In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2009 / 1 Kislev 5770

Palin, Oprah and media literacy

By Marybeth Hicks

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Thanks to Oprah Winfrey's interview of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, I'm heading out to buy her book, "Going Rogue: An American Life."

Like millions of Americans, Mrs. Palin intrigues me, not because I'm a huge fan or a huge skeptic, but because despite mountains of media content produced about her, she remains a mystery.

Those who want the stereotyped, "Saturday Night Live" image of Mrs. Palin to hold up as fact argue that the mainstream media has offered an accurate picture of the woman and that picture is "I can see Russia from my house."

Newsweek this week affirmed this absurd image by using on its cover a photograph from a Runner's World profile of Mrs. Palin. In such a context, the magazine intentionally sought to affirm David Letterman's crude "slutty flight attendant" comment.

The obvious conclusion based on these media portrayals is that Mrs. Palin is too uninformed and unintelligent for national leadership. Unfortunately for Palin haters, such a conclusion simply flies in the face of the principles of media literacy.

Media literacy is the ability to assess and evaluate media content and understand its underlying messages in the full awareness that someone owns it, produced it and is using it to promote a particular point of view.

This idea isn't very complicated. In fact, the Center for Media Literacy (CML) has long advocated that parents teach their children the five basic principles that must be applied when evaluating media content: Media messages are constructed; they contain embedded values and points of view; they use staging to make a metaphorical point; they are interpreted based on a person's life experience; and they're driven by profit and political motives.

For years, I've followed CML's advice and taught my children these principles in order to help them understand why certain toys don't perform as advertised, why a pair of basketball shoes named for an NBA star won't improve your game, and why we don't permit them to watch certain TV shows that undermine our values.

Adults need to develop media literacy skills as well, because we depend on the media to bring us information that serves as the basis for our decision-making. In the political arena, our ability to dissect media presentations of people and issues is imperative if we're to make reasoned choices about candidates and their policies.

This brings me to Oprah's Monday interview with Mrs. Palin. Clearly, Mrs. Palin chose "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in an effort to reach its strong demographic and thereby promote her book. Even folks like me who never watch the show tuned in to see what we could learn.

For Miss Winfrey's part, it seemed the talk-show queen could not help but be as intrigued by the former governor as am I. She may have assumed that the stereotype would be true, but it sure looked as though she was face to face with a formidable woman who wasn't anything like the lightweight the mainstream media would have us believe her to be.

Importantly, when Barack Obama appeared on Oprah's set, they shared a love seat. Oprah sat next to the would-be candidate with an arm outstretched in an open and affirming posture. Conversely, the staging for Mrs. Palin's appearance was less like a living room, more like a hotel lobby, and not a very inviting one.

But while Oprah didn't do anything that could be interpreted as supportive - no comfy couch or "girlfriend" moments - she didn't necessarily undermine Mrs. Palin either.

Leaving me … still curious.

If the appearance was meant to encourage sales of Mrs. Palin's book, it worked. I'm going shopping. I hope Mrs. Palin will do what the media has not yet done for me - finally sheds some light on who she is and what sort of leader she might be.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2009, Marybeth Hicks