One type of evidence of bias in Katrina coverage would be how critical either CNN or Fox News is of federal officials compared with local and state leaders. Today’s articles may show a little of that. Fox ran an AP story and CNN their own (with contributions form AP) concerning New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s decision to allow some people to return to the city contrary to the opinion of the federal leader, Admiral Thad Allen. CNN’s headline is “Admiral asks New Orleans residents to delay return” whereas Fox’s headline is points more specifically to a problem: “Coast Guard: Timeline for Residents' Return 'Problematic'.” Here is how CNN opens its article:
CNN: “New Orleans business owners started trickling into the city on Saturday and residents were expected to return next week, but the head of the federal government's response to the storm said he wished they wouldn't.”
Fox, on the other hand opens with a much stronger statement critical of the mayor’s decision.
FOX: “The mayor of New Orleans has set up an "extremely problematic" timeline for allowing residents to return to the evacuated city, which is still threatened by a weakened levee system, a lack of drinkable water and heavily polluted floodwaters, the head of the federal relief effort said Saturday.”
In the last two days, CNN has these two articles critical of FEMA leadership:
A disturbing view from inside FEMA (09.17.2005) As Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast three weeks ago, veteran workers at the Federal Emergency Management Agency braced for an epic disaster.
Clinton: FEMA chief should be experienced (09.16.2005) Former President Bill Clinton on Friday said it should be required that any future head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency have "prior experience in emergency management."
Links to the articles: