Sunday, October 30, 2005

Iraq War: Update

In updates today on the war in Iraq, CNN and Fox News each covered two main events: (1) the brother of the Iraqi vice president was killed and (2) a successful U.S. attack on insurgents. There would appear to be evidence of biases in their coverage with CNN being more negative towards the war and Fox taking a more positive view of the U.S. effort.

First of all, CNN leads with the killing of the Iraqi VP and later talks about the attack on the insurgents. Its headline in 20-point type is “Brother of Iraq vice president killed.” There is a sub-headline in 11.5-point type of “U.S. military: Troops kill six insurgents.” Fox typically does not have a sub-headline but its headline for the article is “Troops thwart militant attack on U.S. base.”

Note also that CNN’s “troops kill” in its sub-headline is more negative sounding than Fox’s “troops thwart.” The former stresses death while the later stresses a successful operation that saved U.S. deaths. CNN also uses “insurgents” whereas Fox uses the term “militant” which I think presents more of a picture of an armed and dangerous enemy.

Fox provides more details of the U.S. attack than did CNN as noted below:



Coalition troops in a central Iraqi city have killed six suspected insurgents and detained five other people, the U.S. military said Sunday.

According to the military statement, coalition forces in Taji saw the suspected insurgents Saturday night in an area where small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade attacks previously had taken place.

The suspected insurgents fired at military helicopters, causing the pilots to return fire, the statement said.

The U.S. operation against the insurgents was Saturday night near Taji, a U.S. air base 12 miles north of Baghdad. Troops saw the militants moving along a canal toward a commonly used ambush site, the military said in a statement.

The militants fired on Apache attack helicopters that were conducting reconnaissance. The helicopters fired back, and the insurgents retreated. When they tried to regroup, an Air Force F-15E jet dropped a 500-pound bomb on them, the military said. Six insurgents were killed and five were wounded and captured, the statement said.

Links to the articles:,2933,173933,00.html

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Libby Indictment

I guess CNN wants to make sure that readers do not miss the Libby indictment. The CNN web site has several topic areas and their Libby story is noted under four of them, in addition to the home page. Here is how the links are worded:

Home page: CIA leak probe to continue

Law: Cheney's top aide indicted; CIA leak probe continues

Politics: CIA leak probe to continue

U.S.: CIA leak probe to continue

World: CIA leak probe 'not over'

Fox has fewer topic areas but has links to the story on the home page and the “Politics” page. Here is how the links are worded on Fox’s site:

Home page: Libby Resigns After Indictment

Politics: Probe Indictment

Note that CNN emphasizes that the investigation continues while Fox focuses its headlines on Libby and his indictment. Fox also has a link to this article: Cheney Praises Libby.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fed Budget: Too Much Cutting or Too Much Spending?

I found it interesting to notice the contrast in AP stories chosen by CNN and Fox News about the progress of the congressional budget efforts. The articles are quite different in their approach. Here are the headlines and opening sentences of each:


Headline: House Republicans chop several programs

Opening sentences: House Republicans voted to cut student loan subsidies, child support enforcement and aid to firms hurt by unfair trade practices as various committees scrambled to piece together $50 billion in budget cuts. More politically difficult votes -- to cut Medicaid, food stamps and farm subsidies -- are on tap Thursday as more panels weigh in on the bill.


Headline: GOP budget plan cuts and spends

Opening sentences: Like fussy children, lawmakers on Capitol Hill sometimes need a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. This budget season, the medicine is a $39 billion-plus deficit-reduction bill. The sweetener? Lots of new spending to go along with the budget cuts.

CNN emphasizes the Republicans cutting the budget (actually using the more dramatic term of “chopping”) and opens with specific examples. Fox primarily emphasizes the new spending being proposed. CNN’s article gives several examples of cuts and only one example of new spending, the controversial ANWR drilling issue. Fox’s article, on the other hand gives lots of examples of new spending (with concern that it may be too much spending) but little mention of cuts. Look at these interesting comparisons:



It also imposes new fees on students who default on loans or consolidate them and higher fees on parents who borrow on behalf of their college-age children.

College students would get more than $8 billion in new grants,…

The bill also would tighten eligibility standards for foster care assistance in nine states and delay some lump-sum payments to very poor and elderly beneficiaries of Social Security's Supplemental Security Income program.

…and more disabled children would retain Medicaid health coverage.

The measure is the first in eight years to take aim at the automatic growth of federal spending programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.

Republicans are touting the upcoming budget bill as the first effort to cut federal benefit programs in eight years.

The Ways and Means Committee approved on a party-line vote a plan by its chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas, R-California, with so many difficult-to-swallow provisions that lawmakers and aides whispered about whether the intent was to make it hard for GOP leaders to win its passage in the full House.

For many lawmakers, though, the spending add-ons are critical to winning their votes.

By the way, CNN quotes Pres. Bush, three Democratic lawmakers, and no Republican lawmakers (but one Republican aide). Fox quotes two Republican lawmakers (although one expresses concern for his colleagues’ work) and no Democrats (but one former Democratic aide).

Links to the articles:,2933,173577,00.html

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Oil-for-Food Scandal: Galloway vs. Coleman

Both CNN and Fox News ran articles on their respective web sites regarding British parliament member George Galloway and his response to allegations from U.S. congressional investigators that he was involved in the oil-for-food scandal. Galloway has a strong anti-war stance and it appears in these articles he may have been treated better by CNN than Fox; or, conversely, that Fox News was a little tougher on Galloway.

First of all, CNN’s headline shows Galloway operating from a strong vantage saying, “Galloway challenges U.S. Senators.” Fox, on the other hand, comes from the Senate’s perspective with “British lawmaker responds to oil-for-food allegations.” Both are correct statements but CNN has Galloway challenging Senators while Fox has him merely responding to the Senate.

Galloway previously testified in May. Fox says that he “was called to testify in May before the Senate committee looking into the Oil-for-Food scandal.” CNN says that he “appeared voluntarily before the Senate panel.” Again, both statements are correct but Fox’s makes it sound like Galloway was on the hook while CNN makes Galloway sound a little more innocent of the allegations by noting that he voluntarily came, a fact not mentioned in this particular article by Fox.

CNN has 100 words of direct quote from Galloway whereas Fox has only 40. Senate sub-committee chairman, Norm Coleman (R-MN), is mentioned in both articles but is quoted only by Fox.

CNN describes Galloway as “a left-wing politician known for his theatrical rhetoric and fierce debating style.” Fox identifies him in the opening words of its article as “an anti-war British lawmaker.” Does Fox’s opening give the reader a different slant on the rest of the article when compared with CNN?

CNN used a smiling, confident picture of Galloway. Fox used a less complimentary picture.

I contend that, although the points mentioned above may seem subtle and although the basic facts are the same in both articles, a reader of just CNN or just Fox will have a biased perspective of the issue.

Links to the articles:,2933,173355,00.html

Monday, October 24, 2005

U.S. vs. Canada: Rice's visit to Martin

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is about to make her first official trip to Canada. Monday, CNN and Fox News took different approaches to covering the story. CNN chose a Reuters story that has more of a perspective from Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin whereas Fox News ran an AP story which highlights Rice and Bush’s perspective. Both articles talk about the issues between the two countries but Fox’s article seems to have the U.S. on the attack while the opposite is true for CNN. Is Fox being more friendly towards the Bush administration? Is CNN trying to make the administration not appear as strong?

Here are some examples from the article:


CNN headline: “Canadian leader ready to debate U.S. on trade” with a sub-headline of “Prime minister to press softwood issue as Rice makes first visit”

FOX headline: “Rice to Discuss Lumber, Bird Flu on Canada Trip”

Opening sentences:

CNN opening sentences: “Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin kept up his attack on U.S. trade policy on Monday as he prepared to meet Condoleezza Rice later in the day on her first official visit to Canada as U.S. secretary of state.

"Friends live up to their agreements," Martin said in calling on the United States to respect a ruling under the North American Free Trade Agreement on Canadian exports of softwood lumber.”

FOX opening sentences: “A lumber dispute and the threat of bird flu were on the agenda for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip to Canada on Monday.

Rice's overnight trip to the Canadian capital of Ottawa was her first since taking over from Colin Powell in January as the top U.S. diplomat. It had been delayed in part by U.S. resentment over Canada's refusal to join in a North American missile defense shield.

References to Bush:

CNN’s mention of Bush: “He [Martin] said relations with the United States and with President Bush were good.”

Fox’s mention of Bush: “President Bush pressed Martin earlier this month for a negotiated settlement, but Martin rebuffed the overture and warned that Canada would sue in U.S. courts if necessary.” …

Links to the articles:,2933,173305,00.html

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Illegal Immigration

I have noted this before but Fox News pays more attention to the issue of illegal immigration. I searched the term “immigration” at both the CNN and Fox News web sites for the past three weeks, October 1st through today the 22nd. The results were dramatically different with two articles for CNN and ten for Fox News. Here are the results:


Bush makes case for his 'guest worker' plan (10.22.2005)
Caught between business supporters who need foreign workers and conservatives clamoring for a clampdown on illegal immigration, President Bush tried on Saturday to give his temporary guest-worker plan a nudge by promising strong enforcement.

Chertoff, Chao promote guest worker program (10.18.2005)
Beefing up border patrols alone won't stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the country, administration officials said Tuesday in promoting President Bush's proposal to set up a temporary worker program for foreign nationals.

Fox News:

Study: U.S. Needs to Improve Immigration Enforcement - Saturday, October 22, 2005 - WASHINGTON — The government has to do a better job of tracking down visitors to the United States who violate their visas, including...

Concerns Rise Over Illegals Working on U.S. Military Bases - Friday, October 21, 2005 - RALEIGH, N.C. — Scores of illegal immigrants (search) working as cooks, laborers, janitors, even foreign-language instructors have...

Bush Officials Back Temporary Worker Program - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - WASHINGTON — The United States will "get control" of its borders, and passing a temporary worker plan for foreigners is one way to do...

Chertoff: End 'Catch and Release' at Borders - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff (search) promised Tuesday to end the "catch and release" policy that has...

Is Illegal Immigration Grounds for State of Emergency? - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - A state of emergency (search) is usually declared during natural disasters, war and other situations of extreme civil unrest. But two...

Senate Delays Immigration Reform Legislation - Monday, October 17, 2005 - WASHINGTON — Sidetracked by hurricanes and Supreme Court nominees, the Senate will not take up comprehensive immigration legislation...

Groups Advocate Border Fence Along Mexico - Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - LOS ANGELES — A fence already marks the U.S. border with Mexico but in some places, it's no more than a strand of wire or metal rail....

Senate Committee Approves Immigration Nominee Despite Criticism - Friday, October 07, 2005 - WASHINGTON — A Republican-run Senate committee voted Friday to approve President Bush's nominee to head the Homeland Security...

Rule of Law at Stake in Immigration Debate - Thursday, October 06, 2005 - When you reward someone for doing something, you encourage others to engage in similar behavior. That’s why amnesty programs are the...

DHS: Conflicts Hindering Border Security - Thursday, October 06, 2005 - WASHINGTON — Conflicts between the federal agencies responsible for border protection and immigration have undercut investigations and...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Photos of Hillary Clinton

There are several ways in which news sources can show bias. One such way is by the choice of pictures that accompany an article. This past weekend, Hillary Clinton was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame. CNN and Fox News both ran identical AP articles. CNN ran an AP photo of her at the podium speaking which seems far more complimentary than Fox News’ use of an AP file photo of Clinton with a blank stare. This is the second time I have noted this same choice of photo by Fox when CNN has used a much more active-looking Hillary Clinton. Here are the photos side by side:

CNN's AP photo (left); Fox's AP photo (right)
Posted by Picasa

Links to the articles:,2933,171688,00.html

Saturday, October 08, 2005

DeLay vs. Earle

Texas prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, and his staff sought and eventually got an indictment against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Now DeLay is charging Earl and his staff of wrongdoing. CNN ran their own article and Fox News ran an AP article. Fox’s article has more information about Earle’s alleged wrongdoing. In fact, Fox mentions that one of the charges is that Earle unlawfully participated in grand jury deliberations. CNN’s article does not mention that at all. In the table below, I have pulled out all of the negative information concerning Earle and his staff. You can see that Fox has much more. Is Fox trying to support DeLay as much as possible? Is CNN trying to go soft on Earle?



… saying they "attempted to browbeat and coerce" a grand jury "to change its decision so that there would be no public knowledge that a no bill had been found."

… accusing the Texas prosecutor of trying to "cover up" that a grand jury had refused to bring an indictment.

After questions were raised about whether the charge applied to state election code, Earle went to a second grand jury, which declined to bring a money laundering charge against the three.

Earle then went to a third grand jury, and it returned an indictment …

DeGuerin [DeLay’s lead attorney] alleges that once Earle realized DeLay had been charged with a "crime that did not exist in Texas law," the prosecutor and his staff "engaged in an extraordinarily irregular and desperate attempt to contrive a viable charge" before the statute of limitations ended.

The motion accuses Earle of trying to cover up that the second grand jury rejected the prosecutor's "new, contrived charges of money laundering."

DeLay has accused Earle, a Democrat, of launching a partisan vendetta against him after the 2002 elections in which Republicans took control of both houses of the Texas Legislature.

… "attempted to browbeat and coerce" grand jurors into filing criminal charges.

… engaged in an extraordinarily irregular and desperate attempt to contrive a viable charge and get a substitute indictment of Tom Delay before the expiration of the statute of limitations,"

… unlawfully participated in grand jury deliberations when he went to a second grand jury last week to seek a second indictment against the Texas Republican. He also said Earle illegally discussed grand jury information and encouraged others to do the same.

DeGuerin alleged that Earle turned to the coercion tactics to get the second grand jury to change its decision not to indict DeLay so there would be no public record of a rejection.

… went to a second grand jury still in session, but that grand jury declined to indict. On Monday, a third grand jury indicted DeLay

Two people familiar with the proceedings of the grand jury that returned a "no bill" in the DeLay case told The Associated Press that Earle tried to persuade the grand jurors that DeLay tacitly approved the scheme and that the prosecutor became angry when they decided against an indictment. The people familiar with the proceeding insisted on anonymity because of grand jury secrecy.

DeGuerin also alleges that Earle "unlawfully incited" William Gibson, the foreman of the grand jury that indicted DeLay on conspiracy, to talk publicly, on the record, to the media to bias the public and sitting grand jurors.

He alleged Earle discussed ongoing proceedings with some members of that same grand jury to find out whether they would have returned the conspiracy indictment if they knew it "had no basis in law."

It is against the law to discuss what goes on inside a grand jury.

Gibson said Friday that Earle did call him but that he only advised him on what he could and could not discuss publicly. He said Earle never asked him about the conspiracy indictment.

"He didn't tell us what he was going to do. The only thing his department told me was, 'Mr. Gibson, we are going to present this matter to a new grand jury."'

DeGuerin also alleges Earle told the third grand jury that indicted DeLay on money laundering charges what the initial grand jury said "to persuade them to issue a replacement indictment."

"Such 'additional information' is not evidence and thus its use before a grand jury violates" Texas law, DeGuerin said.

Links to the articles:,2933,171621,00.html

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pres. Bush, Iraq, Terrorism

President Bush talked of terrorism and the war in Iraq. CNN and Fox News ran their own stories and there are many indicators of political bias as the two articles are compared. Here are three specific examples:

1. Headlines: CNN’s is more neutral with “Bush: Iraq crucial in war on terror” as compared with Fox News’ headline touting victory with “Bush: Iraq Will Be Cleared of Terrorists 'City by City'.”

2. Opening sentences: Look at the differences below in the opening phrases with CNN noting the decline in public approval with Fox emphasizing Bush’s plan to win. CNN also uses the phrase “Iraq war” while Fox uses a capitalized “War on Terror” emphasizing the larger issue of fighting terrorists and connecting that to Iraq.

CNN: Amid dropping public approval for the Iraq war, …
FOX: Laying out a broad plan to win the War on Terror, …

3. Reaction: CNN gives only one response from a senator, Senate Minority Whip, Dick Durbin (D- IL). Durbin opposed Bush’s comments. Fox also gives an opposing view but it is from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). CNN has no favorable reactions but Fox has a mixed reaction from Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and favorable reactions from Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator John Thune (R-SD)

Links to the articles:,2933,171420,00.html

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cheney and Returning Marines

There is a minor, biased difference in the headlines each chose on an identical AP story about Vice President Cheney welcoming home 4,500 Marines from Ohio. This unit was hit particularly hard with 48 deaths and 150 wounded. Fox News’ headline was “Cheney welcomes 4,500 marines home.” That headline does not note the number of deaths which CNN did choose to emphasize in its headline of “Cheney welcomes home battered, Ohio-based Marine battalion” with a sub-headline of “The battalion lost 48 people in Iraq.”

Links to the articles:,2933,171063,00.html