Monday, November 29, 2004

New Commerce Secretary

CNN and Fox both covered Bush’s naming of Carlos Gutierrez as Commerce Secretary. CNN mentions Gutierrez as a minority in the first paragraph and as the second Hispanic-American nominated for a cabinet post in the second paragraph. The Fox article never mentions the word “minority” but does have a quote mid-way in the article from a Cuban-born republican representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. Her quote was: "It is a great honor and a source of pride for us to have another Hispanic serving in the president's Cabinet and this truly demonstrates the president's commitment to Hispanics and our beliefs and values."

Both articles were very positive about Gutierrez’s qualifications. CNN gives one brief quote from Gutierrez about two-thirds into the article: “Gutierrez said he would be honored to serve in the post and to "play a role in advancing the president's great and bold agenda for our country."” Fox gives a larger quote near the beginning of the article as follows: "I believe in [Bush's] call for a vibrant, growing entrepreneurial society, where everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy and the pride of ownership, where everyone can contribute and where everyone can benefit. I have had the opportunity to live that American dream so I know the president's vision is noble, I know it's real and I know it's tangible."

Near the beginning of the article, CNN quotes Peter Morici, a former U.S. trade official as saying “Gutierrez appears to fit Bush's pattern of hiring trusted managers over untested innovators.” “"Bush has a clear idea of what he wants to do on the economy," said Morici. "He's really not looking for people to come in and create new policy for him, rather to be a messenger and execute according to his blueprint."” Fox notes: “As commerce secretary, Gutierrez will be responsible for building trade relationships and promoting U.S. exports. However, the position is not one that generally develops policy.”

CNN devotes the last part of their article to Gutierrez’s background and the impact of his leaving on Kellogg, where he is the CEO. Fox talks about Bush’s changes in his economic team as he pursues “three campaign promises — reforming Social Security and the nation's income tax system and limiting medical malpractice awards.”

What I find interesting are the differences in the way the story is covered. Why did CNN add the quote from Peter Morici? Why did CNN give a short quote from Gutierrez whereas Fox quoted a parargraph? Why did CNN place the quote later in the article whereas Fox's quote was early in the article? Why did Fox take the opportunity to talk about Bush's three economic campaign promises whereas CNN chose to talk about the impact on Kellogg? Seemingly small things but it makes the point, I hope, that all news reports involve a series of choices and those choices are influenced by many factors. Influences which probably include political biases, no matter how objective one tries to be.

No comments: