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Does the anchor affect which channel you choose for evening news?

Asked at Community Mercantile, 901 Iowa on November 24, 2004

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Photo of Suzi Jordan

“Yes it does, but the really good people work for PBS. That’s where I get my national news.”

Photo of Erich Buer

“It really doesn’t for me. If there are big issues, I will see how all the networks are portraying it. I like to get as many sources as possible.”

Photo of Mitchell Morley

“I’d have to say that it would. The anchors who are retiring are the ones I grew up with. I think that now people are going to search around to find the most trustworthy anchorman.”

Photo of Karina Amante

“Yes. I personally like Peter Jennings. He just seems like he is honest, and I think people like to watch people who are honest. It definitely affects which network people watch.”


jonas 13 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely not. I never watch TV news, as they are all varying forms of sensationalism. The closest I come is the Daily Show, which at least doesn't have the pretense of being a real news show.

In case y'all missed my post last night, my quotation of salary, slightly less than $500k, was supposed to be sarcastic, which apparently didn't translate at all, in order to differentiate between my position and a NBA players. Believe me, "slightly" doesn't begin to describe the difference. Probably not a big deal, but I care enough about my image to not want to be seen as that guy who walks around bragging about his paycheck, his car, or his IQ.

jonas 13 years, 2 months ago

Woohoo, a mistress! Give me a couple years (decades, cough) and we'll see how things are looking then.

PigFarmer 13 years, 2 months ago

I have watched all the broadcast/satellite news anchors as well as PBS. The one I watch most, is Fox news.

However the bottom line is, all anchors report the news with their own bias. I would guess those that lean toward the left like CBS, ABC and NBC. If you lean to the right- Fox is the one.

I don't think anyone reports only the news in a way you the viewer can decide. What really ticks me off is after someone like the president makes a speech and the anchor comes on and tells me what I just heard.

badger 13 years, 2 months ago

I don't really watch TV any more. When I did, I was a Tom Brokaw loyalist. I won't say he's not biased, because I agree that they all have some level of bias, but I will say that from the time I was in high school on, he represented the face of trust and continuity in information.

I'm very sorry that he's stepping down. My choice to stop watching TV news has more to do with my choice to give up TV altogether than it does with the way he treats the news or the people in it. He handles the dead and wounded with respect and courtesy.

PigFarmer, I don't so much like the translational analysis either, but unfortunately a lot of the people in this country can't comprehend even a spoken sentence, much less a written one, above the ninth-grade level. I just figured that those analyses were for explaining the big words to the illiterate unwashed, and compared them with my own interpretation to see if there was a perspective I hadn't considered.

jonas 13 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, Con1, but the only shows I watch, apart from the daily show, are Whose Line is it anyway, and a few of the cartoons on Adult Swim on cartoon network. Past that, anything I want to know about I can find in a better format on the internet or a newspaper. As far as your last statement, I suppose I would agree with it.

David Ryan 13 years, 2 months ago

The simple, unassailable fact remains that people who get their news from PBS and NPR are better informed than people who watch other news shows.

Being better informed means knowing what the facts of the world are -- necessary for democratic citizens to make decisions about policy.

Unless, of course, you prefer a citizenry who base their decisions not on facts but superstition (i.e., the Christian Right).

Being a supporter of the Constitution, however, I think it best that citizens actually be factually informed, not deluded.

badger 13 years, 2 months ago

Davidryan, I'm not trying to be confrontational, but I'd love to see some statistics or hard evidence to back up that simple, unassailable fact. Because from where I'm sitting right now, it's an unproven slightly incendiary assertion.

Consumer1, that depends, I think, on what you believe the role of a news anchor is. I have always believed that the total role of a news organization was to present facts (whether this is what they do or not) so people could make decisions. The different people have different functions. The investigative reporters find things out, the analysts explain nuances, and the anchorperson puts all the news together with a person's face, to provide some continuity and stability in an unstable world. While local stations may often employ talking heads for this, Brokaw, Jennings and Rather have taken an active role in how the news will be presented (as seen by Rather's recent problems with the National Guard letters). The big boys, I think, write their own scripts instead of just reading the TelePrompter.

As such, I think that the loss of two of the three primary news faces America has known for the last twenty years will have a pretty big effect, because the new guys will view news differently, handle people and major issues differently, and have to earn our trust or distrust. Right now, when I turn on TV news, I have a relationship of sorts with the person there, be it positive or negative.

David Ryan 13 years, 2 months ago

Consumer1 has no idea what he's talking about.

Jefferson put it best:

"Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights."

David Ryan 13 years, 2 months ago

The study can be found here:

Of course, I believe in science and facts, so those of you who believe critical thinking to be "liberal," you can indeed count me in that column.

I'm what you'd call a horrible example of free thought.

David Ryan 13 years, 2 months ago

An excerpt:

"Heavy viewers of the Fox News Channel are nearly four times as likely to hold demonstrably untrue positions about the war in Iraq as media con-sumers who rely on National Public Radio or the Public Broadcasting System, according to a study released this week by a research center affiliated with the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs.

"When evidence surfaces that a significant portion of the public has just got a hole in the picture this is a potential prob-lem in the way democracy functions," says Clay Ramsay, research director for the Washington, D.C.-based Pro-gram on International Policy Attitudes, which studies foreign-policy issues."

There are indeed better and worse journalistic stations. PBS and NPR happen to be quite good at journalism, FOX not so much so.

It's not the content, but the process. If that's too difficult to understand for you, there's nothing I can do but suggest you read outside your ideological bubble.

badger 13 years, 2 months ago

Davidryan, if I might make a suggestion, please try to condescend to us just a touch less. You seem to have some assumptions already about how we think and develop our opinions. I'm not certain your assumptions are accurate.

If you have points for discussion that can be shared reasonably and rationally, without being patronizing, I'm certain that you'll find a number of people here who are open and receptive to what you have to say.

As to the PIPA information, it looks interesting. Thank you for sharing it. I'll have to research the organization when I have time to determine their structure for peer review and presentation, as well as their standards for journalism, to determine what weight their arguments have for me.

The Thomas Jefferson quote is very nice. He was indeed a brilliant man. However, as he's been dead for nearly two centuries, I'm not certain I'd consider him an accredited or primary source regarding the state of journalism today. The point of being an informed populace is a good and necessary one. A very wise man once said, "An honest government has nothing to fear from an informed populace, but the tyrannical one cannot stand in the face of reason."

I myself favor a balance of news sources from left to right.

PigFarmer 13 years, 2 months ago

DavidRyan - While Fox News has a healthy respect for conservative viewpoints, it also gives free reign to the liberal side of things.

On Fox News Sunday, they don't just have a token liberal, (the old media Sunday shows, if any, have one token conservative) - they have two conservatives and two liberals. Their two liberals are solid, well spoken, with good heads on their shoulders. NPR's Mara Liasson and Juan Williams are well able to maintain the liberal argument.

David Ryan 13 years, 2 months ago

Badger -- my sincere apologies for my stridency sounding like condescension to your ears. That wasn't my intention.

I do, however, believe that some misperceptions about what journalism is and does are far, far too widespread in our country.

And I can't stress enough that journalism is a process, not an end result. It is a way of approaching events to determine truth, not the repetition of already agreed-upon talking points.

Matter of fact, journalism, in this sense, is a lot like justice: justice is not defined as an end result that you agree with (when someone says that someone else got the justice they deserved, they're mistaking it for vengeance or revenge) but as a deliberate process.

Sure, we humans are trapped to a greater or lesser extent in our own views.

But that doesn't mean some journalism is not better than others.

Some journalism is better, not because of what the journalists say, but HOW they get to what they say.

And it is that kind of journalism that Americans should celebrate and give their support to.

Liberty 13 years, 2 months ago

It doesn't make any difference what anchor is on TV. They are all told what to say and what not to say to the public, and what the people are supposed to believe and know. Suggest a short wave radio or big C band satellite dish to pick up independent radio or talk radio broadcasts. An internet feed is available from This streaming audio feed is free currently.

Savage 13 years, 2 months ago

Yes davidryan, everyone who watches cbs or fox may have their own interpretations of events, but in reality youre undermining peoples intelligence and assume they only get their news from just one source (how absurd a comment in the information age that you make).

Comments like that considering YOUR sources (ooooh, aaaah, NPR? the god of journalism???.... Pulllleeeese!!!) seem to be absolute truth to you. I guess that just makes your comment just your view then, and not a fact.

Your just another group in the mix. Telling free thinkers everywhere they have all essential been brainwashed. When are you going to realize that if fox viewers voted for Kerry instead of Bush.... Your political NPR spreaker would have declared that most Americans are IN TOUCH with the truth in regards to IRAQ.

Perhaps once you view this truth, you will be as dissapointed with American politics as the rest of us.

Check out the lastest story on the corruption with the city govt in las vegas... ouch! (story broke yesterday) Is there an honest bloke left?


Liberty 13 years, 2 months ago

The site has various views, from both right and left and center; mostly in support of the Constitution (Bill of Rights) and the Declaration of Independence. If you take the time to listen to the audio stream, right now you will hear a highly decorated retired police officer's show to the public called the Jack McLamb show. He aspires to the freedom of this country and current events that are working against our God given freedoms and what you can do about it. Denial of the truth is always the first step to waking up. The fix is to listen and make up your own mind as to what one should really believe. But don't take too long, time is of the essence to restore our Republic.

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