- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A significant study of American news coverage reveals what many people already suspect: Journalism has jettisoned the use of public language, references to authority, and event-based reporting in favor of personal perspective, narration and subjectivity. So says the RAND Corporation, which tracked almost three decades of news coverage produced by a wide-ranging group of 15 different news organizations.

“U.S.-based journalism has gradually shifted away from objective news and offers more opinion-based content that appeals to emotion and relies heavily on argumentation and advocacy,” the report said.

“In a unique analysis on news discourse and presentation, researchers found that the changes occurred over a 28-year-period (1989 to 2017) as journalism expanded beyond traditional media, such as newspapers and broadcast networks, to newer media, such as 24-hour cable channels and digital outlets. Notably, these measurable changes vary in extent and nature for different news platforms,” the study noted.

“Our research provides quantitative evidence for what we all can see in the media landscape: Journalism in the U.S. has become more subjective and consists less of the detailed event- or context-based reporting that used to characterize news coverage,” said Jennifer Kavanagh, a senior political scientist and lead author of the report — part of an ongoing series titled “Truth Decay” that tracks the declining role of facts and analysis in civil discourse and its effect on American life.

“News consumers can now see how the news has changed over the years and keep that in mind when making choices about which media outlets to rely on for news,” Ms. Kavanagh advised.



Among the findings: broadcasters once relied on “complex and academic language” then shifted to less pre-planned coverage. Cable news dedicated more time to “opinion coverage and argumentative language,” the study found.

“Newspapers have changed the least over time, with content slightly shifting from a more academic style to one that is more narrative. As for digital journalism, the report found that online content is more personal and direct, narrating key social and policy issues through personal points of view and subjective references,” the research said.

UNEXPECTED CNBC HEADLINE

“Opposites attract: Even Steve Bannon and Tom Friedman agree Trump is right to attack on China trade,” noted CNBC, which featured The New York Times columnist and former White House counsel in close conversation about President Trump’s use of tariffs and other economic pushback on China.

CNBC “Squawk Box” co-host Joe Kernen essentially marveled that there was not some major cosmic event after the two men were in complete harmony over the president’s tactics.

“The universe did not end,” Mr. Kernen said Wednesday.

DEEP WOODS HAS A SAY

Our old friend “Deep Woods” — a longtime Washington Times reader who, indeed, lives in the far woods of the Northeast — offers his take on a recent report that several large U.S. cities have banned the sale of fur apparel in the name of animal rights.

“The thought occurred to me that I could support a ban on killing small furry animals if they also banned the killing of small hairless babies. But I am guessing the irony of that thought escapes the politically correct crowd,” Mr. Woods notes.

NANCY HAS A SAY

It is an event which is sure to produce some sound bites: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses the graduating class of Georgetown University Law on Thursday at noon. The big speech will be followed by a conversation with Georgetown Law dean William Treanor and the entire graduating class.

CAPITALIST VS. SOCIALIST

A timely event: Fox Business Network will air a special town hall on Thursday to discuss the economic impact of capitalist and socialist policies on Thursday, moderated by “Making Money” host Charles Payne in front of a live studio audience.

Mr. Payne intends to focus on voters’ opinions of the ongoing clash between the two models of governing leading up to the 2020 election.

On hand to weigh in: philosopher Cornel West, billionaire John Paul DeJoria, former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain, and Fox Business heavyweights Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo, Stuart Varney and Lou Dobbs. This unique program airs twice on Thursday at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. EDT, with select segments available online in the aftermath.

TUITION ESCALATION

The annual cost of attending a four-year private institution in the U.S. hit $48,510 last year, more than double what it was less than two decades ago, reports Michael B. Sauter, an analyst with WallStreet 24/7, a news site.

“In 1971, a four-year education at a private college in the United States cost less than one-tenth what it does today. Even after adjusting for inflation, a year of private college costs more than two and a half times what it did back then. This means college prices are disproportionately high for potential undergraduates at a wide array of institutions, and not just at the most expensive college in each state,” the analyst writes.

As an exercise in history — or possibly a reality check — Mr. Sauter pored over data from the College Board, a nonprofit associated with American postsecondary institutions, to determine average costs of attending four-year public and private colleges each year since 1971 — including tuition, fees and room and board.

Here is a sampling of what he found across the decades:

In 1971, the cost to attend a private college was $2,930. At a public school it was $1,410. Ten years later, the private campus tuition was $6,330, a public university was $2,870.

In 1991, the private school cost was $14,190; it was $5,450 at the public campus. By 2001, private tuition hit $23,860, public stood at $9,030. By 2011, private tuition was $42,350, public was $17,160.

POLL DU JOUR

48% of U.S. voters say President Trump’s business experience has helped him with his responsibilities as president; 82% of Republicans, 56% of independents and 19% of Democrats agree.

33% of voters overall say business experience has hurt him with his responsibilities as president; 8% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 58% of Democrats agree.

11% overall say his business experience made no difference either way; 6% of Republicans, 10% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree.

9% overall don’t know if his business experience helped or hurt; 4% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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