Gibbs: Mainstream media leaves questions unanswered
Sunday the front page of the Post Independent featured a 60th anniversary article about Berthod Motors. Coincidentally, Berthod, which is a major advertiser in the Post Independent, bought a full-page ad on the back of the Sunday edition.Last week, a reader commented on the Post Independent’s relationship with advertisers, and though the reader’s accusations were false, Sunday’s paper raises the question: How biased is local media?Jeff Gibbs, co-producer and composer of “Bowling for Columbine” and field producer and composer for “Fahrenheit 911,” spoke to a group of students Thursday at Glenwood Springs High school about his experience with two films that address bias in the media.
Gibbs is in town for the Aspen Filmfest and will be part of a documentary panel discussion Saturday at Wheeler Opera House in Aspen.Both films, created by Michael Moore, have been criticized of using a liberal slant to attack mainstream media.Gibbs admitted “Fahrenheit 911” is opinionated but said both films answer questions mainstream media fails to address. “Bowling,” a documentary about the Columbine shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, asks questions, Gibbs said. “Why do things occur? Why don’t we hear about it more often? What effect does the media have on how we think?”What the media chooses to report has a dramatic effect on how American’s think, said Yuri Salvidrez, 18, a senior at Glenwood Springs High School.
More often than not, the media chooses to publish or broadcast events that evoke a reaction from the audience, Salvidrez said.Violence, sadness and tragedy create more reaction than anything else so the media focuses on those stories rather than positive things happening in the community, Salvidrez said.In “Bowling for Columbine,” Michael Moore visits Canadian and American houses to see if the doors are locked.In Canada, none of the doors are locked but in America, they’re all locked.The contrast between the two countries is a perfect example of how media censorship affects the way Americans think, Salvidrez said.
Media moguls such as General Electric, which controls CNBC, MSNBC and NBC, are biased in favor of corporate endorsements presenting a point of view instead of news, Gibbs said.”My hometown newspaper, the Northern Michigan Record Eagle, is one of the best newspapers,” Gibbs said. “Sometimes smaller media has more flexibility than larger media.”Local papers such as the Post Independent do a lot for the community, but it is concerning when a bunch of papers are owned by the same company, Salvidrez said.For instance, Swift Newspapers owns all of the papers in the valley with the exception of the Aspen Daily News. Swift also owns the Aspen Times, Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Summit Daily News and the Leadville Chronicle. Swift is a relatively small newspaper chain – no paper it owns has a circulation of more than 30,000. What makes it unique from other larger chains, such as Gannett or Knight Ridder, is the company gives total autonomy to each newspaper. Bigger newspaper chains don’t have that freedom.”Fox and MSN run 24 hours a day and I don’t think they should shut down, but the other side needs to heard,” Gibbs said.”Fox and MSN run 24 hours a day and I don’t think they should shut down, but the other side needs to heard,” Gibbs said.
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