Friday, December 31, 2004

War-Torn Marriages

Both ran identical AP stories about the U.S. Army trying helping to save “war-ravaged relationships.” As I have written about before, CNN and Fox chose different headlines:

CNN: “$2 million dollars to save Army marriages”

Fox: “Army seeks to mend war-torn marriages”

Both headlines are true but look at the words they chose. CNN emphasizes the cost of the program while Fox emphasizes what the Army is trying to accomplish. Why did CNN put the cost in the headline? Do headlines frame the meaning for the reader?


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Oil-for-food Scandal

In addition to comparing CNN and Fox News articles on the same event, I occasionally look at what articles they cover. I noticed in my “2004: Top ten stories” post below that Fox had listed the U.N. ‘s oil-for-food scandal as number 3 but CNN did not list it at all. Today I did a search of both sites using “united nations” as the search term. The following headlines, specifically about the food-for-oil scandal (excluding articles such as Secretary-General Annan’s dealing with problems at the U.N.), were listed for the last 20 days:


Volcker: U.N. Didn't Stop Saddam's Smuggling - Monday, December 27, 2004

Beware the Ghosts of Oil-for-Food - Sunday, December 26, 2004

Russia Cooperating with Oil-for-Food Probe - Saturday, December 18, 2004 -

Oil-for-Food Used for Money Laundering? - Saturday, December 18, 2004

Documents Challenge Kojo Annan's Story - Thursday, December 16, 2004

SEC Questions Tyco on Oil-for-Food - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Diplomats: U.N. Scandal May Hinder Reforms - Friday, December 10, 2004


Former U.N. oil-for-food chief denies wrongdoing (12.18.2004)

Annan pledges full cooperation with investigations (12.16.2004)

Annan's son: Probe 'a witchhunt' (12.13.2004)

Not only did CNN have fewer headlines, they are all supportive whereas Fox's are more critical. The point is: see what you miss if you just use one source for your news! Be sure and see the post on the Sudan crisis.

Sudan Crisis

In addition to comparing CNN and Fox News articles on the same event, I occasionally look at what articles they cover. I noticed in my “2004: Top ten stories” post below that CNN had listed the Sudan crisis as number 9 but Fox did not list it at all. Today I did a search of both sites using “Sudan” as the search term. The following headlines, specifically about the Sudan crisis (this excludes articles such as the Pope’s Christmas message that mentions Sudan, among other things), were listed for the last 10 days:


U.N. suspends Sudan food convoys (12.29.2004)
Sudan, southern rebels reach peace agreement (12.25.2004)
Darfur rebel group rejects talks (12.23.2004)
Bush authorizes $300M for Sudan (12.23.2004)
U.N. puts Darfur dead at 70,000 (12.21.2004)
Sudan foes suspend peace talks (12.21.2004)
U.S. presses Sudan over cease-fire (12.21.2004)
Charity pulls staff from Darfur (12.21.2004)
New attack hinders Darfur monitors (12.20.2004)
AU: Darfur clashes continue (12.19.2004)
AU: No end to Darfur hostilities (12.19.2004)



See what you miss if you just use one source for your news! Be sure and see the post on the oil-for-food crisis.

Time Out for a Comment

Here is a great blog posting by Dennis Fox:

He expresses what I am trying to demonstrate in my examples of bias. From the perspective of my blog, here is a quote from Dennis Fox:

News is always filtered. Someone always decides what stories to cover, which aspects of those stories are important and which can be omitted, whether to take something at face value or dig further. Even an apolitical journalist makes choices based on a sense of journalistic responsibility, the public good, or some other equally value-laden objective reflecting the lives of middle-class professional journalists. And such filtering is necessary. Unfiltered news would overwhelm us, as anyone trying to make their way through the blogosphere should understand. …

I think my examples of differences between CNN and Fox News stories show that there is always bias in the choices of stories and what to say about them (even "honest bias" as Dennis Fox talks about in his post).

U.S. Assistance to Tsuami Victims

CNN and Fox News ran stories on the administration’s reaction to a statement about tsunami relief donations that was made by the U.N. humanitarian aid chief, Jan Egeland: "It is beyond me why we are so stingy, really." CNN ran an AP story and Fox did their own story to which the AP contributed. Both articles talk about the efforts being made by the U.S.

Fox headline is “Powell Defends U.S. Disaster Aid.” The focus is on Secretary Powell and others’ reactions and comments. Powell had appeared on a Fox News show.

CNN’s headline is “Stingy Americans? U.N. official's comment hits nerve.” Powell is mentioned twice and does not have the focus that Fox gave him. CNN’s second sentence was this: “The comment reopened the question of how to measure American generosity. The answer ultimately depends on the measuring stick.” The article later talks about donations per GNP, where the U.S. does not rank as high, and a measure used by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that ranks the U.S. last. Fox mentions only the amounts donated. CNN also quotes USAID chief, Andrew Natsios, as saying that his agency is out of money with the immediate donations and will have to ask for more.

Why did Fox not include the information about other measuring sticks? Why is it so prominent in CNN’s article? Are there other ways to measure?

Links to the articles:,2933,142719,00.html

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Federal Grants for Port Security

This is another example of different headlines for the same AP article. Here is the opening sentence for both:

The Homeland Security Department has allowed federal grants for improving security at America's ports to be spent on low priority problems rather than the most serious vulnerabilities, the agency's outgoing watchdog says.

Here are the headlines:

CNN: “Report: Port funds being misspent”

Fox: “Inspector: Grants shortchange port security”

Both headlines are correct but is there anything to the words they chose to use? In my opinion, CNN’s use of “misspent” has more negative connotations than Fox’s “shortchange.”

Note: Although they are both AP stories, CNN includes three sentences about White House reaction that Fox does not include. Those three sentences are the deputy press secretary’s comments.

Links to articles:,2933,142717,00.html

2004: Top ten stories

Thought I would compare the top ten news stories of both. Here are the lists:


1. Election 2004

2. War in Iraq

3. Terrorism

4. (tie) 9/11 Commission

4. (tie) Hurricane season

6. Yasser Arafat dies

7. Morality split [election, “wardrobe malfunction”, “The Passion of Christ”, "Fahrenheit 911", same-sex marriage, Pledge of Allegiance]

8. Ronald Reagan dies

9. Sudanese crisis

10. Red Sox win World Series


1. W for president

2. Iraq and the war on terror

3. Oil-for-food scandal rattles U.N.

4. Massacre at Beslan [Russian school hostages]

5. Remember the Gipper [Ronal Reagan’s death]

6. ‘Your government failed you’ [September 11th commission]

7. Spain’s Sept. 11th

8. With Arafat gone, let there be peace

9. It’s a twister out there! [Hurricanes]

10. Tell it to the judge [Jayson Williams, Matha Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Scott Peterson]


What CNN has but Fox does not

7. Morality split [election, “wardrobe malfunction”, “The Passion of Christ”, "Fahrenheit 911", same-sex marriage, Pledge of Allegiance]

9. Sudanese crisis
10. Red Sox win World Series

What Fox has but CNN does not

3. Oil-for-food scandal rattles U.N.

9. It’s a twister out there! [Hurricanes]

10. Tell it to the judge [Jayson Williams, Matha Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Scott Peterson]

NOTE: CNN has “Terrorism” whereas Fox has two examples of terrorism; i.e., Beslan and Spain, plus “war on terror” in #2.


Monday, December 27, 2004

Gay Marriage Ammendment

Here is another case of identical AP stories but different headlines were chosen:

CNN: Gay marriage amendment proponents lose momentum

Fox: Gay marriage amendment not on fast track

Interesting choice of headlines. Fox’s headline seems to indicate that it is just not a high priority compared to other issues. CNN’s headline seems to indicate that support is maybe being lost for such an amendment. You can read and decide for yourself which is the better indicator of the article's content. Is either headline misleading? I think Fox’s headline is more true to the facts of the article. CNN's headline makes more of a judgment of the facts. The word “momentum” is not used in the article.

Links to the articles:,2933,142667,00.html

Bush's Judicial Nominations

CNN and Fox News both had articles Christmas Eve on Bush re-nominating a group of judicial nominees. I find both articles to be balanced between the views of the administration and democratic opposition. However, there were some key differences:

Both give numbers of nominees that had been approved. Fox: 204 out of 214 according to a quote attributed to Sen. Schumer (D-NY). CNN: 18 confirmed out of 34 for appeals courts and 88 of 97 for district courts; citing the DOJ official web site. Also CNN has Sen. Leahy saying that over 200 nominees had been supported. CNN also mentions information from Leahy that “the federal court system has its lowest number of vacancies in 16 years.” This is not mentioned by Fox although they have other quotes from Leahy.

CNN twice refers to the fact that this is an important issue given the possibility of a new Supreme Court nominee during Bush’s term. Fox does not mention this.

CNN notes briefly that Judge Charles Pickering Sr. will retire and withdraw his nomination and that he “blamed Democrats for forcing him to step down.” Fox has more detail on Pickering and includes this statement: “Pickering said that he thought opposition to the president's nominees did cost Democratic lawmakers, especially Sen. Tom Daschle the minority leader from South Dakota who was defeated by Republican John Thune.” Fox also quotes Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) saying that:

"I think the American people sent a strong message on November 2 against the obstructionist tactics that, unfortunately, we saw all too often in the past four years. I'm hopeful that the will of the American people has been made clear to the obstructionists and that these 20 nominees will receive swift up or down votes, as all judicial nominees deserve."

CNN also quoted Cornyn but did not include the quote noted above.

Why didn’t Fox mention the possible Supreme Court nomination in the near future? Why did CNN?

Why did Fox include information on possible repercussions to Democrats because of the filibusters? Why didn’t CNN make mention of that?

Links to the articles:,2933,142444,00.html

Sunday, December 26, 2004

National Forest Rules

CNN ran an AP story on the White House’s new national forest rules. Fox News ran their own story. CNN’s AP article was longer at 718 words with Fox at 423. CNN’s headline is more neutral with “White House issues new national forest rules.” Fox’s headline was “White House proposes forest rules upheaval.”

Both talk about the new rules and give opposing views. CNN has 222 words about opposing views from environmentalists, 31% of the article. Fox News has 93 words about opposing views, 22% of its article.

Links to the articles:,2933,142510,00.html

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Rumsfeld visit to Iraq

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld made a surprise visit on New Years Eve to Iraq. The coverage varied. Fox ran three different AP stories (although two were very similar). CNN ran one story of their own with Rumsfeld in the headline and another about Iraq with a section on Rumsfeld. CNN had 640 total words on the visit while Fox had over 1200 (not counting the third article that was similar to one of the others). Fox obviously has more information on the visit given almost twice the coverage.

Here are some quotes from Fox’s coverage that were not found at CNN’s site:

The questions from the troops for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld were considerably more friendly on his Christmas Eve visit to Iraq than they were on his previous trip to the region a couple of weeks ago.

"How do we win the war in the media?" asked one soldier in Mosul. Another soldier in Tikrit wondered why there is not more coverage of reconstruction efforts going on in the country.

But he said in Mosul that the full picture "gets through eventually" and that "people do understand the acts of kindness and that large parts of the country are peaceful."

Here is a quote from CNN not found in Fox’s articles

While in Tikrit, a soldier asked Rumsfeld whether the size of the U.S. Armed Forces will be increased. He answered the Army would be growing by about 30,000, according to Capt. Bill Coppernoll of the Army's 1st Infantry Division. U.S. forces have been stretched by campaigns under way in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Amazing differences in what each chooses to write about.

Links to articles:,2933,142478,00.html,2933,142476,00.html,2933,142458,00.html


Both CNN and Fox News ran identical AP stories on Christmas. They chose different headlines for the same story:

CNN: Prayers, fears mark Christmas 2004

Fox: World celebrates Christmas

Links to articles:,2933,142535,00.html

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Bush’s meeting with the outgoing head of the NAACP, Kweisi Mfume, was covered by both. CNN’s was a little longer at 634 words while Fox’s AP story was 525 words long. Most of the key information is the same in both. Notable differences include:

In Fox’s AP article, the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, is quoted in the third and fourth sentences. McClellan is not quoted at all by CNN but they do mention that Karl Rove was there and gave some quotes from him. Fox does not mention Rove.

CNN includes personal information about Mfume including his possible future political aspirations.

Fox’s concluding paragraph was:

"He [Bush] was concerned not so much about any potential humiliation of himself, but protecting the office of the presidency from any sort of humiliation that might have occurred," he said. "I think he does have some validity in the fact that protecting the presidency from public humiliation, whether it's he or someone else, as president, is important."

CNN did not use any quotes but said:

Mfume said Tuesday that the president explained in the meeting that he did not attend the convention because Bush was concerned with protecting the office of president from any public humiliation.

As seen in the above two quotes, CNN mentions what Mfume said about the President not going to the convention while Fox uses Mfume’s quotes to make the same point but also noting Mfume’s reaction to what Bush had explained. Why did CNN leave out Mfume's reaction and also the White House press secretary's comments? Why did Fox not include Mfume's future political plans?

Links to the articles:,2933,142256,00.html

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Iraq: Attack at Mosul

Both articles give credit to AP, among others, for contributing to the reports. CNN includes “22 killed” in its headline; Fox does not have it in the headline but does have it in the first sentence. Fox mentions that at least 50 people were injured but CNN does not.

CNN’s first sentence: “Multiple rounds hit a dining hall at a U.S. military base near Mosul on Tuesday, killing 22 people, including U.S. troops, members of the Iraqi national guard, and Iraqi civilians, Pentagon officials said.”

Fox starts with “A radical Islamic group claimed responsibility Tuesday for an explosion that killed at least 22 people at a U.S. military base near the northern city of Mosul.”

CNN talks of rounds hitting the dining hall while Fox starts with the source of those rounds being a radical Islamic group.

CNN mentions the radical group, Jaish Ansar Al-Sunnah, briefly but note that the authenticity of their claim has not been confirmed. Fox called the group “Ansar al-Sunnah Army” and offered this information that CNN did not include:

The statement said the attack was a "martyrdom operation" targeting a mess hall.

Ansar al-Sunnah is believed to be a fundamentalist group whose goal is to turn Iraq into a tightly controlled Islamic state like Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. In August, the Sunni Muslim group claimed responsibility for the beheading of 12 Nepalese hostages.

Why did CNN include the number killed in their headline? Why didn’t Fox include it? Why did Fox add information about the Islamic group? Was CNN being more cautious about what they were reporting since some claims were unconfirmed or were they reluctant for some other reason?

Links to the articles:,2933,142157,00.html

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bush News Conference

Both ran an article on Bush’s news conference. CNN ran an 804 AP story and Fox did their own that was over twice as long at 1711words. Headlines:

CNN: “Bush pushes second-term agenda”

Fox: “Bush holds end-of-year news conference”

Fox’s headline is more neutral than CNN’s “pushes.”

CNN’s AP story starts with Bush’s comments on the federal budget and then covers Rumsfeld and Iraq, social security, Russian President Putin, and the “failed” Homeland Security secretary nomination, and national intelligence.

Fox covered the following topics, in order: Iraq, Usama Bin Laden, Rumsfeld, Homeland Security (including national intelligence, the HS secretary position, Guantanamo Bay prisoners, immigration), federal budget, tax code, social security, and President Putin.

Fox covered much more information. Why is that the case? What was behind the decisions by both CNN and Fox?

Item of interest: On the topic of Kerik’s name being withdrawn for Homeland Security secretary, CNN uses the term “failed nomination” and calls it a “controversy.” Fox does not use any type of negative term. CNN used this quote: "In retrospect he made the right decision to pull his name down," Bush said. "The lessons learned is continue to vet and ask questions." Bush’s quote in Fox’s article is “I've got great confidence in our vetting process. So the lessons learned is continue to vet and ask good questions.” Any reason CNN did not put in the sentence about his confidence in the vetting process?

Links to the articles:,2933,142055,00.html

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Person of the Year -- Bush

CNN chose to run a 319-word Reuters story about President Bush being named Times Person of the Year. Fox ran a 494-word AP story. Both are similar with more detail in the longer Fox article. Both mention previous persons of the year:

CNN: President Bush’s father; the American soldier; Charles Lindbergh; and the “notoriously unpopular” Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini.

Fox: “six other presidents who have twice won” the magazine's top honor: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton; three-time winner Franklin Roosevelt; Rudy Giuliani; the American soldier; Coleen Rowley (FBI agent); Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins (whistle-blowers on scandals at Enron and Worldcom).

All of Fox’s AP list of previous winners are positive, popular people. CNN’s Reuters story has three popular and three at the other end of the scale to include Hitler. Was CNN trying to emphasize that even infamous leaders get the award? Was Fox avoiding that?

Links to the articles:,2933,141970,00.html

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas Controversy

Related to the last post, Fox also ran their own 1208-word story headlined, “Humbug! Christmas Steeped in Controversy.” This article starts with the following:

With all the controversy swirling around Christmas lately, it seems as though the Grinch and Scrooge are running the show this year.

Across the country, debates are brewing over everything from nativity scenes in town squares to Christmas carols in school, with some groups trying to put Christ back into the holiday and others taking offense at public displays of religion.,2933,141920,00.html

The Pasco County story is one of the examples. At least as of today, Fox is devoting more emphasis on the Christmas controversies.

Reversal of Christmas Tree Ban

On December 17th Fox News ran an AP story (actually they ran two but more about the other below) about the reversal of a Christmas tree ban in Pasco County, FL. The next day CNN ran the same AP story. Both have identical headlines. The CNN wording is exactly the same as an AP story in another paper which I reached through the AP website. Here is the link:

CNN’s article has an AP copyright at the end of their story. Fox does not and their story is very similar but has some mostly minor changes.

CNN had this information that Fox did not:

That decision drew angry reactions from residents and the American Center for Law & Justice, a law firm founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.

"People should respect the religious views of others; people should broaden their perspective, their intelligence, stop being so narrow-minded," said dry-cleaning clerk Marijane Graham. "What's next, banning Santa Claus?"

Fox does not have Graham’s quote or mention of angry reactions. Fox does mention Robertson’s law firm. They also have this quote from the chief counsel for the firm: "It was a complete overreaction by the county, almost to the point of absurd," Sekulow said. They also had this quote from the assistant county administrator for Public Services, Jay Johnson: "For 15 years, we didn't have an issue, we didn't have a problem," Johnson said. "Hopefully we can all just return to normal."

Earlier on the 17th Fox ran an AP story that covered the original ban. I could not find a similar article on CNN’s site through their search services. That article talked more of the angry reaction and gave a different quote from the dry-cleaning clerk:

"This whole thing is silly. It floors me," said Marijane Graham, 67, of Dade City. "I'm sure there are atheists celebrating Christmas somewhere just for the spirit of giving. I've never read about a Christmas tree in the Bible, or Santa for that matter."

Links to the articles:,2933,141894,00.html,2933,141805,00.html

Friday, December 17, 2004

Global Warming -- revisited

For my post on the December 15th, “Global Warming,” I mentioned that CNN and Fox had chosen two different AP stories on global climate changes. Today, CNN is running the same Fox AP story from the 15th. Both attribute the stories to AP but, as I have noted before, sometimes the AP stories are not exactly the same. In this case, the articles are almost exact with some paragraphs being in a different order. However CNN’s article is a little longer (702 words vice 632 for Fox) so I looked for the differences.

Fox included this statement that CNN did not have:

"This was a very warm year," said Michel Jarraud, the World Meteorological Organization secretary-general.

CNN included these two paragraphs:

Scientists say a sustained increase in temperature change is likely to continue disrupting the global climate, increasing the intensity of storms, potentially drying up farmlands and raising ocean levels, among other things.

The extreme weather of 2004 extended to storms. Certain climate models predict more severe weather with the onset of global warming, but scientists say it is too early to tell if this year's storms are linked to climate change.

Fox’s statement above is not that critical to the article. CNN’s statements above mention potential future effects. Why did CNN include those statements and/or why did Fox exclude them?

Incidentally, later on the 15th, Fox ran the same AP article as CNN had on a study of changes in the Northeast. In this case, the AP articles are the same.

Links to the articles:,2933,141556,00.html,2933,141646,00.html

Time out for a Related Link

If you are interested in media bias and politics, you may be intertested in another blog of mine that explores the polarization of political "debate" these days. Actually, I don't see much debate. I see instead a lot of name-calling, yelling, sound bites, etc. But, no real dialogue. If you want to see some examples, check out "Why Can't We Just Talk" at:

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Social Security

CNN and Fox covered Bush’s statements on social security at a White House economic conference. CNN was an AP story while Fox had its own but notes at the end that AP contributed to the report. The headlines are similar, as are the articles. Both talk about Bush’s proposal as well as criticism of the proposal. They provide similar quotes but Fox adds an opposing viewpoint from democrats Pelosi and Reid. CNN’s AP article was 759 words with Fox’s being longer at 1097 words. Fox’s added material included a Fox News/Opinion Dynamic poll that indicated most are in favor of Bush’s idea concerning personal investment.

Links to the articles:,2933,141727,00.html

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Global Warming

[Note: This is an edit dated December 17th. Please see my post on "Global Warming -- revisited" on the 17th. I considered deleting this post but decided to keep it and add this comment plus a new post.]

Both CNN and Fox News covered a variety of events with lots of unique stories (covered by one but not the other) as noted in yesterday’s post. They also covered some identical AP stories. They took different angles for global warming articles. CNN ran with an AP story headlined, “Earlier spring from global warming, say researchers.” It was about a report concerning warming trends in the Northeast. It says, “In one of the most comprehensive studies that plants in the Northeast are responding to the global warming trend…” It talks of the effects on plants and animals. It concludes with:

Heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are produced mainly by industry, automobiles and power plants. Climatologists say the gases absorb infrared radiation and trap heat in the atmosphere.

Fox went with an AP story they entitled, “2004 Fourth-Hottest Year on Record.” It was about a U.N. agency report. At one point the article says:

The report's release comes as environmental ministers from some 80 countries gathered in Buenos Aires for a United Nations conference on climate change, looking at ways to cut down on greenhouse gases that some say contribute heavily to Earth's warming.

Fox’s AP article talks about the number of typhoons and hurricanes and the impact on the insurance industry.

Interesting choices of articles. CNN more directly ties global warming to greenhouse gases. Fox’s says “some say” that greenhouse gases contribute heavily.

Links to the articles:,2933,141646,00.html

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Time to look again at what stories are being covered. Again this is hard to do because both web sites are updated regularly. But, in taking just a snapshot view right now I found that several stories are covered by both CNN and Fox. Here are some headlines of stories that, at this moment in time (as shown by primary links from their sites’ main pages), are only being covered by one:


Hollywood targets illegal movie downloads

Insurgency forces change in U.S. supply tactics

Stars in Iraq offer relief to troops

African Union pushes Darfur peace talks

Report: Bioterror readiness lacking

Sources: Reid, Pelosi back Roemer for DNC

U.S. opposes third term for IAEA chief

Medicare payment errors near $20 billion

Fox News:

AP: U.S. AIDS report doctored

Abbas: Uprising must end

Retiree health benefits heading towards extinction

Tyco questioned in oil-for-food probe

Condi Rice more that the sum of her parts

TV council targets racy programming

HHS chief may have to cut programs

Some of these stories that are missing on one web site may eventually be covered but this does show it pays to read more than one source.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Karzai and Poppies

Karzai was on CNN’s “Late Night with Wolf Blitzer” today. CNN ran an article of 506 words. Fox ran an AP story of almost identical length of 512 words. The headlines were similar

CNN notes, in the second sentence, that Karzai was “hand-picked by the Bush administration as interim leader before he handily won election to the presidency in October.” Near the end of the article they note that he is “a former lobbyist for the U.S. oil and gas company Unocal.” The beginning of the article uses 122 words to cover the headline story. Then, the article devotes the next 133 words to the rise in poppy production (source of opium). It states that Karzai said that they will:

“fight the poppy by destroying the poppy fields and planting ‘alternative crops.’ ‘That will take a few years to complete, but we have resolved to fight poppies, and we will begin to destroy some of the fields this year, and we will do it.’”

CNN notes that “After the Taliban banned poppy cultivation in July 2000, poppy production continued in areas held by the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.”

Fox’s AP article uses the first 231 words to cover the headline story and then goes to the comments on poppy production increases in the next 165 words. Fox’s story gives more specific measures that are being done to fight poppy production including:

“Afghan judges and prosecutors began training for special courts officials hope will begin jailing heroin and opium kingpins early next year.

U.S. and British counter-narcotics experts are training Afghan security forces who have already begun destroying drug stockpiles, smashing refining laboratories and arresting traffickers.

“Plans are also being laid to punish farmers by destroying opium poppy crops in key growing regions early next year. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars are earmarked to help the farmers switch to less lucrative but legal crops.”

CNN talks more of the history of poppy production and seems to hint our tacit acceptance of that by “CIA-backed anti-Soviet mujahedeen.” CNN also included more background information about Karzai and his U.S. ties. Why is this so? Why didn’t Fox? Fox’s article provides more information on specific poppy-fighting plans. Why did they include that? Why didn’t CNN?

Side note: Fox’s AP article does not mention until the 11th sentence that Karzai was speaking on CNN.

The article links:,2933,141235,00.html

President Bush's Physical

Fox ran an AP story Saturday on President Bush’s physical. CNN ran the same AP article on Sunday. The wording is exactly the same in both articles. This is the first sentence:

President Bush was found in good health and pronounced "fit for duty" after an annual physical Saturday that also showed that the 58-year-old chief executive is now, as he rather sheepishly conceded, "a little overweight."

Given that lead sentence, Fox chose a positive headline of “Doctors: Bush 'Fit for Duty'.” CNN chose to use a headline that emphasizes some negative: “'A little overweight,' Bush admits.”

The article links:,2933,141235,00.html

Saturday, December 11, 2004


In stories on Iraq this morning, Fox ran an AP story entitled, “Insurgents Use Hospital in Ambush on Troops.” Their story was mostly about the details of the event, covering it with 375 words. The story ended with a short mention of U.S. forces blowing up a “large cache of confiscated weapons in the Sofia suburb of Ramadi” and the release of 100 Iraqi detainees.

CNN’s article was entitled, “Gunmen kill 2 top-level Iraqi crime fighters.” Their story includes that event plus a car bomb in Mosul and three election workers killed earlier in the week. They mention the hospital ambush but only devote 79 words to that story.

Maybe later today both will run stories on the other Iraq events but if you were just reading the news this morning from one web site, look at the facts that you would have missed.

The article links:,2933,141232,00.html

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Howard Dean

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean spoke Wednesday at George Washington University; CNN and Fox both covered the event.

CNN’s “Dean: Democratic Party must rebuild” article starts with Dean saying that his party needs to be rebuilt. Fox starts with Dean “looking for a new life, and not coincidentally , the Democratic Party.” Their headline was “Dean Courts Dems for Top Party Post.”

Both are about the same length with 434 words for CNN and 410 words for Fox. CNN had 173 words of direct quotes from Dean and Fox has a little short of that at 158 words of direct quotes. Of the quotes, only one quote of 18 words was included by both. Why did they choose primarily different quotes? What was behind those choices? Most of CNN’s quotes of Dean were about the Republican party and where they have been wrong; most of Fox’s quotes were about the Democrats and things that Dean would like to fix.

CNN notes that there was “a crowd of cheering students and faculty.” The Fox article simply states that there was “an audience.”

The article links:,2933,140946,00.html

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Classified CIA report on Iraq

A story about a classified report from the CIA about Iraq received different coverage by CNN and Fox.

CNN reported on a New York Times report. Fox has an AP article which mentions the New York Times report but uses an anonymous U.S. official as a source. There is a big difference in headlines:

CNN: “Report: CIA chief paints bleak picture in Iraq

Fox: “Outgoing CIA Chief Gives Iraq Assessment”

CNN’s first sentence says, “The situation in Iraq is unlikely to improve anytime soon.” That is followed by a second sentence which notes, “The assessments are more pessimistic than the Bush administration's portrayal of the situation to the public, …”

The Fox AP article’s first sentence says the CIA chief wrote that “a stronger government and economy are necessary to avoid descent into wider violence …” Later, it specifically mentions “the good” in the report and “the bad.”

Why did CNN choose a more negative headline? Did Fox soft-pedal the story? Was the classified report written by the CIA chief because of the bad situation and to address that specifically (as the CNN article could lead one to believe) OR was the report a routine assessment written by the chief at the end of his tour of duty that included both good and bad news (as you could get from the Fox story) OR none of the above?

The article links:,2933,140830,00.html

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

President Bush's visit to Camp Pendleton

Both covered President Bush’s appearance with the Marines at Camp Pendleton. CNN ran an AP article of 560 words. A little over 60% of the article was about the visit. The rest summarized previous events including: (1) The recent meeting with the Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawer concerning the insurgency and upcoming vote. (2) The May 2003 visit of Bush to “the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln where he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq under a banner proclaiming ‘Mission Accomplished.’” (3) The total number of U.S. military who have died in the Iraq war.

Fox was more pro-Bush. The headline is “Bush Thanks Troops in California” as opposed to CNN’s neutral “Bush meets with Pendleton Marines.” Fox’s article is larger with 847 words. Over 85% of the article is about the visit and Camp Pendleton. The article had AP contributors and it had the same two sentences on the USS Abraham Lincoln visit in 2003. Fox does not have the total U.S. deaths but it does report that “Camp Pendleton has one of the highest casualty rates in Iraq of any U.S. military base or installation.” It later mentions more than 200 died from Camp Pendelton.

Why did Fox include “Bush Thanks Troops” in its headline? Why did CNN have the total U.S. deaths whereas Fox did not (I have noted this once before in an earlier post)?

Here are the links to the articles:,2933,140714,00.html

Monday, December 06, 2004

Intelligence Reform Bill

Both had similar headlines in their articles about the deal reached on the intelligence bill. Fox had a longer article at just over 1400 words. CNN’s was 462 words. Fox’s first sentence notes that the bill had been “bottled up in Congress.” The third sentence includes this quote from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif:

"Today has been a good day for the people who wear the uniform of the United States military."

CNN’s first sentence talks of “resolving an impasse” and in the second sentence they mention Hunter but do not give the quote Fox used and instead talked about how “Hunter had held up the deal because he said he believed troops in the field would be endangered.” I believe there is a subtle difference here where Fox quotes a positive statement and CNN gives the same information but in what might be considered a backhanded way. CNN follows that with:

A House Democratic source gave CNN a copy of the draft that Hunter agreed on. The source indicated the language was intentionally ambiguous and made no mention of such specifics as satellites or troops.

Fox had more details since it was over twice as long. CNN mentioned the divided reactions of the 9/11 families while Fox did not.

Here are the links to the articles,2933,140613,00.html

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Pakistan's Musharraf

Today, CNN reported on Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, and his comments on CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.” Fox reported on his comments on “FOX News.”

CNN’s article is more anti-war with the headline “Musharraf: Iraq war has made world 'less safe'.” The opening sentence was:

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was a mistake that has made the world a more dangerous place, but a swift withdrawal would make matters worse, Pakistan's president said this weekend.

Later in the article they added this statement:

After the interview, a Pakistani government spokesman called CNN to say that Musharraf did not intend to be categorical in his assertion that Bush had erred in invading Iraq.

Fox’s article is mostly about Pakistan’s involvement in finding bin Laden and fighting Al Qaeda. Their headline was, “Musharraf: Pakistan Withdrawal Was 'Tactical'.” As close as the article got to criticizing Bush was this statement later in the article:

Musharraf tempered his words about the U.S.-led war in Iraq, which he was vehemently outspoken against before the invasion. "The situation is not really good, but the direction that we've taken I think is correct," he said. "To have elections and bring a politically acceptable government in Iraq."

Maybe of interest: CNN uses the term “Gen. Pervez Musharraf” and then only refers to him by his last name after that. Fox says “President Gen. Pervez Musharraf” and also uses his last name only, except in one case they refer to him as the “Pakistani president.”

Senate Minority Leader

Both news sources had articles about the new incoming Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and his statements on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” CNN’s headline was “Dems' new Senate leader criticizes Justice Thomas” with a smaller sub-headline of “Frist vows GOP to pursue options to overcome filibusters.” CNN chose to focus on Reid’s comments about Justice Thomas of the Supreme Court by starting with that and including it in the headline. The article went on to talk about Reid’s more favorable impression of Justice Scalia. It ends with statements from Reid and Senate Majority Leader Frist’s comments on filibusters.

By contrast, Fox ran an AP story that focused on Reid’s desire to have President Bush consult with Democrats on Supreme Court nominees. Fox has Reid’s same quote about Thomas but does so near the end of the article.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Rejection of Church Gay Ad

On December 1, 2004, CNN ran an article about three networks (CBS, ABC, and NBC) rejecting an advertisement from the United Church of Christ (UCC) which was designed to show that gays were welcome in their church. CNN refers to the UCC as a “U.S. mainline Protestant denomination.” Fox ran an AP article December 2nd about the same topic and referred to UCC as a “liberal-leaning church.”

CNN describes UCC as “one of America's oldest religious groups, with historic roots stretching back to the Puritan pilgrims of New England. It is also one of the few Christian denominations that allows openly gay and lesbian people to serve as clergy.” Fox’s AP article points out that UCC is down in membership: “a 1.3 million-member denomination, down from 1.7 million in 1989.”

Fox’s article was shorter at 252 words with 20 words for one quote from a UCC representative. There were brief quotes from CBS and NBC. CNN’s article was 541 words long with 112 words for three quotes from UCC. CNN had brief quotes from ABC, CBS, and NBC.

With probably the same information available to both CNN and Fox, it is interesting to see how different these stories are covered. Why was CNN generally more positive about UCC? Why did Fox choose to say what it did about UCC? Is UCC a mainline Protestant church and/or is it a liberal-leaning church? Can you trust any news source? If you only read one source, you would never know about the other viewpoints.

Denver and Christmas and Associated Press stories

Like my last post, this involves two “identical” AP stories. Of course, they are not identical. CNN’s headline is “Denver mayor allows ‘Merry Christmas’ display.” Fox’s headline is “Denver Mayor Will Not Remove 'Christmas'.” This is perhaps a subtle difference but the first talks about allowing, which is more passive than the latter “will not remove.”

There are some minor differences in the first four sentences of the articles. CNN left off a minor portion of a quote from the mayor and also left off this sentence which is in the FOX version of the AP story: “He said the city might add "Happy Holidays" to the display next year.”

CNN’s article is 215 words and half of the article is about a similar reversal with regard to a holiday tradition in Chicago. Fox has 299 words with no mention of Chicago. At the place in the AP story that CNN talks about Chicago, Fox’s article discusses a controversy involving a church that wanted a Christmas-themed float in Denver’s annual parade and the private nonprofit group in Denver that organizes the parade with its “longstanding policy that prohibits religious or political messages in the parade.”

CNN chose to leave the other Denver issue out of their version of the AP story while Fox decided to include it. Fox did not cover the Chicago story which was less controversial. So, even though an article is attributed to the “Associated Press,” it pays to read more than one news source.

Abstinence Education

CNN and Fox both ran AP stories on a report about federally funded abstinence education programs. The report indicates that there are problems with the programs. CNN’s headline is “Waxman report: Abstinence courses flawed.” Fox’s is “Pol: Abstinence Programs Distort Truth.” Waxman is a democratic senator who did the report. Both sites credit the AP so the wording is similar in many cases but there are some interesting differences.

CNN mentions Waxman in the headline and then again in the first sentence. Fox just has “Pol” in the headline and in that same first sentence uses “a Democratic lawmaker.” Waxman is mentioned by name for the first time in the third sentence of Fox’s version of the AP article.

The following sentence, mentioning Bush, is the same in both but Fox places it as the second sentence whereas CNN has it as the fifth sentence.

The abstinence programs, which have been embraced by President Bush, will receive $170 million in the current government spending year, more than double what the government was spending when Bush took office in 2001. The abstinence curriculum may not include instruction in contraceptive use as a condition of federal funding.

Am I being too picky? Does this actually mean anything? My point is that given the same AP article, someone at CNN and/or Fox made some changes. Were those changes politically motivated?

Thursday, December 02, 2004


A CNN article and a Fox AP article discuss efforts to pass the Intelligence Bill. CNN’s article focuses more on efforts by Bush and others to get the stalled bill passed. The headline was “GOP senator: Bush pushing for intelligence bill.” Fox’s AP story’s headline was “Two Issues Block Intelligence Bill” and concentrated more on the issues holding it up but it did address the efforts to get the bill moving. Other than the different approaches, both seemed fair and not slanted to the left or right, in my opinion.

Not much else to report on today. I occasionally talk about what each is covering by looking at their headlines but with the frequent updates on their web sites, it can be difficult to equally compare since they may not update their web sites at the same time. In addition to comparing articles on the same subject, I will continue to try and compare unique stories that one chooses to cover and the other does not. I will take into consideration adequate time for the articles to appear on their web sites.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Yesterday when I checked the headlines I noted that Fox had a headline entitled, “Dutch Hospital Euthanizing Terminally Ill Newborns.” CNN had not yet covered it. Today CNN had a headline which says “Dutch ponder 'mercy killing' rules.” Fox’s article is from the AP. The CNN and Fox AP articles cover the same story but Fox’s headline is a little more direct and potentially alarming by mentioning that a hospital is euthanizing “newborns.” The CNN headline does not mention newborns in the headline but in the first sentence talks of “euthanizing terminally ill people "with no free will," including children, the severely mentally retarded and patients in irreversible comas.” Fox’s AP story is more pro-life in tone and mentions Roman Catholic outrage.