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C-Span Producer Greg Fabic discusses bias in journalism during First Tuesday Speaker Series

By Staff | Jul 18, 2018

C-Span Producer Greg Fabic, left, speaks with Rick Morrison, of Shepherdstown, after the workshop was over. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

The First Tuesday Speaker Series at Christ Reformed United Church of Christ featured C-SPAN Producer Greg Fabic on July 3.

Fabic, who has worked with C-SPAN for over 25 years, recounted some of the experiences with politicians he has had throughout his career, and explained why media outlets like C-Span are important in the modern day.

“C-SPAN stands for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network — a very racy title,” Fabic said. “We’re not trying to force excitement with our media coverage. We’re trying to show you what you would see if you were at the event we’re covering. C-SPAN’s coverage is gavel-to-gavel coverage, to show watchers the event in its entirety.”

“When you observe something on television, you are essentially a consumer, because you are going to be advertised to. There’s a huge diversity of news stations out their with different viewpoints, but all of them are going to skew towards a bias, so they can keep peoples’ eyes,” Fabic said.

Fabic then explained why modern media outlets developed into the politically polarizing organizations they are today.

According to Fabic, television news outlets originally covered events without inserting much political bias into their programming. When news channels began to run 24-hour coverage and the television remote control was invented, the networks had to fight to retain audiences’ attention and fill the whole 24 hours with programming. Their solution, which was reminiscent of yellow journalism according to Fabic, was to add political commentators and dramatize events, by altering camera angles and taking politicians’ mistakes out of context.

Two such recent televised events, which went viral online after they were made into GIFs, were Barack Obama’s “latte salute” on September 23, 2014 and President Trump’s salute to a North Korean general during his summit meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. While both actions would be faux pas if they were isolated events, when a media consumer examines both events’ entire footage, they may realize those events may have been taken out of context to gain an increase in viewership, according to Fabic.

One great resource for media consumers is C-SPAN’s online database, where any televised moment C-SPAN has covered can be accessed and analyzed by consumers, Fabic said.

“If you see something that looks fishy, whether on FOX or CNN, you can look it up on our website and analyze the video for yourself. C-SPAN is a reference you may need to use, when addressing modern media outlets, to analyze a situation for yourself before making any judgements,” Fabic said.

To learn more about C-SPAN, visit www.c-span.org/.