Sunday, July 31, 2005

Iraq Was the Reason?

CNN and Fox News vary in their coverage of the 7/21 London bombers and whether or not they were connected with al Qaeda. CNN draws a lot of attention to the fact that one of the bombers says that there were no al Qaeda links. Rather the bombs were “meant to draw attention to anger over the war in Iraq” as CNN notes in a sub-headline. Is CNN trying to make a case for the Iraq War causing some terrorism? Or, is Fox downplaying this fact. CNN has this on its home page which notes that “Iraq was the reason:”

Partial screen shot of CNN home page
Posted by Picasa

By contrast, Fox News, in an article about the arrests, emphasizes Saudi ties. Its article is headlined “Cops Probe London Suspects' Saudi Ties.” Fox mentions the bombers claim that they were angry with the Iraq War. This was done about 2/3 of the way through the article. CNN mentions no links to Saudi Arabia.

Links to the articles:,2933,164289,00.html

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bush and Democratic Weekly Radio Addresses

Biases can be seen in coverage of the weekly radio addresses. As usual, Fox posted the transcript of President Bush’s weekly radio address and CNN ran an article about the address but no transcript or link to the transcript. According to the Fox transcript Bush made the following points:

* Key priorities that were acted on by Congress to include bills on class-action reform, bankruptcy reform, funds for the military, patient safety, highways, CAFTA, the Patriot Act, and the energy plan.

* The good news on the economy with unemployment down, jobs up, and the deficit lower than expected.

* Future plans to update us on Iraq and “strengthening the economic security of America's seniors and working families;” improving homeland security and increasing freedom in the world; and the nomination of Judge John Roberts.

CNN briefly notes only CAFTA, the Patriot Act, the energy bill, the economy, and Roberts. CNN also puts in the following opposing views:

* “In the backdrop of the administration’s strides, dissatisfaction is emerging among the public. A Gallup poll released Friday that put the Bush's approval rating at the lowest of his presidency -- 44 percent, with 51 percent disapproving of the job he is doing as president.”

* “Many economists have complained that the deficit will add to the nation's unprecedented debt.”

* “Opponents of the bill, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., contend that CAFTA "was a setback for workers in Central America and it is a job killer in the U.S."”

Often Fox has been slow in posting the Democratic weekly radio response but they were prompt today and included the transcript of Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D-HI) address. CNN, as with Bush’s address, did not run a transcript but rather an article about the address. CNN had no views opposing Inouye when they had three opposing statements in Bush’s article.

Links to the articles:,2933,164194,00.html,2933,164198,00.html

Thursday, July 28, 2005


With coverage of bills being passed there are dramatic differences in the articles with anti-Bush bias shown by CNN and pro-Bush bias by Fox News. Yesterday’s post on the energy bill is a good example and today the issue is the narrow passage of CAFTA where biases can easily be seen. Here are four key differences between the articles:

1. Avoidance of embarrassment or personal triumph? In its opening sentence, CNN points out that the narrow passage of the bill “helped President Bush avoid a potentially embarrassing political defeat on an issue he championed for months.” Fox, on the other hand opens by calling the passage “a personal triumph for President Bush, who campaigned aggressively for the accord he said would foster prosperity and democracy in the hemisphere.” Later, Fox does note the potential embarrassment for not Bush but the Bush administration, making it a little less personal against Bush.

2. House rules. CNN makes this statement that is not found in Fox’s report, implying that rules were manipulated to get the bill passed: “House leaders held the vote open for an hour -- well past the normal 15-minute voting time -- as they rounded up enough votes to win.”

3. Benefits of CAFTA: Both articles note the President’s argument that national security is improved with CAFTA. However, CNN mentions no other potential benefits while Fox mentions several including:

“CAFTA would over time eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers that impede U.S. sales to the region, correcting the current situation in which 80 percent of Central American goods enter the United States duty-free but Americans must pay heavy tariffs.

“The agreement would also strengthen intellectual property protections and make it easier for Americans to invest in the region.”

“Some textile groups now support the pact because it could help Central American clothing manufacturers, which buy large quantities of U.S. fabric and material, compete against Chinese goods, which have almost no U.S. content.”

"We cannot claim to be fighting for American jobs and yet turn our backs on 44 million new customers in Central America.” [quote from Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX]

The House on Wednesday also passed legislation strengthening the monitoring of China's trade policies, a bill that GOP leaders brought to the floor to satisfy several lawmakers who were undecided on CAFTA because they said the United States wasn't tough enough in enforcing trade laws.

4. Opposition to CAFTA: The mention of opposition to the bill is as lopsided as the potential benefits coverage with CNN having much more than Fox. For Fox, 15% (by word count) of its article is about points in opposition to the CAFTA. CNN devotes 35% of its article to the opposition including this:

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, insisted that Democrats were opposing the pact not because they oppose free trade but because they were against a flawed agreement.

"It is a step backward for workers in Central America and a job killer for here at home," she said.

"I wish that the CAFTA bill ... was an agreement that opened markets, included basic labor standards and protected our environment. This type of an agreement would have lifted the economies of both the United States and Central America. It would have attracted support from a large number of Democratic members."

Links to the articles:,2933,163891,00.html

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dramatic Differences in Coverage of the Energy Bill!

There are huge differences in the reporting of a House-Senate compromise on the Energy Bill. CNN is much more pro-environment and Fox much more pro-Bush and pro-industry. Here are eight differences from their current articles that illustrate their respective biases:

1. Headlines: CNN’s headlines bemoan the lack of support for conservation and stating that billions are going to companies. Fox, on the other hand talks about the industries that “win” with the bill.

CNN: “Energy deal cuts conservation support” with a sub-headline in smaller font of “Compromise on measure has billions in tax breaks for companies”

FOX: “Coal, Nuke Power and Corn Win in Energy Bill”

2. Opening sentences: Similar to the headlines, the opening sentences are telling of their biases. CNN talks of “scaling back” conservation support while Fox talks about the industries benefiting. Fox also has a second sentence that sounds like energy and conservation programs get a lot of money.

CNN: “Lawmakers scaled back support for energy conservation and efficiency programs…”

FOX: “A wide-ranging energy bill expected to move through Congress this week includes more than $8.5 billion in tax incentives and billions of dollars more in loan guarantees and other subsidies for the electricity, coal, nuclear, natural gas and oil industries.

Efficiency and conservation programs would get about $1.3 billion of the more than $14.1 billion in total tax breaks over 10 years”

3. Efficiency/conservation: Fox reports the amount given to efficiency and conservation programs but CNN notes that the amount is a lot less than the Seante had previously approved.

CNN: “Efficiency and conservation programs would get $1.3 billion, about a third of what the Senate had approved for such programs when it passed its energy legislation in June.”

FOX: “Efficiency and conservation programs would get about $1.3 billion of the more than $14.1 billion in total tax breaks over 10 years …”

4. Global warming?: Both articles quote Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) who said, among other things that “the measure will help diversify the nation's energy portfolio by spurring development of new technologies from the next generation of nuclear reactors to ways to burn coal with less smog-causing and climate-changing pollution.” On that last phrase, Fox drops of the connection to pollution causing global warming:

CNN: “… ways to burn coal with less smog-causing and climate-changing pollution.”

FOX: “…ways to burn coal with less pollution.”

5. Cost: I find it interesting that, making the same point, CNN uses the quote below to emphasize the money that the oil companies are taking in at $60 per barrel while Fox emphasizes the cost to the consumers at $2.29 per gallon.

CNN: “Some House Democrats, meanwhile, criticized giving billions of dollars or subsidies to mature industries including oil companies already flush with money in this era of $60 per barrel of oil.”

FOX: Democrats in Congress, as well as outside watchdog groups, for funneling billions of dollars to mature energy companies that are cash rich because of soaring oil prices and gasoline that is averaging $2.29 a gallon nationwide.

6. Taxpayers for Common Sense: Look at the highlighted portion of CNN’s quote below that was left off of Fox’s report. I believe that too be a stronger condemnation of the bill than the highlighted portion of Fox’s quote that is not in CNN’s article.

CNN: “The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense estimated the total cost of the bill, including authorized programs that may never get funding from Congress, at $80 billion. “The bill is filled to the brim with massive giveaways for mega-rich energy companies,” said Jill Lancelot, the group’s president. “By stuffing the measure with so much pork, the[y] have attempted to buy off enough votes to guarantee passing a so-called energy bill.””

FOX: “Lawmakers let go any financial inhibitions and started spending like a bunch of drunken sailors,” said Jill Lancelot, president of the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense. “This energy bill is filled to the brim with massive giveaways for mega-rich energy companies.”

7. Competitive Enterprise Institute: CNN uses a much stronger opposition statement from this group than Fox:

CNN: “Myron Ebel of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute also criticized the bill over its government subsidies. “A lot of these tax subsidies and loan guarantees look an awful lot like the failed energy policies of the 1970s,” said Ebel in an interview.”

FOX: “A boon to farmers, it also would cost the taxpayer because ethanol gets a substantial tax break compared to gasoline, said Myron Ebel, an energy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”

8. Overall: CNN had more of its article in opposition to the bill at 56% (by word count) to 24% for Fox. Fox had more information about the specifics of the bill and the ways in which the industries were helped and how some of that help has some benefits to the environment.

Links to the articles:,2933,163786,00.html

Oil-for-Food Scandal: Continuing Saga on Fox

I’ve documented in previous posts that Fox News is much tougher on the U.N. than CNN. A search of both web sites found six articles on Fox and none for CNN. Here are Fox’s articles:

IRS Docs Detail Ties Between Syria, Iraq - Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - WASHINGTONSyria had $3 billion in illegal oil-import and arms-export deals with Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime, according to...

Was Former U.N. Official Wrongly Accused in Oil-for-Food Probe? - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — The secretive Volcker inquiry into the more than $110 billion United Nations Oil-for-Food (search) scandal plans to...

Manhattan DA Wants Oil-for-Food Probe Docs - Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — Manhattan's district attorney has asked the Iraq Oil-for-Food (search) probe to turn over documents as part of his...

Oil-for-Food Paper Shredder Still Shredding - Friday, July 15, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — The man who abruptly retired as Kofi Annan's cabinet chief after shredding papers related to the Oil-for-Food...

Sevan Faces Criminal Probe Over Oil-for-Food - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — The man who once headed up the U.N. Oil-for-Food program is now the target of a criminal investigation by Manhattan...

U.N. to Give Notes to Oil-for-Food Probe - Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations will give Oil-for-Food (search) investigators informal notes from Security Council meetings about…

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Problems/Successes of U.S. Work with Iraqi Police Forces

The Defense and State Departments released a joint report on the state of the Iraqi police forces. CNN emphasizes the weaknesses in the U.S. efforts while Fox News is more positive. In the first sentence, CNN says that, “Insurgents and other criminals have infiltrated Iraqi police ranks due to poor screening procedures by U.S. forces, …” Fox makes a similar statement but it is much more neutral and does not point the finger directly at the U.S. forces: “Iraq's police force has suffered from inadequate recruiting and screening of candidates, apparently even allowing some terrorists to join, …”

The next five sentences in CNN’s article relate to the problem with “recruitment and vetting procedures.” By dramatic contrast, Fox’s article’s second sentence declares the overall effort a success: “Even so, the study by the inspectors general at the Defense and State departments said the effort to build up Iraq's police agencies has been a qualified success.” CNN gets around to using the “qualified success” quote near the end of the article. Fox repeats the “qualified success” statement a second time near the end of its article.

Fox’s third sentence is : “The military, in a written response, said it is addressing most of the concerns raised by the study. The investigation concluded in April, and Pentagon officials said many of the proposed changes are already being implemented.” CNN makes the same point, but again it is near the end of their article.

I believe that a reader of just CNN and a reader of just Fox will have very different impressions for how things are going in building up the Iraqi police forces.

Links to the articles:,2933,163631,00.html

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Police use of Deadly Force in London

Fox News is a little more police-friendly than CNN with their articles on the shooting of a suspect, Jean Charles de Menezes, in London.

The link on CNN’s home page is “London police chief regrets fatal shooting.” Fox’s home page featured story link to the article is “Deadly force defended.”

CNN’s headline is “Police chief 'regrets' London shooting.” There is a smaller font sub-headline that says, “Ian Blair defends policy of killing suspected suicide bombers.” Fox on the other hand has a headline that does not mention “regret.” It says, “Cops Address Fatal Shooting, Defend Deadly Force.”

The opening sentences are similar with “regret” used in both. CNN continues on with more information about the shooting including statements from the police and then information from the cousin and family of Menezes. Fox, after the first sentence, talks about the similarity between the recent bombings and the bombings of 7/7. Fox also notes that, “Later Sunday, relatives and friends of people killed in those explosions planned to visit the sites of the attacks after a police briefing on the state of the investigation.” This reminder of the victims’ families may put more emphasis behind the police deadly force policy. Later in the article, Fox gets back to the Menezes shooting.

The police commissioner is quoted in both articles but Fox provides more. CNN has the following:

"To the family, I can only offer our deepest regrets," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said Sunday.

"I think we are quite comfortable that the policy is right, but of course these are fantastically difficult times," Blair told Sky Television.

"It's still happening out there, there are still officers having to make those calls as we speak, he said, adding: "Somebody else could be shot."

Notice CNN’s “somebody else could be shot” which could be rather alarming for some. Fox does not use that quote and Fox has much more information from the police commissioner that supports the police’s policy:

"This is a tragedy," Commissioner Blair said of the shooting. "The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets."

He defended the officers' shooting to kill, saying such action only applied when lives were believed to be at risk.

"I am very aware that minority communities are talking about a shoot to kill policy; it's only a shoot to kill in order to protect policy," he said.

British police had drawn from the experience of other countries that have had to deal with suicide attackers, he said.

"It is drawn from experience from other countries, including Sri Lanka. The only way to deal with this is to shoot to the head," Blair said. "There is no point in shooting at someone's chest because that is where the bomb is likely to be," Blair said.

Blair spoke of the problem his officers faced.

"What we have got to recognize is that people are taking incredibly difficult fast-time decisions in life threatening situations," he said. "... What's most important to recognize is that it's still happening out there. There are still officers out there having to make those calls as we speak."

Police said Menezes attracted police attention because he left a building that was under surveillance after Thursday's attacks. They said he was then followed by surveillance officers to the station, and that his clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions.

Fox does note that two civil rights groups in the UK will be investigating the shooting.

Links to the articles:,2933,163466,00.html

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What About Niger?

CNN has had these three articles in three days on the situation in Niger:

How the rich ignored Niger crisis (07.21.2005)
The costs of saving millions of people starving in Niger are rocketing because rich nations ignored calls for early intervention to avert the ravages of last year's drought, relief workers said on Wednesday.
Report: 3.6m face Niger starvation (07.21.2005)
About 3.6 million people face starvation in the West African nation of Niger unless the international community responds urgently to the food crisis there, the aid agency Oxfam said Thursday.
U.N.: 'Acute' crisis in Niger (07.19.2005)
The west African nation of Niger is suffering "an acute humanitarian crisis" in which children are dying because the world community ignored U.N. appeals for urgent aid, the U.N. humanitarian chief said Tuesday.

Fox, so far, has none.

Report on Progress in Iraq

Both ran AP articles on the Pentagon’s report to Congress on progress in Iraq. CNN’s is an article about the report that does not mention Secretary Rumsfeld while Fox’s story is of Rumsfeld’s preview of the report. As is often the case, the opening statements give away their respective biases. These statements are similar in content but very different in tone due to CNN’s use of the term “but” and Fox’s use of the term “even while.” CNN says there is success but the insurgents remain capable. Fox says there is success even while the insurgents continue their attacks. Here are the sentences:

CNN: The Pentagon told Congress Thursday that Iraqi insurgents are failing to derail the move toward democracy but remain "capable, adaptable and intent" on carrying out lethal attacks aided by a continuing inflow of foreign terrorists.

FOX: There has been encouraging progress toward stabilizing Iraq, even while insurgents and foreign fighters "remain effective, adaptable and intent on carrying out attacks," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

In response to Democratic criticism that the report does not publicly release more details about the readiness of Iraqi forces, CNN says the following:

CNN: the Pentagon said it "should not and must not" publicly disclose specific data. "The enemy's knowledge of such details would put both Iraqi and coalition forces at increased risk," the report said.

CNN notes Democratic Senator Carl Levin’s criticism and then gives a response from General Peter Pace and notes that “It was not clear how that squared with an assertion in Thursday's report …” Fox, on the other hand gives a much stronger case and an explanation from the Pentagon’s viewpoint from both Rumsfeld and Pace:

FOX: "The information we're getting is in large measure from the Iraqi security forces," he said. "It's their information. It's not for us to tell the other side, the enemy, the terrorists, that this Iraqi unit has this capability and that Iraqi unit has this capability." He said it would be "mindless" to publish information about the combat readiness of Iraqi security forces that would reveal their strengths and weaknesses.

Speaking at the same news conference, Gen. Peter Pace, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon's unwillingness to release that information publicly does not mean Congress is kept in the dark. "We do tell the Congress privately, classified, exactly what these facts are. So there is a dialogue, just not one in the public," Pace said.

Also, Fox had another article devoted to this issue.

CNN’s article has a picture of Rumsfeld and Pace at the briefing noted by Fox. However, CNN does not quote or mention Rumsfeld. CNN quotes only a memo written by Levin prior to the report being presented; no quotes from Levin at the briefing are used.

Links to the articles:,2933,163155,00.html,2933,163232,00.html

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Roberts for the Supreme Court

Shortly after the President announced his choice for the U.S. Supreme Court, both CCN and Fox had published articles. I am sure these will be modified and added to as more information becomes available. The differences in these initial articles are expectedly biased both ways. CNN emphasized a potential looming battle over the nominee. CNN’s third sentence is “The move sets the stage for a possible battle with advocacy groups who have criticized Roberts in the past.” Later CNN says “Moments after news of his nomination emerged, reaction indicated that a fight was expected.” Fox talked little of a potential fight and used this quote from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham:

Democrats expect a conservative to be named, Graham explained, and Bush campaigned on that promise in 2004.

Graham noted that simply being conservative was "no longer an extraordinary circumstance" as defined by the "Gang of 14" agreement.

"President Bush campaigned he would pick a solid conservative, I expect for him to live up to his promise. Our goal is to make sure a solid conservative sits on the Supreme Court that is not beholden to any special interest group," Graham said.

CNN gives favorable and opposing views. For those opposing, CNN notes “two prominent liberal advocacy groups -- NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Alliance for Justice.” Fox is more positive on Roberts being successful and gives no opposing views at this point. Fox has another article entitled "GOP, Some Dems Praise Pick" with this as the opening:

Senators considered Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts so non-controversial that they approved him for a seat on a federal appeals court without a single recorded objection.

Whether Roberts will get that kind of support for the nation's highest court is unknown, but it bodes well for his bid to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

In this second article Fox notes that previously when Roberts was appointed, three Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee had voted against him: Schumer (NY), Kennedy (MA), and Durbin (IL).

Links to the articles:,2933,163025,00.html,2933,163033,00.html

Monday, July 18, 2005

Did UK's Alliance with US Make Them a Terrorist Target?

Both CNN and Fox News ran AP articles with similar headlines concerning a report published by two think tanks that stated that the UK’s alliance with the US in Iraq and Afghanistan put it at risk of terrorist attack.

The opening sentences were almost identical but as can be seen from the highlighted portion below, Fox has a statement that presents the government’s view.

CNN: Britain's close alliance with the United States and involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left it at particular risk of terrorist attack, according to a report published Monday by two leading think tanks.

FOX: Britain's close alliance with the United States has put it at particular risk of terrorist attack, two leading think tanks said Monday, but a government minister said the nation would not have been safer by staying out of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

CNN does later present the government’s view. Overall, CNN devotes 286 words to the report and 222 words to the UK’s government’s view. Fox’s article contains a lot of information about UK reaction to the attacks and has only 65 words devoted to the report and 145 words for the government’s viewpoint.

Links to the articles:,2933,162792,00.html

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Iraq Homicide/Suicide Attacks

In articles on the recent wave of bombings in Iraq there was again a marked difference in how the bombers were described. Fox uses these phrases: “homicide attack,” “homicide strikes,” and “homicide car bombers.” In all, Fox uses “homicide” eight times. As I have noted several times before, Fox emphasizes the effect of the attacks rather than using the term “suicide” which emphasizes the sacrifice of the bombers. Fox uses “suicide attacker” once while quoting someone. CNN uses “suicide” five times and never uses “homicide.”

On a more subtle note, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sent a message of condolence. CNN and Fox had the same statement from which to choose a quote. CNN chose this quote in which Talabani makes a strong appeal to other leaders:

"While we strongly condemn this crime, we call on all local, regional and world parties to denounce the blatant acts of terrorism, leave double standards, stop campaigns of ideological backing to terrorism and contribute to fighting it and disclosing terrorism's treacherous aims," the statement said

Fox chose this quote which infers some success by the “occupation” and notes the targets of the terrorists, emphasizing their desperation and evilness:

"After running out of their pretexts of resisting the occupation, the terrorists have been targeting religious places, children, oil and water facilities and Iraqi soldiers," read Talabani's message.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Is Karl Rove a Leaker?

There were big differences in articles posted on each site about Karl Rove reportedly learning about the identity of a CIA officer from the news media. Before this, many articles at both sites were saying that Rove had leaked the information. CNN ran an AP article and Fox News ran their own with credit given to the AP for contributions. CNN’s AP article opens with a straight statement of the fact. Fox’s article rubs the opposition’s nose in it a bit by saying that: “Although Joseph Wilson and many Democrats have spent the last week saying Karl Rove leaked the identity of a CIA operative to journalists, it may have been the other way around, according to sources familiar with grand jury testimony.”

Fox’s article is much longer and includes statements both for and against Rove. It certainly has a lot more from a Republican perspective and a lot more about whether or not Wilson’s wife was indeed a covert agent. CNN gives brief comments from Rove’s lawyer, Senator Bill Frist, and Scot McClellan (White House spokesman). Remembering that Fox added negative comments as well, Fox also had the following in support of Rove and Republicans:

Republicans argued Friday that the latest information exonerates their man.

"Karl Rove wasn't the leaker, he was actually the recipient of the information," Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told FOX News on Friday morning.

The article ends with: “Mehlman told FOX News on Friday that what happened on the Senate floor the day before was nothing more than a "partisan charade" full of "smears" on Rove.

Democrats needs to let the independent counsel to his job, Mehlman added. "We need politics to be about solutions, not insults … the angry left should not drive the Democratic Party."

"What the real problem here is, this is a political game to get Karl Rove — a political strategist who has beaten the Democrats time and time again," added Republican strategist Brad Blakeman.

Ron Kaufman, a former White House political director and current GOP strategist, told FOX News on Friday that Democrats are still bitter and sore about losing the past few elections and, during the slow summer months in Washington, the Rove issue is one they're trying to nail the administration with.

"There is no problem here except for a group of Democrats that can't talk about Social Security, can't talk about terrorism … so they're talking about Karl Rove," Kaufman said. "It's time for the Democrats to realize they lost, we won, let's get on with the things Americans care about."”

Links to the articles:,2933,162583,00.html

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

CNN vs. FOX: Who is Winning?

When some people learn of my blog they ask, “So, is CNN better or is Fox better?” My reply is that that really is not the point of my blog. The point is that all news sources are biased and readers should be getting their news from more than one source. By comparing and, as just two examples, it is easy to see that there are major differences sometimes and subtle differences at other times. Over the long haul, on some issues, a reader of just one source of news will develop a more biased perspective than a reader who checks multiple sources. Some have argued that there are no substantial differences between CNN and Fox as they are both mainstream news sources. While that is true sometimes, I think I have pointed out plenty of examples to show that there are biases both ways.

So, which one is best? I still do not want to answer that in the way that some would like me to. I truly believe that neither is best. Their web sites do have their strengths and weaknesses and here are a few, in my humble opinion:

CNN publishes more stories and also has more of an international perspective. On the other hand, Fox’s stories tend to be longer have more information than CNN [note: When I compare two articles I cut and paste them into a two-column table so I can see the articles side by side. Most of the time Fox’s are longer and will have a little more detail].

Fox’s home page is more attractive and highlights, with pictures/headlines, up to three main stories. CNN’s home page however, offers many more categories of stories than Fox.

CNN’s pages load much faster than Fox’s.

CNN’s search function is better. It allows searching by capitalized words so that just the capitalized words are found. CNN shows a full page of results whereas Fox shows only the most recent three or four articles and then you have to click again to get the full page of results. Sometimes Fox’s search function does not include the recent articles from that day.

With each article, Fox publishes a list of links to recent articles on the same topic.

Both have particular slants that I have demonstrated before. I believe CNN to be more liberal and Fox more conservative. Some liberals do not think that CNN is liberal enough and I am sure that some conservatives believe that Fox is not conservative enough. But, they do still have their slants.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

President Bush Meets with Democratic Senators on Candidates for the Supreme Court

President Bush met with senators today to get advice on choosing a Supreme Court nominee. Fox News’ article is much more positive about the discussions, especially early on in the article:

1st sentence: Democratic lawmakers … appear to be very pleased with the level of consultation the president is extending to them.

2nd sentence: The seven Democrats … emerged with a positive outlook.

3rd sentence: Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said they are hearing "positive noises" as a result of their meeting with Bush.

CNN’s AP article was less positive and a little cautious with this comment not found in Fox’s article:

Frist praised Bush for reaching out to Democrats, saying that what the administration is doing "is pretty unprecedented if you look back in history. He is reaching out aggressively. …."

Democrats said that was fine -- as far as it went.

"This certainly is a good first or second step," Reid said at a news conference outside the White House. "This process needs to move forward. And I was impressed with the fact the president said it would; there will be more meetings, consultations."

Here is an interesting quote in Fox’s article from the Republican’s point of view (not in CNN’s):

Added Frist in a statement: "Despite this unprecedented effort by the president, I am concerned that no amount of consultation will be sufficient for some of my colleagues. That's because co-nomination, rather than consultation, may be their ultimate goal. Some senators may prefer to choose the nominee for the president. But that is not how the Constitution works. The president has the power to nominate, and the Senate offers advice and consent."

Here is a characterization of the conservative view found in CNN’s article (not in Fox’s):

The meeting came at a time when the president is under pressure from conservatives who want a court that will reverse precedent on abortion rights, affirmative action, homosexual rights and other issues.

Links to the articles:,2933,162229,00.html

Monday, July 11, 2005

Different Photos of Hillary Clinton

CNN and Fox News ran the same AP article about angry GOP reaction to comments made about President Bush by Senator Clinton. Presumably they both had access to the same AP pictures. CNN’s choice of picture shows an energetic, animated senator that most would probably consider to be a very good picture of Hillary. Let’s just say that Fox’s picture is not as complimentary -- it shows a frowning Hillary, with bags under her eyes, the start maybe of a double chin, while having a bad hair day. CNN's picture is almost youthful by comparison. Here are the pictures:

AP pictures of Sen. Hillary Clinton. CNN on the left, Fox News on the right.
Posted by Picasa

Links to the articles:,2933,162144,00.html

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Attacks in Iraq

Both had articles of the latest insurgent attacks in Iraq. As I have noted before, CNN uses the term “suicide bomber” while Fox uses “homicide bomber”. The former puts emphasis on the sacrifice of the bomber and the latter emphasizes the effect of the bomber’s actions. A lot of the facts in the articles were the same although Fox had more information on other recent attacks. Fox also included some positive news not found in CNN’s article. Fox has this statement:

The Iraqi Islamic Party — the country's largest Sunni political party — denounced Sunday's attack, saying "dozens of innocent Iraqis pay the price for these acts that we strongly condemn."

It can be easy to assume that all Sunnis are behind the insurgents. But the above statement shows that some are against the violence. Another example is that Fox tells of the U.S. destroying two unexploded bombs that were found.

On the attack in Kirkuk, CNN makes this statement:

The suicide bomber was waiting in a side street off a main road that is usually used by Iraqi government officials and employees, Amin said. The attack apparently was targeting government officials. The blast destroyed three civilian cars.

Fox, however, has a different take on this that shows the attacker’s actions were even more heinous:

The bomber used a Mercedes Benz and the target appeared to be civilians because no military or police convoys were nearby, authorities said. Most of the casualties were people headed to Kirkuk General Hospital, police said. Three of the wounded were hospital employees.

Links to the articles:,2933,162039,00.html

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"War" vs. "war"

“War on Terror” vs. “war on terror.” How much difference does capitalization make? Subtle? Yes. Mean anything? Maybe. In one of Fox’s articles on the London bombing President Bush is quoted using the capitalized phrase. CNN later published a transcript and used lower case (consistent with White House usage apparently). A search on CNN showed no use of the capitalized phrase in 2005 except for twice when used in the title of a book. Fox’s search capability does not include searching for just upper case letters so it is difficult to tell how often they use the capitalized version. But, at least in this case it did. I think stating the “war on terror” as a proper noun gives it more credibility as a definite and specific war. When the phrase is used as a common noun it connotes more of a general, indefinite effort. Is Fox then, in this case, making a stronger statement in support of the war effort or a stronger connection between the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism?

Links to the articles:,2933,161766,00.html

Terrorist Strike in London

Of course, CNN and Fox are covering the terrible terror attack in London. This is such an appalling attack. I will see how coverage proceeds but in the initial articles, Bush is highlighted more in Fox. CNN’s only mention of Bush is “President Bush was among the somber leaders who stood behind Blair as he spoke.” Fox’s article, which is an AP article published one hour later than CNN’s, also adds quotes from Bush linking this attack to the “War on Terror,” a captialized phrase I have noticed that is not used very much by CNN:

"He'll carry a message of solidarity with him" as he leaves the G-8 summit for London, Bush added. "I was most impressed by the resolve of all the [G-8] leaders in the room and that their resolve is as strong as my resolve. ... We will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them; we will bring them to justice."

Bush said there's a clear contrast between the work being done at the G-8 summit to eradicate AIDS and clean up the environment and the attacks and the goals of the terrorists responsible, "those who've got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks."

"The War on Terror goes on," he added.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Terrorism Statistics

Both CNN and Fox News had articles about a new estimate of the number of terrorist attacks in 2004. The National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) broadened its definition of terrorism so the new estimate is five times higher than previous. Both articles have the same basic facts but there are a few differences which may indicate an anti-administration bias by CNN or a pro-administration bias by Fox. CNN adds some mention of past criticism of the State Department. Fox adds information that seemingly supports the administration’s reasons for action in Iraq. Here are some specific examples:

In CNN’s article but not in Fox’s article:

The preliminary NCTC statistics on global terrorism were released simultaneously with the State Department's annual terrorism report. The State Department drew criticism from Democrats when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decided not to have her department release the statistics -- which had previously been part of the report -- and to allow intelligence officials to decide about their release. … The State Department had to revise its report covering 2003 because it had underreported the number of attacks.

In Fox’s article but not in CNN’s article:

Nineteen percent of the attacks were committed by Islamic extremists.

Brennan said that the apparent surge should not suggest to people that the United States is losing the War on Terror. Instead, he said more analysts are counting the attacks and the criteria for what constitutes an attack has broadened. The different methodology for counting events makes comparison of prior records-keeping impossible, he said.

But the increase, no matter how it's defined or explained, may provide fodder for critics who argue that Iraq, which under the new data experienced 866 attacks in 2004, has become a breeding ground for Islamic extremists, who take the training and skills honed there to launch attacks outside the country.

Links to the articles:,2933,161645,00.html

Monday, July 04, 2005

Different Coverage of the U.N.

I have documented before how CNN typically has more positive coverage of the United Nations compared with Fox News. If you had two readers, one who read only and the other read only, they would have very different perspectives on the U.N. and its value. I decided to take a look at the last two weeks of coverage, June 20th through July 3rd. I searched using “United Nations” and then pulled out all of the articles that were primarily about the U.N.; i.e., “U.N.” was in the headline. I did not include articles on John Bolton. The articles are listed in the table below. I divide them into two groups, one on scandals and other issues with the U.N. and the second on peace-keeping and other related activities. For scandals/problems, CNN had two articles whereas Fox News had ten. It was almost exactly reversed for the peace-keeping and humanitarian work with CNN having seven articles and Fox only two.




Scandals and problems.

Although CNN’s 6/29 article is about oil-for food, it highlights Annan’s cooperation.

Although Fox’s 6/27 article is about the U.N.’s anniversary, notice the “but” which leads into issues at the U.N.

CNN did not cover the Yakovlev resignation.

Annan to show oil-for-food notes (06.29.2005)
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan intends to turn over notes of closed-door Security Council meetings related to sanctions on Iraq in the years before the 2003 invasion to the oil-for-food inquiry run by Paul Volcker, Annan told council members Wednesday.

House threatens to withhold U.N. dues (06.20.2005)
The House of Representatives has approved a measure that would withhold dues from the United Nations unless the world body adopts dozens of reforms.

Kofi Annan's Delusions of Grandeur - Sunday, July 03, 2005 - There has rarely been a more outrageous piece of political grandstanding....

Annan: Oil-for-Food Probe Wants More Money - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the committee probing claims...

World Leaders Mark U.N.'s 60th Anniversary - Monday, June 27, 2005 - SAN FRANCISCO — Dozens of international leaders celebrated the 60th anniversary of the United Nations (search)' birth, but warned that...

Yakovlev Key Figure in U.N. Renovation Contract - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — Alexander Yakovlev (search), the U.N. employee who resigned Tuesday following a FOX News investigation into his...

U.N. Procurement Official Resigns Job - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. procurement official who has been at the center of a FOX News investigation into a possible conflict of...

Docs: U.N. Security Council Divisions Thwarted Crackdown on Saddam - Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council had detailed knowledge of how Saddam Hussein (search) was violating U.N. sanctions, but was... U.N. to Investigate Yakovlev Case - Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations' Monday announcement that it will look into whether a longtime official violated...

House Cleaning at the U.N. - Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - Congress voted last week to hold back 50 percent of funding for the U.N. if it doesn’t clean up its act. But even a little bit of...

'The U.N. Is a Broken Institution' - Monday, June 20, 2005 - This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," June 17, 2005, that has been edited for clarity....

U.N. Family Ties: Is There a Replay of the Kofi and Kojo Annan Scandal? - Monday, June 20, 2005 - UNITED NATIONS — Oil-for-Food is the biggest scandal ever to hit the United Nations (search), but it is just one of many scandals...

Peace-keeping and other efforts.

Fox only covers Gitmo. Fox has no articles on the U.N.’s efforts in other countries.

U.N.: Two shot dead in Congo protests (06.30.2005)
Security forces shot dead at least two demonstrators in Congo's capital on Thursday as thousands demonstrated to demand the government's resignation over delayed elections, a U.N. official said.

U.N. appeals for Kenya food aid (06.28.2005)
The United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) appealed Tuesday for $6.7 million to feed nearly a quarter of a million Sudanese and Somali refugees living in camps in Kenya.

U.N. envoy waiting for Mugabe (06.27.2005)
A United Nations envoy was waiting Monday for a meeting with President Robert Mugabe before touring shantytowns and markets destroyed under a so-called urban renewal campaign that has displaced hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.

U.N. sets tsunami housing target (06.26.2005)
As the world marks the six-month anniversary of the devastating December 26 tsunami in Asia, the United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people left homeless in Indonesia will be moved to semi-permanent or permanent houses in two years.

U.N. experts blast U.S. on Guantanamo (06.24.2005)
Four U.N. human rights experts criticized the U.S. government Thursday for failing to answer a January 2004 request to allow them to visit the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, citing allegations of torture against detainees.

U.N. to bolster Haiti force (06.22.2005)
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to add 1,000 soldiers and police to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti ahead of planned elections in October.

U.N.: Niger, Mali at risk of famine (06.22.2005)
Millions of people on the southern fringe of the Sahara desert face severe food shortages unless donors come up with enough cash to help see them through the next three months, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

U.N. Probing U.S. Detention Facilities - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - VIENNA, Austria — U.N. human rights experts have begun an investigation into U.S. detention facilities for terrorist suspects and...

U.N. Asks to Check Conditions at Gitmo - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - GENEVA — U.N. human rights investigators, citing "persistent and credible" reports of torture at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pre-G8 Anti-Poverty Protest

CNN paid more attention to Live 8 and related activities than did Fox. The following CNN story about an anti-poverty protest was not covered at all by Fox:

Huge pre-G8 anti-poverty protest (07.02.2005)
More than 200,000 campaigners formed a human chain around Scotland's medieval capital, demanding that the world's most powerful nations lift Africa out of poverty.

Friday, July 01, 2005

DNC vs. RNC: Supreme Court

From time to time I am doing other comparisons like this one from the Democratic and Republican national committee web sites. Concerning the replacement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the RNC has a short statement by Chairman Ken Mehlman and the DNC’s home page is highlighting a blog posted by Jesse Berney. Both parties are lining up for the fight while already presuming attacks from the radical side of the other. Here is an excerpt from the RNC site:

“…Her presence on the Court will never be replaced, but her seat must be filled and President Bush will work to put forth a nominee worthy of succeeding Sandra Day O'Connor. I urge Senate Democrats to look beyond the inevitable protest from far-left special interest groups and approach any nominee with the unbiased evaluation they deserve.”

Here is an excerpt from the DNC site:

“…Now President Bush faces an important choice. … Will he listen to Democrats as well as Republicans and choose a nominee who will protect our basic values?

Or will he give into the pressure from the radical right wing of his party and nominate an ideological extremist? Will Bush choose someone for a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court who bases his or her on a narrow partisan agenda instead of the Constitution? …

But if Bush chooses not to consult with the Senate and chooses someone outside the mainstream, Democrats will make sure we maintain our system of checks and balances. We will fight to ensure that anyone who receives a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is impartial in upholding our laws and Constitution and committed to the rights of our people. …”