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

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