Friday, April 01, 2005

Abstinence

Both CNN and Fox ran AP articles on a government web site that promotes teen abstinence from sex. Since they both attribute their articles to the AP, there are many similarities. However, there are numerous differences as well with Fox being more favorable towards the web site and CNN taking more of a liberal view. Here are some examples:

* The opening sentences reveal bias in my opinion. CNN speaks of “an array” of groups protesting the site and their views of the inaccuracies of the site. Fox, on the other hand, opens with a quote from the web site, “abstinence is the healthiest choice,” and frames the issue as a battle about values.

CNN: An array of advocacy groups are calling on the U.S. government to take down one of its new Web sites, saying it presents biased and inaccurate advice to parents on how to talk to their children about sex.

FOX: A new government Web site gives parents advice on how to convince their children that "abstinence is the healthiest choice." That's dictating values, say organizations ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to gay rights groups, and they want the site taken down.

[Fox then adds this statement that is not in CNN’s article: “But Michael Leavitt, secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, says the Web site is right on target.”]

* Fox’s article is longer and contains the following information that is not in CNN’s article:

"By and large, it's a Web site that believes in abstinence until marriage," said [Monika] Rodriguez [of Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States], whose advocacy group promotes comprehensive sexual education. "Everything on the Web site is designed to promote that value and help parents communicate that value to their children." [note: this quote is given as a negative in that a certain value is being promoted]

And it paints a bleak picture for teens who get pregnant: "Many teen mothers never finish high school. Teen mothers and their babies are more likely to have health problems. And families started by teen mothers are more likely to be poor and end up on welfare."

* CNN notes that “Emphasizing abstinence is fine, said the groups, but the government, under the conservative Bush administration, also should stress the need for contraception if sexual relations do occur.” But, CNN does not mention this fact that is in Fox’s article: “For parents of teenagers already having sex, there is a section on contraception.”

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/04/01/government.abstinence.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,152099,00.html

Link to the government web site:

http://4parents.gov/

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