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Should news media companies endorse political candidates?

Is the tradition of news outlets endorsing candidates useful to voters, or is it a signal of what type of coverage to expect from each outlet? Should this tradition continue?

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News outlets: arbiters of opinion, or investigators of truth?

In truth, endorsements matter primarily to the base of the party that is being endorsed, as it is obviously an honor to be endorsed by anyone, especially if the reasons for the endorsements are fair and factual. As far as swaying a vote, I am positive that endorsements have an affirming affect on the reader of the paper or viewer of the news if the outlet has any credibility, but I would posit that the moment that the media outlet endorses any candidate, it has lost credibility altogether.

In the grand scheme of things, news should be unbiased – journalism is simply designed to be a check and balance to power, to be informative, and at times educational, and any news outlet that adheres to these standards will always be well regarded. News outlets were never designed to segment themselves to 50 percent of a polarized electorate; it just doesn’t make sense to the bottom line.

In truth, many say that standing on principal matters, but in the bastion of Presidential politics, I personally don’t want to know where a paper stands. I want to know that I am getting fair carefully vetted facts, that the right questions are being asked, and that the checks and balances are in tact.

Do media endorsements matter?

So do newspaper or television news outlet endorsements matter? Yes. They tell the electorate that koolaid of their candidate of choice is available on a daily basis. It warns the electorate of the possibility of stories impacting their chosen candidates being buried on page six or nixed all together. It means to the reader that red meat is all they’ll get in order to make a healthy decision with their vote.

Newspapers alongside cable news should take a very hard look at this long-lived tradition and open an entirely new market to the balance of the electorate by not practicing this stale tradition. Giving 100 percent of the truth about 100 percent of all candidates, avoiding talking points of candidates, and delving deeper into each better serves the public in mass.

As an observer of media, and as part of the the institution, I for one, do not subscribe to the elitism displayed by media giants like the New York Times editorial board who does great harm and a horrible disservice to an electorate bombarded by ads in swing states, or worse, those not in swing states that are hungry for facts.

How long has it been since this President has given a real press conference? Check the papers, and check cable media, and you’ll be hard pressed to find the answer, much less demand for one, with only a few exceptions.

Ending the stale tradition of endorsements

I’m not interested in social journalism – that should be left to the people using social platforms to share information. Journalists should avoid the human need for popularity and go for the unbiased story rather than lower themselves to simple entertainment, and rather allow the reverse – allow the people to endorse news outlets. That’s how Big Media survives.

This electorate deserves more than what it’s getting and their media sales show it.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. lessherman

    November 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    “news outlets endorsing candidates” is elitist and worthless…. give me the facts of the issues (is THAT even possible from any news media?)

  2. kenbrand

    November 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Sadly, there’s no money or power or sex in funding, producing or broadcasting unbiased news.

  3. RobertaMurphy

    November 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    There has never been a greater need for unbiased and full reporting from our news media–and a clear line needs to be drawn between news and editorial writing.  Main stream media’s greatest loss is neither revenue nor eyeballs–it is trust.  The Fourth Estate, for the most part, has failed us miserably.

  4. ToddWaller

    November 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Benn Rosales Your point about the validity of media endorsements is ridiculously poignant. Allowing the media consumer to “see” an outlet’s political bend is priceless, when it comes to triangulating from the information the media outlet shares.With regards to an outlet eschewing the endorsement process and giving  “100 percent of the truth about 100 percent of all candidates,” that will take some hard work. Again, the media consumer has been conditioned to question and look for the bias in any “news reporting” that is done. Heck, we “jump at shadows” in movies and TV shows that have current event themes. Somehow, as consumers, we expect to have a message rammed into our entertainment and have become conditioned to ignore or respond to these biases in our entertainment.

  5. annarborrealtor

    November 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Well not to bring Realtor Pac’s into it but…I got two shinny, non environmentally friendly pieces in the mail from NAR and MAR. Through them in the trash, because I would NEVER vote for who they endorsed. I have not given to RPAC since that little committee was formed either. I think when I newspaper endorses it is like a feather in the cap to the candidate, but not sure it makes much difference. Bragging rights for a few days.

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  17. jamesleetn

    November 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Your last sentence pretty well sums it up: “This electorate deserves more than what it’s getting and their media sales show it.”

  18. RuthmarieGarciaHicks

    November 4, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Ok – I’m OLD!!! I can remember back to the dark ages of the late 70s and early 80s.  I was pretty young but my parents were news addicts and we always listened to news programs editorials and editorial responses together in the evening.  
     
    What was really interesting is that there was the “Equal Time Rule” and the “Fairness Doctrine”. There was no cable news and talk radio.  The likes of Cronkite differentiated between reporting the news and editorializing.  And they actually REPORTED the news and DUG for the information.  A marvelous example of this lost art can be seen in “All The President’s Men” about Woodward and Bernstein’s coverage of Watergate.  Investigative reporting – rightly – brought down a US President.  
     
    Imagine that happening today?  They might do it over rumor or innuendo and a nice sex scandal is always good – but real reporting is a thing of the past. 
     
    Some of the news is so biased – notably FOX and MSNBC – that no one can call what they do un-slanted, yet the lines are blurred particularly with respect to cable news stations.  I can watch these stations and successfully maneuver between fact from fallacy, but then I was raised to be super-aware.  Most people can’t.  I see otherwise very intelligent people foaming at the mouth over total nonsense that they heard on some of these “news stations”.  The general public can not seem to sift between fact and opinion. This is a problem because it can easily lead to an oligarchy where he who has the biggest bull horn can contort slanted opinion into fact through sheer repetition. Most people, busy with putting food on the table wil swallow opinion as fact and act and vote accordingly.  
     
    So back to your original question – I think that making the statement of who they are for or against might help the public understand that there IS a bias and WHERE the bias lies.  Its better than nothing since they are already in the bag for one candidate over another.

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How employers should react to the new age discrimination court ruling

(BUSINESS NEWS) A court case that could likely land in the Supreme Court is one that all employers should react to and prepare for.

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In January, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that then 58-year-old Dale Kleber did not get protection against age discrimination from CareFusion as a job applicant.

For employers, there are some important takeaways. Namely, that Kleber v CareFusion does not give employers open season to only hire young workers.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees against age discrimination. There are also protections against disparate treatment under ADEA.

Basically, employers cannot intentionally discriminate against aged applicants. When posting a job, that means you should never advertise for someone under the age of 40 when posting job descriptions.

While Federal law may not apply to older applicants, the Texas Labor Code,  for example prohibits discrimination against people over 40 years of age. Employers should be very aware of inequity throughout the hiring process, whether you’re looking at internal or external candidates. You do not want to be a test case for age discrimination.

How can you avoid violating ADEA and other applicable laws?

First, you should work with your legal counsel and HR department to make sure you are following the law. If you are accused of age discrimination, you should talk to your lawyer before responding. It’s a serious complaint that you shouldn’t try to answer on your own.

Next, go through your job postings to make them age-neutral unless there is a reason for hiring someone under the age of 40. The legal term for this is Bona Fide Occupational Definition. The qualifications can’t be arbitrary. There must be industry standards that determine a definable group of employees cannot perform the job safely.  

Words in applications matter. Don’t ask for GPA or SAT scores. Avoid things like “digital native,” “high-energy,” or “overqualified.” These terms indicate that you’re looking for someone young.  

You should also update application forms that request birthdays or graduation dates. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, you should structure interviews around skill sets, not personal information.

Train those responsible for hiring about the current laws in your state.

Make your managers aware of bias, both conscious and unconscious. It’s not age discrimination that runs afoul of the law, and you must be prepared to confront any situation where it occurs.

Talk about age bias and discrimination in your workplace. Don’t assume that older workers aren’t tech savvy or that they don’t want to keep their skills current. Instead of putting generations against each other, have a multigeneration workplace.

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Cities are fighting back against the motorized scooter companies

(BUSINESS NEWS) The scooter wars are on, and major cities are filled with them – residents and government are finally fighting back.

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When the scooter-pocalypse began, it seemed to come out of nowhere. One day, the most annoying thing in downtown traffic was maybe a pedicab, and then the next: a swarm of zippy electric razor scooters.

This sudden arrival was by design: companies like Lime and Uber’s JUMP simply just began offering their services. There was no negotiation with the city, no opportunity even for residents to say whether or not the scooter pick-up stations could be located in front of their houses—just a sudden horde of scooters (for the record, this do-it-first and then ask permission approach was replicated in all major cities across the United States).

Was this illegal? Nope. There was nothing on the law books about the rental scooter technology so there was technically nothing wrong with the companies just assuming that they could do what they wanted. (Some scooterists have since come to think the same thing, committing crimes and breaking rules.)

Now, enough time has passed for cities to have the opportunity to fight back, as a new year of legislative sessions has begun. San Francisco is one such community, which determined that only permitted companies could operate within the city limits—and, surprise, many of the don’t-ask-permission companies were not given these permits.

Lime, blocked from operating, filed a suit against the city saying that they had been discriminated against based on their … rude … arrival.

A judge has since ruled that there was no bias in the city’s review of the permit applications that were later not awarded to Lime.

As the legislation and the lawsuits play out over the next year, it will be interesting to see if the scooter company’s attitudes toward the cities they operate in change.

If, as they have said all along, they desire to be the next major innovation in urban infrastructure, then they need to be prepared to work with and grow alongside the communities that they inhabit.

It would be a wise move, then, to partner with local governments to ensure that both organizations are working in the best interest of the populations that they serve. 

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One state could make it illegal to ask a job applicant’s age, graduation dates

(CAREER) A recent court ruling makes ageism against job applicants legal, but at least one state is taking action.

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In late 2018, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled 8-4 that Congress intended the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to only cover current employees, not job applicants during late 2018 with the case Kleber v. CareFusion Inc.

The verdict seemed to confirm what many older applicants have experienced: while they may have the necessary qualifications for a position they are often overlooked for younger candidates. The confirmed legality of such dishonorable bias is disheartening.

One state is stepping up to rectify this practice: Connecticut. Democratic Reps. Derek Slap of West Hartford and Robyn Porter of New Haven have proposed legislation that would fight ageism in hiring processes by making it illegal for employer to ask applicants for their dates of birth or school graduation dates.

According to the Hartford Courant, when asked about the legislation’s intention, Rep. Slap replied that such questions, “allow employers to vet our seniors before they even go in to their job interview.”

Candidates who may be older and entering the job market should keep their wits about them. While they are creating and reviewing their resumes and cover letters, they should reach out to other people in their field and make sure that they aren’t using dated conventions.

If they are pressed to provide information that indicate their ages during in-person interviews. Even if the questions are technically legal, applicants can try to assuage fears of being out-of-touch wit current market trends or technology by coming prepared to the discussion ready to highlight recent projects or experiences that illustrate on-the-pulse market fluency.  (For more tips on how to deal with these kind of awkward situations, check out this article.)

The initiative that Connecticut has taken in addressing this problem is likely to inspire more lawmakers across the country to follow suit.

But we don’t have to wait for it to be illegal for people to understand that this practice is unfair. If you are not an older candidate but an existing employee (and therefore covered by laws that say age discrimination is illegal), keep an eye out for how you, your colleagues, and your company speak about more experienced workers.  Sometimes the quickest way to change harmful practices is by having a direct conversation about an uncomfortable topic. 

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