Thursday, May 19, 2005

Women in Combat

CNN and Fox News both ran AP stories on a House bill for the Defense Department which includes policy on women in combat. As I have noted in other examples in other posts, the AP articles are similar but there are differences I attribute to biases. These articles are about 90% identical but there are some interesting differences. CNN’s headline and first sentence are worded to be more negative towards the Republican sponsored bill. Conversely, you can also say that Fox’s opening is worded to be more positive towards this part of the bill. Here are the headlines for each:

CNN: Bill aims to bar women from direct ground combat

FOX: House Panel Backs Limiting Women in Combat Roles

CNN says the bill is trying to “bar” women from the combat role while Fox is a little softer with the panel just “limiting” the roles. This is similar to their opening sentences as illustrated below. CNN says women would be barred, Fox says approval is needed first.

CNN: Women in the military would be barred from serving in direct ground combat roles, under a House bill …

FOX: The military would need congressional approval before putting women in new direct combat roles under a bill …

Again, much of the articles were identical. However I did notice in one place that Fox had a couple of extra sentences not in CNN’s version of this part of the article. The quote below is from the Fox article and highlights, in pink, the information that was not in CNN's. Did CNN take that out? Did Fox add in this information that is favorable to the Republican view? Or, was it simply different versions of the same article pulled off of AP at different times?

"We're not taking away a single prerogative that the services now have," McHugh [Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., who sponsored the amendment] said.

He said the provision would not cause any jobs to be closed today that are open to women and he said it wouldn't yank women out of roles in which they currently are serving. He said it simply requires more oversight of the role of women in the military.

Democrats opposed the amendment, saying it would tie the hands of commanders who need flexibility during wartime. They accused Republicans of rushing through legislation without knowing the consequences or getting input from the military, and tried unsuccessfully to pass their own amendments to kill McHugh's provision.

Links to the articles:,2933,157051,00.html

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