Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Different Angles on Iraq War, again

On the day of President Bush’s speech on Iraq, CNN and Fox gave biased updates of Iraq. Predictably, CNN presented a bleaker picture than Fox or, conversely, Fox presented a better view of progress in Iraq. For example, CNN’s headline was “Bomb kills Iraqi assembly member” with a sub-headline of “Police officer killed in blast outside hospital.” Later in the article, after describing a half dozen insurgent attacks, CNN notes that combined U.S. and Iraqi forces launched Operation Sword. Fox’s is a mirror image with the headline of “U.S., Iraqi Forces Launch Operation Sword.” Later in the article, Fox notes the killing of the Iraqi assembly member and other insurgent attacks. Here are some more specific examples of bias:

There are big differences in their descriptions of Operation Sword. CNN says “the operation was launched “to pressure insurgents in the country's expansive and restive Anbar province.” However, look at the words Fox News uses when they say the operation was “an effort to defeat terrorists and foreign fighters in western Iraq” and is attempting to “quash an insurgency that's aiming to derail the democratic progress of the fledgling government.” CNN says “pressure” compared with Fox’s “defeat” and “quash.” Fox uses the terms “terrorists” and “foreign fighters” compared with CNN’s “insurgents.” Fox may be emphasizing the “War on Terror” more than CNN’s focus on Iraq.

As I have noted in other posts, CNN use the term “suicide bomber” compared with Fox’s use of the term “homicide bomber.” The former emphasizes the sacrifice of the bomber and the latter emphasizes the impact of the bomb on others.

President Bush’s address is mentioned by both but look at the differences:

CNN: President Bush is set to address the American people about Iraq on Tuesday night as polls show declining support for the war.

FOX: President Bush on Tuesday will try to ease Americans' doubts about the mission and outline a winning strategy for a conflict that has cost the lives of more than 1,740 U.S. troops.

While noting attacks and other problems, Fox does add some positive information which is not included in CNN’s article. Examples include:

The U.S.-led coalition has carried out other offensive and raids in recent months, detaining hundreds of suspected terrorists. Consequently, the U.S. military said Monday it's expanding its overcrowded prisons across Iraq to hold as many as 16,000 detainees.

There have been positive developments in the year since the June 28, 2004, handover, the most notable being the election of the 275-member National Assembly on Jan. 30, Iraq's first free vote in a half-century. Smaller gains have been made as well. The number of telephone and Internet subscribers has increased nearly threefold, according to the Washington-based Brookings Institution, and the number of trained Iraqi judges has doubled

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/28/iraq.main/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160879,00.html

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