Listeners React to Media's Role in Political Gridlock

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yesterday, we spoke with media experts about the role of news in politics and its impact on the gridlock in Washington, D.C.  We received many comments from listeners who believe strongly that the media are responsible for much of the political divisiveness in the country today.

The segment clearly touched a nerve in our listeners, so today we talk through your responses with media observer Mike Hoyt, editor at the Columbia Journalism Review


Mike Hoyt

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [14]

carl scala

dear celeste.. on 9/3 during your interview with m. oren, the israeli the u.s., you made him get away with a couple of misleading statements..he made it appear that israel left lebanon and gaza as an act of kindness..they were forced to gaza they had 9,000 settelers[land thieves],being protected by 22,000 idf's, cooking breakfast with machine guns wrapped around their necks, children going to school in windowless armored vehicles..the pals. were applying great pressure on them making it a very bad investment. carl s

Sep. 07 2010 09:58 AM
J.V.Hodgson from Peekskill NY

I do believe that often the media is part of the problem as too frequently
Headlines are framed argumentatively, or to catch attention = sound bites.
Then what follows leaves out important facts. Which "facts" are left out usually depends on the political persuasion of the media. Fox, MSNBC , CNN, The only good media and reporting is one that is legal honest decent and truthful and knows its relevant facts before hosting a program or writing an article Pundits should have to say whether they are Dem Repub or Independent before commenting on anything.
The even worse problem is when you get as often the case the Republican view and the Democratic view from two senators or representatives, in a segment.
It seems or at least I cannot find during a debate where either side spouts its position and in many cases it can have been proven untrue or 70% +at least, sometimes 100% untrue and the moderator or host does not challenge them E.g Palin kept on referring to Death panels for ages after it had been debunked, she was allowed to repeat it over and over again and was never ever challenged on Air!!
A big drama is being made of reconciliation on health care, it is a recognised porocedure like it or not and when R has used it 17 times and D 5 times that makes Republicans to me Hypocrytical.
I found out all that by google long before I could find those numbers on PBS or other news media so called discussing Reconciliation. It was more fun or drama to debate whether this procedure is appropriate... to late it is there, put forward anew bill to restrict its use/repeal it in future if you must but there ends the debate.Thats how democracy works.
In any other democracy except America that one Senator democratic or Republic can stall a bill by any procedure whatsoever...nonesense.

Mar. 01 2010 02:18 AM
Marcelo Castro from Miami, FL

Where is the political pressure from the 45 million uninsured? Gridlock will end the day politicians witness 100 rallies across the country of 450 people each.

Feb. 24 2010 02:18 PM

This is so breathtakingly brilliant; video, from the Senate debate over President George W. Bush's judicial nominees. Democrats were filibustering a number of important nominations, most praticularly to several of the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal. (The African-American Janice Rogers-Brown, Priscilla Owens and the hispanic Miguel Estrada were all filibustered by Democrats.)

Here is the video:

Feb. 24 2010 02:18 PM
Henry from Rochester Hills, Michigan

The Media (plural) didn't make the "gridlock" but they are enablers. If the news media don't push politicians to back their claims, they'll say anything. Too seldom does this happen. BBC is better at challenging politicians. If a Republican claims the Democratic solution is bad, he/she should be challenged to give a viable alternative. Just saying"no" is part of the problem not the solution. The Swiftboaters were challenged too late to show their deceit. Explaining contradictory reports is rarely done.
Those with GROUP health insurance are in a different boat than those who have to buy their coverage individually. Of course if one has a subsidized lavish insurance plan, one will be very pleased. I now have to buy my own insurance and it's expensive and still my out of pocket expenses are high. On top of that one can still go bankrupt with insurance and a full-time job, because of a catastrophic illness or injury. Pre-existing conditions are a major issue, sudden cancellation of insurance policies happen, when expenses go up. How can we insist that insurance (public or private) be unconditionally be supplied if only high-cost customers sign on?

Feb. 24 2010 12:15 PM
carl from queens,n.y.

my comment '' 500 million to pres.aristide and his predecessors'' should have been aristide and subsequent pres. 2 days before quake , i sent unslicited letters to krugman, herbert and kristof mentioning the plight of our hapless neighbors. carl,

Feb. 24 2010 11:32 AM

I have to say; I was amused to hear Celeste Headlee read my comment from yesterday on the air, and then deny that The Takeaway's effective message to its listeners is that there is somehow an unhealthy "gridlock" in Washington politics, if some form of ObamaCare is not passed. Celeste then proceeded to prove that I had been right by spending the remainder of the program on theory that healthcare debate needed to be somehow unblocked, while ignoring the fact that a jobs bill just passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Memo to Celeste: Opposition to Obama's latest healthcare proposal is, just like the earlier proposals, bipartisan. The reason that there hasn't been a single bill passed out of Congress is because some Democrats oppose what their own leadership has been trying to force on them. That's not "gridlock." That's "bipartisan opposition."

Feb. 24 2010 10:49 AM

forget wash.d.c. gridlock. more importantly, the media distorts our foreign policy. examples, osama says he will continue to try to hit us as long as the palistinians continue to suffer. nine out of ten media co.'s only report the continue part. never the why part keeping us ignorant. for years i have written to and called 2 presidents, many senators, reps, etc., trying to get 500 million a year to aristede of haiti and his predecessors ,to feed, cloth,build infrastructure,manufacturing,agriculture,tourism,etc. this wouldn't have cost us a dime. all we had to do is reduce the 3 to 4 billion in foreign aid to israel by the 500 mil. our next door neighbors have been starving to death for years, feeding their children dirt pies to stave off the pains of hunger, no toilets,sewers,etc. yet we give one of the richest [soon to be the richest] countries in the world, thousands of miles away from us the most aid. its like passing up a homeless neighbor, sleeping on the sidewalk , on the way to mailing a 500.00 check to bill &melinda gaites, with a note ''have lunch on me''. if the american people were better informed [ like me], would this continue? just think how many lives would have been saved along with arms and legs. most of our media [practically all] is pro isreal and because our reps. in both the legislative,and executive branches of gov't. are deadly afraid of their bosses at aipac the truth is not told. carl p.s. i bet you guys don't air my comment.

Feb. 24 2010 10:36 AM
Rick Evans from P.R. of Massachusetts

Paul - Asked :

>>The panel just confirmed that "The majority of Americans have 'Healthcare'" --But surely the debate is based around Health Insurance!
What percentage of Americans have Health Insurance?<<

Our lazy media and pundits usually conflate health insurance and health care. It's nice to see a non-lazy thinker, like you Paul, noticed this.

According the Kaiser Family Foundation about 15% of the U.S. population or about 46 million. If you define an American as someone who is here legally the number is estimated at 30 million.

Feb. 24 2010 10:18 AM
Rick Evans from P.R. of Massachusetts

I'm frustrated by people in "the media" like Celeste who pander to listeners by calling things that are not complicated "extremely complicated".

There's nothing complex about most people WITH health insurance being "happy" with it while 30 million people don't have health insurance. These are two separate non overlapping populations. If you don't have insurance the question of whether you're happy with it is non-applicable.

If anything needs further explanation it is what does "happy" mean. I bet most people who are "happy" with their health insurance are really merely content because their insurance has never been tested by a serious illness. I recently read a statistic that about 60% health care related bankruptcies are suffered by people with health insurance. I bet they make up the "unhappy minority".

Feb. 24 2010 09:45 AM
Paul from Margate Florida

The panel just confirmed that "The majority of Americans have 'Healthcare'"

But surely the debate is based around Health Insurance!

What percentage of Americans have Health Insurance?

The recent disclosure of finance problems at Jackson Hospital in Miami has been attributed (amoungst other things) to the high percentage of non-insured patients.

Feb. 24 2010 09:43 AM
Evelyn Gay from Montclair, NJ

Please stop saying that most Americans have "health care". Most Americans have health care insurance.

Feb. 24 2010 09:41 AM
LL from NYC

I'm glad I switched over to Amy Goodman's Democracy Now because she is having a segment about all the media guests who appear as if they are objective pundits when, in fact, they are highly paid consultants with conflicts-of-interest that should have ruled them out as guests. No wonder Americans are frustrated and confused.

The transcript will appear later:

Her guest, Sebastian Jones has written about this problem. Article:

Feb. 24 2010 08:50 AM
LL from NYC

Whoa! I don't know if I want to yell "You lie!" or "You obfuscate!" about American media. Economic news? Find me one show with news for ordinary people, kitchen table economy rather than investing in the stock market. The media wasn't reporting about bubbles in the economy. Unless you count WBAI Pacifica, Doug Henwood, or Prof. Michael Parenti. War? The media was acting as Stenographers to Power. One opponent to the rush to war lost his show for it. Political Reporting? The BBC's Greg Palast was excluded from American media even though he was way ahead on the ground, reporting about election fraud in Florida in 2000. Meanwhile, all we get is the horserace as reported by political junkies rather than real journalists. It's a serious threat to democracy, the degree of media consolidation. Please do more reporting on that aspect. Look at and that coalition.

Feb. 24 2010 07:43 AM

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