by Megan Rilkoff
With the plethora of different news sources and media outlets today – how do you decide where to get your news? Is it on your iPhone, the radio, television, online streaming? The possibilities are endless to stay up to date on stories that are local, national, and global. Although most new stories seem easily digestible, there are many viewpoints, opinions and interests at play in each story.
While most of my news comes from down time in between class or on the bus on my iPhone, I found that I rarely think about how the information is being presented. This blog is going to look at how different news sources approach and disseminate information about the same story. Using different media outlets and sources each week, I hope to find the most effective ways of gaining and critiquing information.
This week, the Boy Scouts of America has announced their intention to lift the gay ban for members and leaders of this long-time organization. The New York Times and Fox News both tackled this story in very different ways.
In the New York Times article, “In a Quick Shift, Scouts Rethink a Ban on Gays,” Kirk Johnson focuses on the “pressure for change that has been surging from within” the Boy Scouts of America as well as pressure from national critics to change this policy. From the outset the NYT describes the Boy Scout’s decision as symbolic of tradition giving way to modern thinking, popular opinion, and to “the multicultural and sexually diverse buzz of modern America itself.” Herndon Graddick, the president of Glaad, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, contributes to this idea by saying in the article that “the Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong.” Because of this pressure, the NYT believes it is likely the B.S.A. will decide to repeal the ban and allow local chapters to dictate their own rules.
Fox News does not cover the story with the same emphasis on outside and internal factors that have led to this decision, seven months after the organization explicitly stated that gays are not welcome in their organization. In “Boy Scouts considering dropping nationwide ban on gay members, leaders,” they instead focus on the consequences of such a decision, revealing honestly that the “different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue – either maintaining an exclusion of gays, as is now required of all units, or opening up their membership.” Fox also mentions the religious dispute with the B.S.A and atheists, surrounding the phrase “duty of God” in the scout oath. To conclude the article, Fox ends with a quote from a lesbian mother who was ousted from B.S.A last year, saying that this decision “is a step toward equality in all aspects.”
In comparing the two stories, The New York Times looked the the causes of such a decision, while Fox postulated the effects of the decision. Both included opinionated quotes from gay and lesbian leaders about the affects of such a change on the community and within the organization.