to cable TV customers through increased fees, the agency said.
The cable industry has lobbied to prohibit such joint negotiations.
“FCC Chairman Wheeler deserves high praise for addressing the broken retransmission consent market and moving to correct one of its most serious flaws -- the collusion practiced by dozens of TV station owners, who are supposed to be competing with one another," said Matthew Polka, president of the American Cable Assn., an industry trade group.
During the March 31 meeting, commissioners are also scheduled to vote on a rule that considers a broadcaster to have an ownership in any station for which it sells 15% or more of its advertising time.
Last month, the Justice Department told the FCC that so-called joint sales agreements, under which stations team up to sell advertising, allowed some broadcasters to circumvent rules limiting the number of stations they can own in a market. It called for tougher regulations.
Counting such agreements against the FCC's ownership caps probably would limit severely limit the practice, although the agency has said it will consider waivers. Under the proposed rule, stations with such agreements would have two years to end them or apply for waivers.
Wheeler also wants the FCC to consider rules for other joint deals, known as shared services arrangements, which allow TV stations in the same market to share services such as employees, administration and news helicopters. The agency will consider what types of shared arrangements TV stations must disclose.
Broadcasters have said they need joint deals to remain competitive.
The FCC has been struggling for years with how to revise its ownership rules in the face of major changes in the media landscape. Public interest groups have strongly opposed any loosening of the rules.
The financially troubled newspaper industry has lobbied hard to allow more combinations with TV and radio stations in the face of declining readership as consumers increasingly turn to the Internet for news.
Rules in place since 1975 generally prohibit the ownership of TV stations and newspapers in the same market. But the FCC frequently has granted waivers, such as with Tribune Co.'s ownership of the Los Angeles Times and KTLA-TV.
In 2007, the FCC loosened the cross-ownership rules, largely in the top 20 TV markets, but a federal appeals court tossed out that decision. Another proposal to loosen the rules, offered by former Chairman Julius Genachowski, stalled in 2013.,0,3421454.story#ixzz2vDxyMnU5

Understanding the Oral Tradition of Rhetoric

From the American Communication Association On-line Textbook.

As you may be able to tell, the study of communication was based in the oral tradition. The oral tradition refers to the vocal transmission of information between people from generation to generation. History, law, tradition, culture—all were passed along by orally for centuries prior to the creation of the written word. Even after the written word was invented, the “oral tradition” remained intact due to the prevalence of illiteracy. Even today there are still traces of the power of the “oral tradition.” For example, some nursery rhymes, such as Humpty Dumpty, date back to 16th century England. Did you ever sing it as a child? Well, you many not know it refers to a cannon used in the English Civil War which fell from its perch atop a church wall when, in 1648, it was hit by enemy fire. It can be hard to believe, given that we live in a mass and computermediated society, that at one time the spoken word was the primary medium of communication, even over the written word.
The oral tradition of public speaking is most closely tied to the study of rhetoric. Rhetoric is generally known as the art of using discourse to persuade people. Most often, rhetoric is used to persuade individuals to take up or reject a belief, assign meaning to a person, event or object, or even perform an action. Rhetoric is actually one of the oldest disciplines studied in the Western world; its origins date about to around 476 B.C.! (Murphy, 1983) Rhetorical scholarship originally focused on both the creation of and analysis of public speaking since it has historically been the main vehicle of persuasion. Political assemblies and campaigns are still prototypical contexts of rhetorical, public speech. Ironically, rhetorical theory emerged from written classical texts from the ancient Western civilizations of Greece and Rome.
Historically, the study of rhetoric has been based in Western thought (specifically Greek and Roman), which solely reflects European culture and beliefs and promotes a western perspective from which rhetorical analysis is practiced. However, rhetoric and the practice of rhetorical speech were not exclusive to the West. Ancient African, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Latino cultures all have rich oral traditions which have largely been left out of the history of rhetorical study. Today, scholars are increasingly turning to the works of rhetors in regions such as China, Iraq and Egypt, to aid in the development of an evolving multicultural tradition of rhetoric rather than its static and unnecessarily narrow western one. For instance, an analysis of the rhetorical style of Mencius (371 – 289 BCE), a Confucian social philosopher from Ancient China, found that he used the common theme of water to help persuade people of his political belief that “the benevolent has no enemy” (Ma, 2000). Also, did you know that Enheduanna (2300-2225 BCE), a high priestess in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur (currently known as Southern Iraq), was the first author in recorded history and is largely considered a feminist?

Links on media from a student...great to getting discussion going...

Disney-Dish to change the way we watch TV...or will it?

Disney-Dish Network pact may alter TV viewing habits

The new distribution agreement, expected to become a blueprint on how the television industry treats digital programming rights, allows for a new wireless TV service.

Walt Disney Co. and satellite TV provider Dish Network's sweeping new agreement could lead to changes in the way consumers watch television.

The comprehensive distribution deal, announced late Monday, is expected to become a blueprint on how the television industry treats the increasingly important digital rights for valuable programming.
Dish secured Internet streaming rights for content from Disney's ESPNESPN2ABC Family and Disney Channel as well as the eight ABC television stations that Disney owns.

The satellite TV company intends to use the Disney programming to build a new nationwide TV service that would be offered over the Internet — bypassing Dish's current delivery system.

Dish has not said when it might launch its planned wireless television service.

"We all know video consumption patterns are changing," Dave Shull, Dish's executive vice president, said Tuesday in an interview. "Some homes are less interested in traditional pay-TV, and we think the opportunity is on the wireless side."

Such a service would create a new business opportunity for Dish, which provides service to 14 million customers. The planned service would be designed to appeal to the so-called never-connected generation of young people, who consume much of their entertainment via computers and tablets, and thus have been difficult recruits for traditional cable and satellite TV providers.

"It would hit a market that they want to reach — single people, young couples — those who don't otherwise subscribe to pay TV," said Michael Nathanson of the Moffett-Nathanson research firm.

Continue reading this story at:,0,7107787.story#ixzz2vCcSvsA2

Russian TV and slanting the "war" in the Ukraine

  That was a moment of restraint. A throbbing, cinematic soundtrack accompanied nightmarish images: Officials forced to their knees, heads bowed, before baying mobs. A masked man with a swastika armband. The events in Kiev, the announcer said, were “a cocktail of revolutionary ecstasy and criminal disorder.”
Russian television coverage, a mixture of legitimate perspectives, half-truths and outright propaganda, has made similar assertions day after day, though Kiev is now relatively calm. It is the same narrative that President Vladimir V. Putin described Tuesday in a news conference: The United States and its allies had poured resources into creating a dangerous far-right force now closing in on worried citizens in the east of the country.
The authorities in Kiev slammed the government-operated Russian channels’ depictions as incitement to war this week, prompting at least one Ukrainian cable operator to stop broadcasting all three. Russians and Ukrainians critical of the Kremlin’s policy have taken to fact-checking the news, debunking misrepresentations through social media. But TV remains the single greatest influence on Russian public opinion, often used to lay the groundwork for steps Mr. Putin intends to take.
“If you watch some of the shows that go on during the day, it’s harkening back to the heroic deeds of the Soviet Army, liberating the Crimea and Sevastopol,” said Vladimir V. Pozner, host of a political talk show on Channel One. “You begin to be very antsy — is this the buildup to something else? Is this not preparing the population for what ultimately will be the use of force?”
He added that he believed that American and European television channels were also selective in their depiction of the crisis. “There’s a kind of new Cold War going on,” he said.
As a whole, Russians take a view of the conflict vastly at odds with their counterparts in the West, and that is in part the result of the news media. In a poll conducted in late February by the All-Russian Public Opinion Center, which works closely with the Kremlin, 29 percent of respondents described the events in Ukraine as “rampant anarchy and banditry,” 25 percent described them as “a coup and overthrow of the state” and 27 percent saw them as the outbreak of a civil war.
There have, however, been some challenges to the Kremlin’s depiction of the on-the-ground realities, especially in Crimea.
On Sunday, the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, a group that advises the Kremlin, released a statement signed by 27 of its members describing government reports of attacks on civilians in Crimea — the main pretext for Russian intervention — as “unreliable and exaggerated,” based on reporting done by two members who traveled to Crimea. Pavel Chikov, one of the members, said he noticed the deputy head of Mr. Putin’s administration sitting quietly in the audience Tuesday during a stormy discussion of the statement. “I would say that it was very sensitive to the presidential administration for sure because it was a move inside the administration against presidential policy,” he said.
Abby Martin, a Washington-based anchor from Russia Today, a state-owned, English-language cable news network, created a stir by denouncing Russia’s intervention during a broadcast on Monday. Margarita Simonyan, the channel’s editor in chief, sent her a message saying that what she had said was “not in line with our editorial policy,” she said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “We have never made a secret of the fact that we reflect Russia’s position,” she said.
Ms. Martin, who plans to stay at the channel, said she thought much of the American news media apologized for its government, too, but responded forcefully to a statement by Ms. Simonyan that suggested she did not fully grasp the issues.
“Believe it or not, it’s possible to disagree with Russia,” Ms. Martin said. “I don’t agree with sending in thousands of troops to a sovereign nation to ‘protect ethnic Russians.’ It’s a bizarre pretext to use military aggression, and it’s flat-out wrong.”
Her decision was followed late Wednesday by the on-air resignation of a second anchor, Liz Wahl, who said she could “not be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin.”
In a statement, Russia Today said “the usual course of action” was to address grievances with the editor, or “quit like a professional.” Ms. Wahl’s resignation was, the statement said, “nothing more than a self-promotional stunt.”
Russia’s three large channels are headed by executives who meet regularly with Kremlin officials, and they have been deeply engaged in promoting Mr. Putin’s agenda since he returned to the presidency in 2012.
Often, they employ ominous soundtracks and wild hyperbole; during Mr. Putin’s 2011 election campaign, one documentary used starving African refugees to illustrate Russia’s condition before he came to power. When Mr. Putin decided to ban the adoption of Russian children by Americans, one news channel broadcast footage of a woman from Alaska who disciplined a child by forcing him to drink hot sauce.
The coverage of Ukraine relies on similarly emotional imagery.
Sunday’s “Vesti Nedeli” was largely an indictment of the United States and its allies. It lingered on the seared, curled bodies of people killed during NATO’s bombing of Belgrade in 1999, and quoted the words of the former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, who, before he died of a heart attack in his prison cell, warned his fellow Slavs to isolate themselves from the West: “Look at us, and remember they will do the same thing to you when you show weakness and go to pieces.”
Arina Borodina, a media analyst, said the Ukraine crisis had increased the audience for news programs, which now regularly receive top ratings, are broadcast more frequently and have grown in length. “As far as Ukraine is concerned, it’s been a long time since there was such a massive propaganda campaign in the interests of the state,” she said.
Some viewers have begun singling out distortions in Russian broadcasts. A Channel One news report on dangers to Russian speakers in Crimea showed footage of cars lined up at a border, explaining that “more and more citizens of Ukraine are arriving in the southern regions of Russia.” But a Ukrainian blogger pointed out that it had been taken at the Polish border. A journalist in Kharkiv, Ukraine, created a site,, to distribute such reports.
Irek Murtazin, a Russian blogger, took umbrage when a state newspaper reported that the upper house of Parliament had “unanimously” approved the use of military force in Ukraine, publishing screen shots that showed that only 90 of the body’s 166 members had voted. “It is a sign that the Russian elite is not as monolithic as it is presented to us,” he said. Ms. Borodina said the fact-checking was a new phenomenon, as bloggers and others turn a critical eye on television.
“People just didn’t watch television before,” she said. “Falsifications have always been there.”