Saturday, April 09, 2005

Protest in Baghdad

Right from the headlines you can see biased perspectives on the protest in Baghdad today on the second anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. Fox’s AP article is more favorable to the Bush administration and the situation in Iraq whereas CNN’s article is more negative. For those who just quickly scan the headlines without reading the articles, think about how these headlines would give different impressions:

CNN: Iraqi protesters: ‘No, no to America

FOX: Shiites mark anniversary of fall of Baghdad

In those headlines, CNN emphasizes getting U.S. forces out of Iraq while Fox emphasizes the fact that the Shiites are happy Saddam is gone. Even if the articles are read, the headlines can frame the readers’ perspectives.

There are other differences as well:

* CNN notes that the protesters condemned the “triangle of death” meaning Bush, Blair and Saddam. Fox also talks about the protesters being against all three. Fox however makes this statement that is not found in CNN’s article [bold added]: “their large numbers reflected frustration both with the U.S. government and anger toward the Sunni Arab-led insurgency.” CNN does not address anger towards insurgents.

* On U.S. withdrawal, CNN says this that is not found in Fox’s article: “Several countries in the U.S.-led coalition have announced plans to withdraw their forces, including Ukraine, which began bringing service members home about a month ago.” Is CNN trying to emphasize that others are leaving and implying that we should be too? Is Fox avoiding that observation? CNN makes the point, as does Fox, that U.S. officials refuse to provide a timeline for troop withdrawal. But look at the statement that Fox uses to precede that fact: “U.S. officials, who are slowly handing security to Iraqi forces, have refused to set a timetable for withdrawal,…” Fox is emphasizing that the U.S. is handing over security to the Iraqis, albeit slowly.

* Both articles talk about radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s role in the protest. CNN mentions only that the demonstrators were followers of al-Sadr. Fox notes that but later adds that al-Sadr had organized the protest. Fox also adds that the number of protesters “fell far short of the 1 million people he hoped would assemble.” With that statement, Fox portrays it as less successful than hoped.

* Fox makes this statement, not found in CNN’s article: “Al-Sadr has wide support among impoverished and young Shiites but overall fewer followers than Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric in the country.” Without that statement, CNN readers may have a different perspective of the views of the Shiites.

* Note: Fox does mention some other things, not mentioned by CNN, that are more negative towards the U.S. such as the protesters acting out prison abuse scenes and other protest throughout the country.

Links to the articles:,2933,152946,00.html

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