Could Pro-Obama Bias Trump Media's Anti-American Bias?

Pointing out how a Reuters photo caption described those burning an effigy of President George W. Bush as merely “demonstrators,” while in a caption a few days later those burning posters of President-elect Barack Obama were characterized as “hardline demonstrators,” OpinionJournal's James Taranto on Tuesday observed: “Reuters' pro-Obama bias seems to be tempering its usual anti-American bias.” Taranto wondered in his “Best of the Web Today” compilation for the Wall Street Journal's editorial page site: “It will be interesting to see whether this continues to be the case after Obama becomes President next week.”

The two Reuters photo captions on anti-Israel demonstrations, as posted by Yahoo News. From Friday, January 9:
Demonstrators burn an effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, in protest of Israeli aggression against Palestinians January 9, 2009. About 2,000 Muslim protesters gathered outside the U.S. embassy in the Malaysian capital on Friday holding placards and banners, and shouting anti-Israel slogans.
The Reuters photo caption from Tuesday, January 13:
Hardline demonstrators burn posters of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, during a demonstration in support of the people of Gaza, in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran January 13, 2009.
Taranto's take:
Not surprisingly, both captions are biased against Israel, the first referring to "Israeli aggression," and the second claiming the poster-burners support "the people of Gaza" when one presumes they actually back the Islamic supremacist movement Hamas.

But note the difference: The guys who are burning Bush in effigy are merely "demonstrators," while the guys who are burning Obama's poster are "hardline demonstrators." Reuters' pro-Obama bias seems to be tempering its usual anti-American bias. It will be interesting to see whether this continues to be the case after Obama becomes president next week. Is Reuters merely an anti-American news service, or is it a hardline one?
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center