Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fed Raises Interest Rates

CNN/Money and Fox News had a little different take on the increase of interest rates by the Federal Reserve. CNN/Money starts off with the facts of the increase. Fox is a little more positive in its outlook by starting with “As expected…” which seems, in my opinion, to reduce any potential alarm or at least surprise by stating that we knew this would happen. Fox even says that the decision “is part of a credit-tightening campaign to bring rates back up to more normal levels.”

CNN/Money says, “Thursday's quarter-point increase brings the federal funds rate, an overnight bank lending rate, to 3.25 percent, the highest level since shortly before the September 2001 terrorist attacks, up from 1 percent a year ago.” Fox takes a different take by saying that the rates were abnormally low: “When the Fed started boosting rates one year ago, the funds rate stood at 1 percent, the lowest level in 46 years.”

Links to the articles:

http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/30/news/economy/fed_rates

/index.htm?section=cnn_topstories

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,161234,00.html

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush's Speech: 24 Hours Later

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post which was about CNN’s and Fox’s articles about Bush’s speech. These articles were posted immediately after and significant differences due to biases were noted. Today, 24 hours after the speech, I clicked on the same links to those articles and found that each had been changed and updated. The biases jump out even stronger to me. Here are some examples:

In terms of reaction to the speech, CNN devotes 28.1% of its article to direct opposing reaction from Senators Biden and Kerry, and a political analyst David Gergen. Fox devotes 18.9% to opposing reaction from Representatives Pelosi and Wexler, Bill Dobbs (spokesman United for Peace and Justice), Senator Schumer, and former Democratic presidential candidate General Clark.

Fox’s article is longer and noted many things from Bush’s speech that CNN did not. Here are four examples:

Personal touch: “Earlier in the day, Bush set aside nearly three hours to meet families of soldiers who had died, as he usually does when he visits military bases.”

International support: “The president also gave credit to the international community for its support. Forty countries and three international organizations had pledged $34 billion in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction, Bush said. Meanwhile, 30 nations had troops in Iraq and others were contributing non-military assistance; the United Nations was helping Iraqis write a constitution for the next elections; and donor countries were to meet in Jordan next month to pledge support toward Iraqi reconstruction, following a similar summit in Brussels last week. Bush said hundreds of foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and other nations had been killed or captured. More than 2,000 Iraqi security forces had died in the effort.”

Supporting the Troops: “…Bush encouraged Americans to show their support for the military by flying the flag on the Fourth of July, sending letters to military members and helping military families.”

Recruiting: He also announced a new Department of Defense Web site: AmericaSupportsYou.mil. Bush urged young people who might be interested in a military career to look into enlisting. The Defense Department has said it expects a shortfall in enlistments for the first time in six years. "There is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces," Bush said. "We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves." "Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform," he added.

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/28/bush.speech/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160958,00.html

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bias in Reporting on Bush's Address on Iraq

As expected, the first articles immediately after President Bush’s address show bias on the part of CNN and Fox News. Here are four specific examples:

CNN’s opening sentence starts with “Seeking to turn around sagging public support for the war in Iraq ...” So the first phrase starts with a negative tone noting “sagging” public support. While true, it is interesting that CNN chose to start with that whereas Fox started with “On the first anniversary of Iraq's sovereignty …” which emphasizes a major success of the Iraq effort.

CNN had 300 words of direct quotes from the speech while Fox had 493. Fox’s article was longer but even when you look at percentages, Fox still had more space devoted to direct quotes at 35.7% than CNN at 27.1%.

CNN had 306 words (27.7%) devoted to opposing views by Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry [side note: the comments from Pelosi and Kerry are from earlier in the day, before Bush’s speech]. Fox had 152 words (11.0%) in opposing reaction from Bill Dobbs, spokesman United For Peace and Justice and from New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer.

Both CNN and Fox use their own poll data in their respective articles. Fox used results from a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken earlier this month to say that “Iraq was by far the issue Americans considered the most important for the federal government to address. In the poll, 25 percent cited Iraq and Saddam Hussein as the top issue; the number two issue was the economy with 13 percent listing it as the most important.” Fox adds that “Bush had the approval of 48 percent of Americans while 43 percent disapproved of his job performance.” CNN on the other hand, used a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll to show that just 40 percent of those responding said they approved of Bush's handling of the war; 58 percent said they disapproved -- up 2 percentage points from May.” CNN does note that Bush has a 55% approval for how he is handling terrorism but then adds that “half of Americans do not see the war in Iraq as part of the war on terror that began after September 11, 2001.”

[Note: This comment is being added 4 hours after I made the post above. Please note that the above analysis applies to the immediate articles that both sites published within a short time of the conclusion of the President's address. I just clicked on the links below and, rather than going to the articles I looked at, the links in both cases took me to updates of the articles. Apparently they use the same url even when they update their reports. Tomorrow I'll analyze their latest versions.]

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/28/bush.speech/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160958,00.html

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

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Lawmakers Visit Guantanamo: Different Photos Used

Lawmakers visited Guantanamo prison to check on conditions there. Fox ran an AP article earlier in the day and had this headline: “Pols: Gitmo Conditions Have Improved.”

CNN ran an AP article later in the day with this headline: “U.S. lawmakers tour Guantanamo prison” with a sub-headline of “First visit since criticism intensified.” Fox’s headline is more positive than CNN’s which reminds the reader about “criticism intensified.” The pictures accompanying the articles were from the AP so presumably CNN and Fox had the same choices of pictures. As you can see below, CNN uses a file photo they have used in the past which shows a prisoner sitting on the floor behind bars. Fox’s is much more positive (relatively speaking since we are talking about prisoners) with a detainee walking around on a sunny day with the American flag being very prominent at the top of the picture.


CNN (AP): "U.S. officials have defended the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."


Fox (AP): "June 25, 2005: In this image reviewed by the U.S. military, an unidentified inmate walks near a detainee housing building at Guantanamo Bay."
Posted by Hello

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/25/guantanamo.us.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160688,00.html

Friday, June 24, 2005

Different Coverage of President Bush and Prime Minister al-Jaafari

CNN and Fox News ran articles on a press conference by President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. CNN ran an AP story while Fox ran their own and acknowledged contributions by the AP. A sentence-by-sentence comparison shows that much of the CNN AP article is word for word the same as Fox’s article but Fox added additional information. That additional information paints a different and more positive picture of the war effort. Here is a list of additional information provided by Fox:

1. Both use this quote from al-Jaafari: “This is not the time to fall back.” Fox, however, adds this statement: “For his part, al-Jaafari thanked the United States and the American people for "their courage against terrorism."”

2. CNN’s opening sentence says that Bush and al-Jaafari pledged “eventual victory over the terrorists and their daily attacks.” CNN notes the “daily” attacks and perhaps makes it sound more indefinite by using the phrase “eventual victory.” Fox’s statement is more positive saying that Bush and al-Jaafari “vowed” that they would work together “as long as it takes for Iraq to stand on its own.” While this is still indefinite, it infers a stronger resolve and notes that the goal is for Iraq to stand on its own.

3. Both had this quote of Bush: “I am confident the Iraqi people will continue to defy the skeptics as they continue to build a new Iraq." Fox’s quote is longer and adds these words which makes a stronger statement for progress in Iraq while noting the challenges: “… ‘as they assume greater responsibility for their security and build a new Iraq that represents their diversity ... the way ahead is not going to be easy.’”

4. Here are some (not all) references to Bush added by Fox:

Bush said he told al-Jaafari that the American people share a democratic vision that includes a "deep and abiding respect for Islam, the people of Iraq and the potential of a nation that now belongs to them." And progress will be made even in the face of ongoing attacks, he said.

Seven months after the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred control of the country over to the fledgling Iraqi government, Bush noted, the Iraqi people successfully held elections and in April, formed a new government. More Sunni Arabs were included in the constitutional drafting committee this month.

Bush said there's no doubt insurgents and terrorists in the country with "no regard to human life" are "trying to shake our will" and derail progress there.

5. This information was added by Fox in quoting al-Jaafari:

And despite what violence makes the news headlines, al-Jaafari said, what he sees on the ground in his country is great progress being made. "People said Saddam will not fall and he did. They said elections would not happen and they did. They said a constitution would not be written and it was," al-Jaafari said, adding that the people of Iraq want continued democracy and they will fight to achieve it. We want to secure love instead of hatred in our country," he added.

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/24/us.iraq.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160563,00.html

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Senate Armed Services Committee: War in Iraq

CNN and Fox News reported on a hearing today on Iraq with the Senate Armed Services Committee. Both news sources gave pro and con viewpoints but there are several key differences between the articles which show CNN having more of an anti-war bias and Fox more of a pro-Bush bias. Here are three differences:

1. CNN’s third and fourth sentences mention falling public support for the war in Iraq. Specifically, CNN notes that, “A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday found that nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war in Iraq.” Fox mentions this issue but does so only at the end, in the third through fifth sentences from the end.

2. CNN ends its article on a sour note: “"People are beginning to question. And I don't think it's a blip on the radar screen. We have a chronic problem on our hands," Graham [R-SC] said.” Fox also noted Senator Graham’s concerns but the article ends on an upbeat note from an interview with Rick Davis, a former campaign manager for Sen. John McCain, R-AZ: “"I think [terrorists] are encouraged by public opinion that says [Americans] don't see the war as popular, but I also think they see what's going on on the ground, which is no let up in this protracted war. We're in to win and we're going to do what we have to" to make it so.”

3. I looked at each article and pulled out positive statements about the war’s progress. Fox had a longer article and they also had more things positive to say about the war effort, or in defense of it.

CNN:

He [Rumsfeld] said that “terrorists who in recent months have suffered significant losses and casualties, been denied havens and suffered weakened popular support.”

“Rumsfeld told the Senate panel Thursday that the Iraqi government and security forces have made great strides …”

“He [General John Abizaid] testified that he was encouraged by the progress in Iraq and Afghanistan and said that his troops supported the war.”

FOX:

"First, let me [Rumsfeld] say there isn't a person at this table who agrees that we're in a quagmire and there isn't an end in sight. "The presentations today have been very clear. They've been forthright. The suggestion by you that people like me or others are painting a rosy picture is false."

Gen. George Casey, the top commander in Iraq, called Kennedy's description of the situation as a quagmire a "misrepresentation of the facts" and suggested it was an insult to the Iraqi people. "You have an insurgency with no base of support, and Iraqi security forces are fighting and dying for their country every day. That is not a quagmire," Casey said.

"To be sure they're not like U.S. forces, (are) never going to be ... there isn't an army, navy in the world that is comparable to the U.S. military but that does not mean they're not capable," he [Rumsfeld] said."Success will not be easy and it will require patience. ... But consider what has been accomplished in 12 months," Rumsfeld added, citing elections in January, economic improvements and an increasingly improving security force.

Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., praised President Bush for "steady and unflinching resolve."

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/23/iraq.rumsfeld/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160447,00.html

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

DNC vs. RNC: Ohio Voting

As I mentioned in a recent post, I am going to occasionally branch out and do some other comparisons. Here is some info from the DNC and RNC web sites on the allegations of problems with voting in Ohio in the last election. My concern is that neither is really trying to get at all of the facts. Both use language that propagandizes their respective messages. The DNC talks of “widespread,” “serious,” and “grave” problems. They did not do just an investigation but an “exhaustive” and “comprehensive” investigation to “ascertain exactly” what happened. The recommendations are “concrete” and are designed to “protect” everyone’s right to vote, which connotes that those rights need protecting due to active efforts by the other side. The RNC, on the other hand, says the DNC report is “pure political fiction.” The RNC lists “the undisputed facts.” They will continue to “inspire” new voters and “protect everyone’s franchise.”

So, both have the exact information about what happened and both will protect everyone from the other. Wouldn’t it be great if both sides could honestly work out any issues regarding the Ohio voting? Who could you believe after looking at each? Here are some specifics from the web sites:

DNC: (This is an introductory statement after which are links for downloading the report.)

After the 2004 election, there were widespread reports of serious voting problems in Ohio. The Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute made a commitment to investigate these reports and ascertain exactly what happened on November 2 in Ohio.

An exhaustive five-month investigation by the VRI's research and investigative team identified grave problems in the administration of Ohio's voting system. More than 1 in 4 voters in Ohio faced problems at the polls, including illegal requests for identification, long lines, poorly trained election officials, and more. There were also dramatic disparities in voting conditions among different races; African Americans waited nearly three times as long on average as whites to vote.

Most important, the VRI's comprehensive investigation resulted in concrete recommendations that will help protect every American's right to vote and to have that vote counted. These recommendations cover voting equipment, training for poll workers, uniform standards, and much more.

Get the facts about exactly what happened in Ohio in 2004, and learn how Democrats are fighting to protect our rights.

RNC:

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman issued the following statement in response to the Democrats’ Ohio Election Report: “The report is pure political fiction. The undisputed facts in Ohio are: Democrat officials had to be stopped by the courts from misleading voters about the day of the election; a Democrat affiliated group paid a worker in crack cocaine to submit fraudulent voter forms; and Democrat allies attempted to disenfranchise Ohio voters by submitting registration cards for Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Michael Jordan. Republicans will continue to register and inspire new voters, make it easier for everyone to vote at the polls and protect everyone's franchise from being cancelled out by illegal or fraudulent registration.”

Links to the web sites:

http://www.democrats.org/vri/ohioreport/index.html

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=5568

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Senate Energy Bill

With the Senate considering an energy bill, CNN and Fox today have published very different views on global warming despite similar headlines for their articles. Here are the opening sentences from both. Note that Fox’s article comes from a column entitled “Junk Science” and, below, uses the term “radical eco-activist movement.” Note CNN’s “major challenge to President Bush.”

CNN: Environmentalists, industry increase push on Congress (06.21.2005)
Industry groups and environmentalists lobbied hard to sway lawmakers' votes Monday as the Senate prepared for a major challenge to President Bush's global warming policy.

FOX: Global Warming Heats Up in Senate - Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - Global warming is a hot issue in Congress right now, but not just because of pressure from the usual suspects in the radical eco-activist movement. Instead, a few businesses are leading the charge — which happens to be calculated to fill their coffers at the public's expense.

Monday, June 20, 2005

No Up or Down Vote on Bolton Yet

The Senate did not vote on John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. despite Republican efforts to do so. Biases on the part of CNN and Fox can be found when the articles are compared. Here are two key examples:

1. CNN opened with “Republicans failed ….” whereas Fox News started with “Senate Democrats blocked ….” While both are true, CNN’s statement indicates a failure on the part of Republicans and Fox’s shows the Democrats as being obstructionists.

2. CNN is much more specific on the criticism of Bolton and puts that information at the beginning of the article. CNN has early, consecutive sentences that begin with: “Democrats have charged that Bolton …;” “Opponents also have criticized …;” and “Democrats criticize Bolton ….”

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/20/senate.bolton/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160077,00.html

Saturday, June 18, 2005

U.S. Dues to the U.N. in Jeopardy?

Fox News, as I have noted before (most recently in my previous post), continues to be harder on the U.N. than CNN. This is the case this evening as both reported on the House passing a bill that would withhold U.S. dues from the U.N. unless reforms are adopted by the U.N. Here are three differences that indicate their respective baises.

1. CNN’s opening sentence is very straightforward about the bill but with little reference to past issues while Fox starts with “Culminating years of frustration with the performance and behavior of the United Nations …” CNN uses the term “withhold” in referring to the dues while Fox uses the harsher term “slash.”

2. Fox specifically lists some recent U.N. issues while CNN does not specifically mention any of them directly. Fox’s list includes:

… seating of such human rights abusers as Cuba and Sudan on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and the Oil-for-Food program that became a source of up to $10 billion in illicit revenue for former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein

… litany of complaints against what they said was the U.N.'s lavish spending, its coddling of rogue regimes, its anti-America, anti-Israel bias and recent scandals such as the mismanagement of the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq and the sexual misconduct of peacekeepers.

3. Both included different information about Kofi Annan. As shown below, CNN talks of Annan’s proposal for “his own extensive reform plan.” It makes Annan seem much more proactive than Fox saying that Annan “expressed support” for a different congressional effort.

CNN: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed his own extensive reform plan for the 191-nation organization and is seeking to build a consensus for change in time for the annual heads-of-state U.N. gathering in September.

FOX: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed support earlier this week for another congressional effort to bring about U.N. reform. A task force led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, and former Senate Majority leader George Mitchell, a Democrat, recommended such changes as …

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/18/un.reform/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,159874,00.html

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Kofi Annan and Oil-for-Food: Two Very Different Perspectives

Fox News is typically much tougher on the U.N. and Kofi Annan than CNN, as I have documented before. Today is no exception with both web sites running stories on an email (CNN has one email, Fox refers to two emails) that potentially links Annan to the oil-for-food scandal. CNN raises doubts in their article about the credibility and significance of the email. Fox makes it sound much more ominous. Here is a comparison of the first two sentences. CNN says investigators are “reviewing” an email while Fox says they are "probing" and “'urgently reviewing' fresh evidence.” Fox also adds "scandal-scarred" when referring to the oil-for-food program. CNN's second sentence show some discounting of the email's significance. Fox talks of “new questions” and “fresh evidence” to indicate that this is a continuation of previous allegations. Fox also notes that this information contradicts Annan's previous claims. These first two sentences are indicative of the tone and perspective of their entire articles.


CNN: Investigators probing the United Nations' oil-for-food program said Tuesday they are reviewing an e-mail that suggests a communication between Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the company that won a lucrative contract and employed his son. Spokesmen for Annan and the Swiss company Cotecna were quick to discount the document's significance.


FOX: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan faces new questions over whether he lied to independent investigators probing the scandal-scarred Oil-for-Food program. Those investigators said Tuesday they were "urgently reviewing" fresh evidence.


The difference between these two articles is dramatically different! If you just read one of the articles, you need to read the other as well.


Urls of the articles:
www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/14/oil.food/index.html
www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/14/oil.food/index.html

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Time Out: Vacation

I'll be on vacation for a few days but I will be back.

I could comment today on how Fox News has not yet covered Saturday's Democratic weekly radio address (while publishing a timely transcript of Pres. Bush's weekly radio address). But, I've noted that that has happened in several other weeks as well so looks like that is standard fare for Fox News.

By the way, this week I went over 7,000 total hits since I installed "sitemeter" in December. I'm gald that many people have been able to access the site.

DNC vs. RNC

I thought about occasionally expanding the scope of this blog. Today I want to try something a little different. When it comes to political discourse today there are two things that really bother me. One of those is biased media reporting. But, since all reporting is biased, I fault people who only use one source for their news are potentially missing critical information or are being subtly influenced by a particular single bias.


The other thing that bothers me is the lack of real dialogue on the important issues of our day. I had started a blog on that as well but it was too time consuming to keep doing both blogs. So, here is an example of where both of the main parties are going for sound bites and emotional impact rather than real dialogue. The first picture below is from the home page of the Democratic National Committee web site. In my opinion it is designed to be clever and emotional and to get more donations to the DNC. The second picture below is from the Republican National Committee web site. It is about a video designed to be entertaining while poking at the Democrats. This is to rally the troops; but, in both of these examples, the real dialogue gets lost. Each side just gets that much angrier with the other.


From the home page of the Democratic National Committee web site


From the home page of the Republican National Committee web site
Posted by Hello

Links to the web sites:

http://www.democrats.org/

http://www.rnc.org/

Saturday, June 11, 2005

U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq

Both had articles on today’s U.S. airstrikes against insurgents in western Iraq. CNN had more negative news, or at least less positive, than Fox. I was interested in the ratio of coverage of the U.S. attack compared to insurgent coverage. So, I counted the words devoted to coverage of the apparently successful U.S. action and compared that to the news about recent insurgent attacks. Here are the results:

# of words about the U.S. airstrike / # of words about recent insurgent attacks

CNN: 66 / 736

FOX: 215 / 67

Here are a two other differences between the articles. Some might consider these subtle but I believe that if a reader is just looking at one source, over time the subtleties add up and create a biased impression of what is happening.

In the first sentence, CNN says “U.S. Marine airstrikes killed about 40 insurgents Saturday…” Look at how Fox makes the same points with the highlighting showing the addition descriptive information: “U.S. fighter planes equipped with precision-guided missiles launched airstrikes … killing about 40 insurgents who were stopping and searching civilian cars …” While CNN notes that those attacked were armed, they do not explain what they were doing in the town. Fox had also included this information: “[the insurgents] had "set up a barricade on a main road to the city and were threatening Iraqi civilians," the military said.”

Both articles talked of other recent U.S. offenses. Fox said this: “The U.S. military launched two major counterinsurgent offensives in the area last month that killed an estimated 140 militants.” CNN noted it this way: “Last month, U.S. and Iraqi forces were involved in two operations in western Iraq -- Matador and New Market.” CNN does not give the number of militants killed but Fox does. Later, CNN gives the total U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Fox does not.

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/11/iraq.main/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,159254,00.html

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bush and the Patriot Act

CNN ran an AP article on President Bush’s latest push for the Patriot Act. Fox News ran their own with contributions from the AP. I found three differences between the articles that would indicate a bias pro-Bush by Fox or anti-Bush by CNN:

1. Because of the AP connection, the first parts of the two articles are virtually identical. The first sentences are not identical but similar in content. Both articles refer to Bush’s point that the law helps those “on the front lines” of preventing new attacks. It is somewhat subtle but Fox adds that the front lines are those of the “War on Terror.” CNN does not use that phrase. It would appear that Fox added that to the AP information to reinforce Bush’s overall goal.

2. Later in the articles the following phrase is used:

Congress has begun working on renewing them amid fresh criticism -- from members of both parties -- that the law undermines basic freedoms.

Fox, however added some information that lessens the level of criticism: “But other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle also approve of the job the fairly new law is doing.”

3. CNN’s headline is “Bush tours counterterrorism center.” Fox’s makes Bush’s point in the headline with “Bush: Patriot Act Needed in War on Terror.”

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/10/bush.counterterrorism.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,159145,00.html

Greenspan on the Economy; Is the Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

CNN gave little mention of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s comments to the Congress’ Joint Economic Committee while Fox News’ article called it “his first extensive comment on the economy since February.” Fox paints a positive picture as noted with the headline of “Greenspan: US Economy 'On Reasonably Firm Ground'.” By contrast, CNN ran an article headlined “European shares fall pre-Greenspan” before Greenspan spoke and then “Greenspan lifts European stocks” later have he did speak. CNN’s only mention of what Greenspan said was the following:

Greenspan told Congress said he wasn't concerned that a serious slowdown was emerging from a recent soft patch in U.S. economic data. And he repeated language from the Federal Open Market Committee that the Fed can continue to raise interest rates at a "measured pace."

Is CNN downplaying generally positive news about the U.S. economy? Is the glass half empty? As quoted above, CNN mentions that Greenspan was not concerned about a “serious slowdown” so that seems to leave it open for a slowdown, even if not a serious one, and mention is made of raising interest rates.

Is the glass half full for Fox? Look at these positive comments in Fox’s article:

… the U.S. economy was on a "reasonably firm footing" while inflation was under control, a situation that will allow policymakers to raise interest rates at a measured pace. [Note: While interest rates are mentioned here it provides more background than CNN’s brief statement and puts the probable increases in as much of a positive light as possible.]

Greenspan warned the congressional Joint Economic Committee about a possible housing bubble in some local markets but said the overall economy appeared healthy and would likely remain so.

Greenspan's generally upbeat assessment of the economy provided support for the view that the Fed, which has raised interest rates eight times over the past year, planned to continue nudging rates higher at a gradual pace.

"Despite some of the risks that I have highlighted, the U.S. economy seems to be on a reasonably firm footing, and underlying inflation remains contained," Greenspan said in prepared testimony.

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/BUSINESS/06/09/europe.stocks.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,159025,00.html

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Very Different Articles on the GOP

Quite a contrast in stories about the national GOP. Yesterday, Fox ran a story about negative reaction to Howard Dean’s comments earlier in the week about Republicans. Both CNN and Fox had reported on Dean’s comments but only Fox ran this follow-up. CNN, this morning, ran an article about a porn star who will be attending an annual GOP fundraiser. This has not shown up on Fox News.

FOX:

GOP Expresses Dismay at Dean Remarks - Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - WASHINGTON — Cries of protest howled in Washington Wednesday as Republicans pounced on Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard...

CNN:

Porn star candidate to attend GOP dinner (06.09.2005)
The annual President's Dinner, a Republican Party fundraising event featuring President Bush, could get an extra dash of spice this year with porn actress and former California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey planning to attend.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Senate Confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown

Fox News ran an AP story and CNN ran their own on the Senate confirming Janice Rogers Brown (note: CNN also has the AP article if you do a site search but the link from the “Politics” section is to the CNN article). Here are two biased differences in the articles:

1. Bush is never quoted in CNN’s article. Fox’s AP article has this quote:

President Bush commended the Senate for voting to confirm Brown. "During her tenure on the California Supreme Court and California Court of Appeal, Justice Brown has distinguished herself as a brilliant and fair-minded jurist who is committed to the rule of law," Bush said in a statement.

2. With regard to Brown specifically, no Democrats are quoted. CNN has this quote:

Democrats called Brown, a California Supreme Court justice, "one of President Bush's most ideological and extreme judicial nominees," in the words of Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/08/brown.confirmation/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158964,00.html

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bush/Kerry, Kerry/Bush

Here is something a little on the lighter side. Both CNN and Fox News ran articles on Bush and Kerry having similar grades. The articles are identical. The headlines are almost the same but the difference I find to be mildly amusing:

CNN: Kerry, Bush had similar grades

FOX: Bush, Kerry had similar grades …

Subtle; but telling?

Links to the articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/07/kerry.grades.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158776,00.html

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Contrasting Information about Howard Dean

I could not help but notice the contrast between articles today about Howard Dean. Here are the headlines as wells as some quotes that present very different perspectives:

CNN

Fox

Headline: Dean sticks to his guns, still aimed at GOP

Headline: Two Prominent Dems Chastise Dean

“Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean is defending remarks he made that enraged Republican leaders this week.”

“Democrats Joseph Biden and John Edwards are criticizing party chairman Howard Dean, saying his rhetorical attacks on Republicans have gone too far.”

“Dean said Friday of his characteristically strong words, "I guess my job is to outrage the Republicans these days."”

“Edwards responded that Dean "is not the spokesman for the party."”

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/04/dean.gop/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158629,00.html

A Tale of Two Amnesty's

Amnesty International recently came up with a report that had glaring criticism of the U.S. and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In a recent post I noted differences in coverage of Vice President Cheney’s reaction. Today, CNN and Fox News reported on reaction by the head of Amnesty International USA, William Schulz. The differences are as clear as night and day even though CNN reported on an interview with Schulz on Fox’s “Fox News Sunday.” There are two key differences, of several, that I would like to point out:

1. Here are the headlines and opening sentences for each with CNN leading with the U.S. having secret jails while Fox leads with Schulz backtracking a little on Amnesty’s use of the term “gulag” in reference to Guantanamo.

CNN: Rights group leader says U.S. has secret jails

The chief of Amnesty International USA alleged Sunday that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is part of a worldwide network of U.S. jails, some of them secret, where prisoners are mistreated and even killed.

FOX: Amnesty Chief: 'Gulag' Not the Best Analogy

The American head of Amnesty International admits his group did not pick the best analogy when it compared detainee conditions at Guantanamo Bay to the Soviet-era "gulag" forced-labor system.

2. CNN ends its article with coverage of two senators saying that hearings on Guantanamo may be appropriate. Fox does not mention that but does discuss criticism of Amnesty International which is not found in CNN’s article:

CNN: ""Look, it's very difficult to run a perfect prison," said Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "But we have an open country. We have hearings on a whole lot of different subjects. We might well have hearings on this."

Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said holding hearings would "send a better message to the world about who we are and what we care about if we do that, if we approach it in that direction."

FOX: But Amnesty International critics say that may be part of the problem.

They point out that the group's international report has multiple pages criticizing Israel and milder critique of the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, the report devotes a similar amount of space to the slaughter in Sudan as it does poor treatment by police officers in Switzerland.

Human rights expert Anthony Arend from Georgetown University said calling Guantanamo Bay a 'gulag' prevents people from focusing on real abuses in the world.

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/05/amnesty.detainee/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158555,00.html

Time Out: Soccer

In case anyone has been wondering where I have been for a couple days, I flew to Salt Lake City and went with two of my kids to watch the Wold Cup qualifying match betwen the U.S. and Costa Rica. It was awesome.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Geldof's "Live 8" and African Poverty

CNN and Fox both ran two articles each on the announcement of Bob Geldof’s plans for a series of concerts called Live 8 to raise awareness of African poverty. Geldof put on Live Aid for Ethiopian famine relief 20 years ago. “Live 8” is named as such to coincide with the upcoming G8 conference in Scotland. There are several differences of note between the coverage in these two articles:

1. CNN devotes more space using twice as many words (811) as Fox (401).

2. Fox has one 37-word direct quote from Geldof while CNN has 123 words of direct quotes.

3. Fox seems to have just the bare-bone facts and makes only a brief connection with the G8 meeting. In one article it says: “The name "Live 8" is a nod to the G-8 summit, a meeting of the world's leading powers, set to start days later in Scotland.” In the other it says, “The events are aimed at raising awareness of poverty in developing countries just days before G8 leaders meet in Britain.” CNN makes statements stronger than “a nod to the G-8” by saying it is a “concert designed to influence the G8 group of industrialized nations' summit in Scotland” and this statement that “Geldof said the G8 summit presented a unique opportunity "to do something unparalleled in the world, and especially at the beginning of the 21st Century, and that is to tilt the world a little bit on its axis in favor of the poor, and that's not a difficult thing to do."”

4. CNN has information about G8 and African poverty that is not found in Fox’s articles. CNN ends each article with the exact wording as follows (highlight added):

Prime Minister Tony Blair has campaigned to help Africa during Britain's presidency of the G8 this year and will host G8 leaders at a summit in Gleneagles in Scotland in July.

But campaigners fear discord between G8 nations on debt reduction and aid spending plans, combined with reluctance in Washington, will wreck Blair's ambitions.

They warn African schools and hospitals could receive no new money from the lavish summit, which could cost as much as £100 million ($180 million) to stage.

"We are really concerned that we're a long, long way away from any kind of breakthrough on tackling poverty in Africa," said Oxfam policy adviser Max Lawson.

Links to articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/05/31/live8.geldof/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/05/31/live8.geldof.reut/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158137,00.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158075,00.html

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Howard Dean and the Campaign for America's Future

Both reported on speeches made at the annual meeting of the Campaign for America's Future, an organization of liberal activists. Fox News devotes most if its article to John Edwards’ speech with Howard Dean’s speech mentioned at the end of the article. CNN’s AP article highlights Dean only. [Note: Dean spoke before Edwards did so it could be that there may be more coming later from CNN on Edwards.] The point here is that choices made so far indicate that Fox is not highlighting Dean as much as is CNN. Both articles use this quote as an opposing viewpoint from the Republicans:

"Howard Dean's diatribe today illustrates that the Democrat Party not only lacks leadership but is overflowing with anger," said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "Dean's priority is to generate mudslinging headlines rather than engage in substantive debate."

CNN follows that quote with what appears to be substantive debate starting with, “Dean told the activists that it was important for Democrats to outline what they would do if they were in charge and not just criticize the Bush administration.” Fox closes its article with the Schmitt quote with nothing following it.

Links to the articles:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/02/progressives.conference.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158432,00.html