Sunday, January 02, 2005

House Ethics

This is another case of identical AP articles with different headlines. Here is the opening for the article:

Republican leaders are considering a change in House ethics rules that could make it harder to discipline lawmakers.

The proposal being circulated among House Republicans would end a general rule against any behavior that might bring "discredit" on the chamber, according to House Republican and Democratic leadership aides.

Here are the headlines:

CNN: House considers weakening ethics rules

Fox News: House GOP Scrutinizes Ethics Rules

Both headlines are true but they differ considerably. CNN emphasizes the weakening of the rules which is the gist of the story. Fox specifically mentions GOP but uses the more neutral “scrutinize” in their headline.

I think headlines are a significant for two reasons: (1) They indicate what the news source thinks will appeal to its readers and thus indicates potential bias. (2) They provide a “clue” to what will follow in the article and thus leads the reader to be aware of that angle of the story.

Side note: CNN ran the story December 31st while Fox waited until January 2nd.

Links to the articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/12/31/house.ethics.rules.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,143103,00.html

1 comment:

Miguel said...

I don't think 'scrutinize' is more neutral, 'scrutinize' is more vague. Congress is actually weakining rules, they are not strengthening them, so the headline is more accurate and descriptive when CNN uses 'weakining. Fox is obviously trying to minimize an embarrasing Republican story.