IBD Editorial: Media’s ‘Bird Obsession’ Trumps Loss of Human Life

APphotoNashvilleNapolitano0510The editorialists at Investors Business Daily are not pleased with the values on display in the relative importance given to three major stories: the deaths of 11 oil rig workers off the Gulf Coast, the oil spill that resulted from that rig's collapse, and the historic flooding in Tennessee that has taken at least 30 lives.

Here's the newspaper's take:

What does it say when 11 men who perish on an exploding oil platform, or 30 poor souls who die in a 1,000-year Tennessee flood, get less coverage than two oil-soaked birds? It says news is driven from the left.

It is to the credit of the one media outlet that reported the paparazzi-like scrums of reporters trailing rescue workers as they tried to clean off one oil-soaked gannet caught in the oil spill off Louisiana waters after a rig exploded in the Gulf on April 20. Not only did the U.S. and European media obsess breathlessly about the bird, and later about a brown pelican that followed, they seemed to be panting for more.

That's because birds are convenient tools for driving the radical green agenda to halt all oil drilling. TV media and the national papers pounded the bird story because it served a political purpose.

... A look at the Los Angeles Times' oil spill coverage, for one, shows birds featured daily in its blog and paper while the 11 oil platform workers have barely registered. On the blog, the news of the deaths wasn't acknowledged until May 5 ...

... The bird obsession looks even worse when one looks north to the flooding that's engulfed two-thirds of Tennessee and its neighbors in a natural environmental disaster.

... The Associated Press has done some excellent team coverage of these events, but it hasn't been featured much in national news, nor in major newspapers.

News searches done at about 11:00 a.m Eastern Time reveal the following:
  • A Google News search on "Nashville flood" (not in quotes) comes back with "about 6,780 results."
  • A Google News search on "gulf oil spill" (not in quotes) comes back with "about 17,400 results," or about 2.5 times as many.
  • A seven-day search at the IBD-complimented Associated Press's main site on "Nashville flood" (not in quotes) returns 11 stories (with one interesting omission, which I'll get to this evening).
  • A seven-day AP search on "gulf oil spill" (not in quotes) returns 116 stories. Only a few of them are unrelated.

I'd say IBD's contentions are pretty solid, and their explanations a great deal more credible than the one offered by Newsweek's Andrew Romano as noted Friday by NewsBuster colleague Noel Sheppard.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.