April 8, 2013

Viewers, Readers Must Look Out for Bias in Media, S.E. Cupp ’01 Says

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S. E. Cupp ’01, author, co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle” and a former Arts and Entertainment editor for The Sun, spoke about American media biases and how the Republican party could gain college student support Monday.

Cupp began her talk by challenging the commonly-held perception that the media ignores the the conservative viewpoint.

“Why do MSNBC and Fox have more viewers than CNN?” Cupp asked the audience.  “Why is talk radio dominated by conservative speakers?”

Cupp said that there is a distinction between a news organization that acknowledges its political bent and a news source that claims to be unbiased.

“I would say that MSNBC and Fox are less biased than CNN because they are honest about their political leanings,” Cupp said. “CNN pretends to be in the middle, but it’s really not. When viewers watch Fox, they know what they’re going to get.”

Cupp said that media biases are not just political and can be difficult for viewers to spot.

“As viewers, it’s up to you to take a critical eye to what kind of views that you’re given,” Cupp said. “You can get your news in hundreds, if not thousands, of ways — you need to be a detective. Who are you listening to? What are their political views? Where are they coming from? Who is sponsoring them?”

Cupp discussed a variety of biases in the media, including class, gender and anti-Christian bias.

“Whether or not you believe in God, religion is part of the fabric of this country,” Cupp said. “The media does not need to support religion, but it does need to acknowledge that it is important.”

Cupp said that although she identifies as an atheist, she considers a person’s values –– faith-based or not –– to be a critical part of politicians’ policy-making decisions.

“How would I make George W. Bush separate his evangelical Christian beliefs with his decisions about stem cell research?” Cupp said.  “It is unfair to ask religious people to divorce their politics from their religion.”

Cupp, whose appearance was sponsored by the Cornell Republicans, also spoke about how the Republican party could gain more of the college student vote by focusing on fiscal policy instead of social issues.

“Today, young people are deciding not to invest in homes or cars and are waiting to get married,” Cupp said. “I’m inordinately taxed for not being married or owning a house. I’m being penalized for making good financial decisions. [The] GOP should reduce taxes for making these decisions and make economic overtures in ways that are tangible to young people.”

Additionally, Cupp emphasized how the Republican Party could be improved, specifically focusing on how divisions within the party could be mended.

“We need to forget about appealing to those who are moderately conservative, and strongly conservative because we can’t afford to cut these groups in half,” Cupp said. “Instead, we need to judge our candidates on their effectiveness as communicators.”

Historically, conservatism has been popular when it makes an emotional or intellectual connection with the voters, according to Cupp. To gain votes, Cupp said that the party needs to allow the best communicators to “rise to the top” and eliminate pervading biases.

“Politics is about perception: right now, [the Republican party is] not high-minded or socially connected,” she siad.

Original Author: Emma Jesch