#GrammysSoWhite?, #GrammysSoRight?

The Grammy’s, a celebrated music award show that has slayed audience views since 1959 has recently received major heat for the racism issue that may be at hand. This skepticism has developed from other award shows like the Oscar’s as well over the years. With Adele beating Beyoncé in every category, many allied colored-artists decided to not even attend the “white awards show” this year. The media obviously ate up this issue and everyone had something to say about it. The New York Times and CNN are only two of the many sources of media that spoke out about this controversy. Both of which took very different stances with their forms of bias. CNN wanted to cover the full story so they incorporated many sources such as the Grammy’s President as well as the people. The New York Times on the other hand focused primarily on the negativity that the Grammy’s created and described how this show is poorly representing our nation. While ultimately these articles covered the same story, there are many elements that were added to each that created some form of bias. This bias is important to identify before blindly agreeing or making a stance based off of one article.

The New York Times highlighted these racial issues living in the Grammy’s. One of the first critical leads in the article was “Simply put, the Grammy’s, like America, have an inclusion problem — or more to the point, an exclusion problem.”. This sentence obviously provides lean and answers that there was in fact a race issue that went on at the Grammy’s. After Beyoncé’s defeat to Adele, the Times wrote, “In that moment, just a few feet separated Adele and Beyoncé, but the chasm between their treatment by the Grammys was huge, and potentially unbridgeable.”. This diction creates a clear visual for the reader to understand and clearly picture how far these two races are apart regarding equality. This skews the perception of the people because they are viewing the Grammy’s as racists who reward singers simply for color. The New York Times also had an interesting order of stacking. Right in between the discussion of Frank Ocean not submitting his music for consideration and Adele apologizing to Beyoncé, the Times includes, “(The other big all-genre category, best new artist, was won by a black artist, Chance the Rapper)”. This fact was absolutely hidden in the article and includes no elaboration or celebration. The placement of this fact was intended to make the audience think “who cares, the Grammy’s is still racist”. Ultimately, the bias of this article is attempting to turn all races against the Grammy’s. Pushing this notion even further with the addition of the hashtag, “#GrammysSoWhite”.

CNN took a more rounded approach. Obviously they still focused on the severity of the race issues, but they allowed more sources to speak out and help audiences grasp an opinion. The writers focused on giving facts and quotes rather than just popular opinions. They introduced this issue with an unbiased yet thought-provoking lead: “Is racism why Adele beat Beyoncé at the Grammys?”. By addressing this issue in the beginning without giving a lean, it allows the reader to form their own opinion throughout the entire article, rather than giving an opinion in the beginning and spending the next five paragraphs trying to back up the thesis. CNN included quotes from the president of the Grammy’s, Neil Portnow, such as “We don’t, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity,” and “No, I don’t think there’s a race problem at all,”. By allowing these sources into the story, it gives the reader the chance to listen to all sides and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. If after reading the article the reader still feels strongly a certain way, that is fine. I just think CNN wants to give an honest article that allows both sides to speak out. In the show Newsroom on HBO, the character Mackenzie McHale would agree with this strategy. She lives by the notion that, “nothing is more important to democracy than an informed electorate”. Both sides are presented, hence making the reader an informed electorate. This article did a great job at bringing attention to a potentially horrible issue without pointing fingers and drawing conclusions.

To finish, I believe both of these articles, while about the same event, give completely different impressions to the reader. The Times focused primarily on how doomed we are because of this rise of racism in award shows, and CNN gave their information by presenting credibility and unbiased news. If you can’t tell by my bias, I believe the CNN article did a much better job at informing the electorate and leaving the opinions to the people. When putting both of these articles side by side, it is evident that bias is significant and can be very manipulative. Bias is not always a bad thing, but if the audience does not do their research and doesn’t look hard enough to find an article such as The New York Times one, their opinions are manipulated and will continue to be made for them.

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