The “this is fine” bias in cable news

The “this is fine” bias in cable news

It’s hard to overstate how bonkers the news
cycle is right now.
Republicans are trying to ram through a train-wreck
health care bill without any hearings.
This process is an embarrassment.
This is nuclear-grade bonkers.
The White House is threatening the attorney
general to derail the Russia investigation.
So not only does he call Jeff Sessions beleaguered,
he says he is not doing his job.
And Trump is actively asking if he’s allowed
to pardon himself if it turns out he committed
a crime.
Any one of those stories represents a fundamental
breakdown in political norms.
But if you turn on CNN or your local news
channel right now, things will probably look
kind of normal.
Let’s discuss all this with our CNN political
When Jeff Sessions wakes up, what is he thinking
when he hears this?
This is not your typical president.
Even boring.
The Senate is trying for a Hail Mary on this
health care bill.
What is the latest?
We expect the vote in an hour.
Do we know if they have the votes?
And that’s because our news media isn’t
great at conveying when our politicians have
gone truly off the rails.
If you look at some of the most well-respected
journalists on TV —
Anderson Cooper, Lester Holt, Wolf Blitzer

they all kind of talk the same way.
They’re unemotional, even-keeled, and unfazed
by the stories they’re covering.
You could watch Wolf Blitzer on mute and not
know if he’s talking about the Kardashians
or a nuclear missile launch.
The norm in American media is that journalists
shouldn’t get flustered or outraged or even
emotional about the political disputes they’re
They should present the facts, let panelists
argue about it, and then move on.
And in normal political disagreements, that’s
But in the Trump era, it’s made political
journalism feel totally inadequate.
Take the recent Senate health care vote.
Republicans voted to consider a bill without
knowing what was in it.
They tried to pass it in the dead of night
with no committee hearings.
And the bill was so bad they made Paul Ryan
promise not to pass it, hoping they’d come
up with something better before it was too
That’s a gross hijacking of the legislative
It’s gambling with the lives of millions
of people.
Even conservative commentators called it “disgraceful.”
But on CNN?
Business as usual.
What is the strategy on health care?
What’s amazing, we still don’t know if
there are 50 Republican votes.
Can the Republicans come up with something
that gets 50 votes?
Can they?
No freaking out.
If the bill is as bad as Senate Republicans
say, then they don’t have to worry about
House Republicans deciding to pass it.
Don Lemon just doing his thing.
I mean, when you say the “skinny” repeal,
makes it sound like a diet plan.
They want to drop the weight of this bill.
The same thing happened after Trump started
looking to get rid of Jeff Sessions and Robert
Mueller, which would effectively trigger a
full-scale constitutional crisis.
News outlets treated it like just personal
drama from the Trump White House.
The escalating drama between President Trump
and the Justice Department.
Another juicy scandal to let commentators
argue over.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Donald Trump is a bit of a bully.
He is who he is.
That’s the Popeye defense, “I am what
I am.”
I am what I am: I’m a blunt-spoken New Yorker.
This is Trump being Trump.
This is what normalization actually looks
Journalists feel compelled to treat every
news story like the ones that came before
Not official until, until the gavel pounds.
And again, until this gavel comes down, it’s
not official.
They just can’t admit that something abnormal
is happening.
Think of those people who ignore hurricane
evacuation warnings.
What do you mean you’re not leaving?
Well, I’m hoping it’s not going to be
as serious as they’re saying.
And it’s important to recognize this as
a form of bias.
Call it “normalcy bias.”
And that normalcy bias ends up making for
misleading news coverage.
A huge part of the way that we process news
is by nonverbal cues,
how a story is framed and delivered and compares
to every other news story.
So when Anderson Cooper is laughing during
a segment about Trump derailing Mueller’s
investigation, audiences perceive that it’s
not a big deal.
That this is normal.
When a segment about Trump pardoning himself
looks and sounds like every other segment,
it’s easy to assume that everything is fine.
When TV anchors are just casually updating
you on the status of the health care vote,
they’re not conveying how dangerous what
happened is.
Certainly some drama as this thing comes down
to the wire.
It’s not like everyone’s pretending everything
is fine.
You know, we get tired of saying, “It’s
shocking, it’s unusual, it’s not normal,”
but it’s shocking, it’s unusual, it’s
not normal.
But this shouldn’t be the job of commentators
or guests dropped into otherwise normal-looking
One of the central responsibilities of journalism
is to tell us when something really abnormal
is happening.
It’s why Shep Smith goes viral any time
he gets frustrated.
Why is it lie after lie after lie?
If you clean, come on clean.
It’s why Anderson Cooper’s best moment
was when he got emotional covering Katrina.
There are people who want answers, and there
are people who want someone to stand up and
say, “You know what, we should’ve done
Some stories are too important, too dangerous
to be treated like everyday political disputes.
But until news networks adapt their behavior
for this administration, it’s worth remembering
that our politics are a lot scarier than what
they look like on TV.

100 thoughts to “The “this is fine” bias in cable news”

  1. @Vox- I don't agree with having rhetoric or "shock" etc. on the parts that are supposed to be news. News ideally are delivery objectively and factually. I agree with putting factual data points for context, and in a special "opinion panel show" labeled as such, ok. But in regular news to put shock/dismay/opinions in, it's exactly the disease Fox News has been doing for a while.

    So for CNN perhaps the issue is not putting more factual straightforward datapoint for context. I don't think what you are asking for exactly in the video is what you really want.

  2. So…you think it's better to have journalist try to dictate how we feel about news instead of just presenting info? Why? Isn't it the role of pundits to pick sides? Do we really need MORE people telling others how they should feel about issues?

  3. I'm a liberal and I think vox is absolutely ridiculous. I avoid their politics videos cause they are so biased

  4. Dear God our modern tv journalists are just abismal. Journalist malpractice is only term to call the reporting of news in 2019. Boring Tradject.

  5. No no no no no. I fundamentally disagree with the message of this video. It is not the job of a journalist to frame a story. That is literally what bias is. I don't know who the hell created this "normalcy bias" thing but that is exactly what news should be. The news is not meant to be an outrage machine like some sort of niche YouTube channel. It is meant to convey the facts of a story. I don't even like that the news media hosts commentators. Unfortunately in America, what people see on TV they assume to be fact. This is exactly how FOX news persuades it's viewers that Trump is doing a good job. If FOX committed this "normalcy bias" then FOX news would be a trusted news network. Instead, FOX does exactly what this video is preaching. They get the American people fired up: but at what cost? At the cost of truth. Journalism is about truth, not framing. Journalists should not be telling us what to think, that should be the American people's job. And the more the news media does what this video says, the worse the political divide in America is going to get. And truth in American news media will die. honestly, the things this video espouses are worse than anything I've seen on cable Tv.

  6. I just want to punch this reporter in his face. I agree with everything he says I just can’t stand his face. Such a punchable face. Ugh let me take a crowbar to your forehead

  7. Everyday you are constantly being barraged by biased media that seeks to manipulate your emotions and shape your view on the reality of the world you live in. Facebook, Snapchat, 24/7 hour news stations, movies, music… you may not realize the effect these have on you, but subtle techniques are used in order to influence the way you "think", or rather perceive your environment and the opinions of popular subjects. Its vital to understand what these manipulative techniques are and how they are used in order to protect and free yourself from untrustworthy and dishonorable journalism and ignorant behavior towards misunderstood groups/views.

    Please read these articles and help this information go viral. One cannot stop the planned division of this nation alone, but only together as we hold the press and ourselves responsible lest we fall into chaos with the onset of looking towards dictators to solve our self made problems.

  8. What's to stop a conservative/republican from saying that "in the Obama era, political journalism felt inadequate" while claiming that "Obama got a free pass" for his misconduct? If I personally like or dislike a politician, that will heavily influence how I see his/her behavior. Both Obama and Trump have used executive orders (which is apparently fine, if "the guy on our side" does it). Last I checked, the executive branch doesn't make laws (and neither does the Supreme Court).

    Was this person morally outraged over the passage of Obamacare because it gave the government more control or the Supreme Court ruling that essentially made same-sex marriage into law (without going through the legislative branch)? Or should we only be outraged when Trump does something because he's "so much worse than Obama"? If you're going to talk about political bias, then you should be even-handed in your criticism.

  9. You are an idiot there is no such thing as normalcy bias somebody please get this princess off of vox. Hes a disgrace. This is so unintelligible. Its sad.

  10. It's not the medias job to tell us when they think politicians have "gone off the rails." It's their responsibility to report the facts and let the viewers decide that for themselves.

  11. A missed opportunity to compare/contrast the history of cable news, like how the Kennedy assassination was announced on TV.

  12. The 24hr news cycle brought us to continous spin rooms pushing certain agendas instead of disemenating facts we have opinions, dogma , and propaganda.

  13. imagine that just a year and a half later we find out that Health Care is fine, Trump never colluded with Russia, Michael Cohen was a liar, Joe Biden is a pedo, and 61% of people have 0 faith and trust in the media and the Young Turks walk back 2 years of the Russian Narrative. Hillary still hasn't gone away, and we elected someone into the House who thinks we can stop cows from farting and all we need is $93 Trillion Dollars. CNN is now confirmed fake news, Luke Perry is dead along with the lead singer of Prodigy. I wish people had listened to me years ago because I still have all my hair and my sanity while Don Lemon looks like he has aged 10 years in 3. and we still got 5 more years of listening to these people with Trump Derangement syndrome. I love it! Washington Post now looking at a $250,000,000 lawsuit for smearing a minor. The lies are from the media are hilarious!

  14. honestly from an outside perspective, american news media has already been saturated with information and the sense of urgency, no matter what they talk about, compared to our media. to us, what you see as business as usual is the way information is presented to us when its absolutely breaking news; info scrolling on the screen, panelists, commentators… we just dont have that daily the way yall do

  15. Oddly enough, I searched up"Vox is Biased" to get an actual video about Vox being biased. I found this instead for some reason instead of a video debunking Vox.

  16. Its pretty much well established now that CNN is left and Fox is right.
    If you are liberal, for example, youre probably not going to watch Tucker Carlson and if you are a Trump-voter youre likely going to watch Fox as they give him an easier ride.
    Problem is, there is no news channel where you get hard-facts sans partisan commentary 🙁

  17. On the other side of things, Fox gets triggered over any mention of adopting a European policy in the States…

  18. Some things are too dangerous to be treated like everyday political disputes

    This is the only point of the video

    Stop yelling about the “liberal media”.

  19. So hold on, the left leaning networks aren't outraged enough? Maybe if they did t paint everyone as racist, sexist homophobes then maybe the real stuff would be easier to highlight.

  20. The only "LIBERAL is that noise & labeling the GOP does…along with "LEFT" & "SOCIALISM". The Dems act like housewives, WIMPY…taking responses instead of advances. The Loud Mouth GOP are swindling the country's average hard working Americans. Put a stop to Bush Voting Machines(switchable) Double voting in 2 states. Gerrymandering. Time for Popular
    Voting, Holidays to do it. Poles that are OPEN No More Electoral voting, Dumping Ballots…all generated by GOP who are thieving
    everyone…not paying their share of taxes, the list is so long…it's embarrasing.
    In many countries they have no trouble with Health Care, here the GOP oppose it because the Drug & Medical community pay them to run for Government. We have been bought & sold. These Greedy Senators are just helping themselves. Greedy Old Politicians=GOP Time for a Better Goverment! Remind yourself that this Crook of a President was SELECTED by the GOP to Run for their Party….Trump represents the GOP>

  21. Vox talking about fair political journalism BAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA omg… this one is real funny

  22. What Trump does is not what our normal puppet candidates do because he is not a politician. What CNN and their ilk do to people like Trump is the typical norm liberal progressives push any time there's a person elected who opposes their socialist-globalist agendas.

  23. Liberal media are so triggered. Can’t wait to see the snowflakes on election night 2020. Just look at Anderson pooper and Rachel Madcow. Boy, they are the perfect example of snowflakes.

  24. “You couldn’t tell whether he was talking about the Kardashians or a nuclear missle launch.”

    What’s the difference? They’re both disasters.

  25. Vox must be more far left than I thought if they essentially think that CNN isn't left enough.

  26. hahahaha Vox telling news how to act now thats funny didn't you guys just layoff a bunch of journalist. maybe you should stick to what you know paid propaganda

  27. I think it was Nancy palosi said the same thing about Obama care. "We don't know what's in. We need to pass it so we can find out".

  28. So are you suggesting there be 24 hour hysteria on cable news? There are scandals and problems every day, I just don’t think acting manically will convey this information accurately.

  29. Lol…'well respected' journalists Anderson Cooper, wolf blitzer, Lester Holt?! Yeahhh, Im sure the most well respected journalists are those that nobody watches nor cares about. This video would matter if people actually watched CNN haha

  30. This is a late criticism to this video: [email protected]:35, I think we can all agree that Anderson Cooper's best moment was when he devolved into giggling hysterics after Gerard Depardieu peed in the cabin of a commercial airliner.

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