Today’s version of our exercise, in which we dissect the media’s attempts at interjecting bias into a simple headline, may stun some of you.
The shocking aspect? The Washington Post didn’t partake in the liberal doctoring of the headline. Let’s take a look…
The Pentagon just released a report entitled ‘Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,’ which highlights a decline in violence in the country in 2008.
Surprisingly enough, the WaPo ran this headline:
Violence Declines Further in Iraq
While positive news in a Post headline is a bit hard to believe, they did include the following sub-headline, managing to interject that ol’ liberal pessimism we’re more accustomed to:
Pentagon Report Cites Factors That Could Rekindle Attacks
That said, we have to give them some credit for combining the positive and negative into one headline, making it less biased than their competitors. Observe…
In her October 1 ABCNews.com story, "Should Candidates' Sons Serve on the Frontline?", Emily Friedman explored the potential problems that could arise with the sons of presidential candidate John McCain and vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin serving on the front lines in armed conflict:
While Biden, 39, and Palin, 19, are just ordinary troops today, on Nov. 5, the day after the election, one of them will also be the son of the vice president of the United States of America.
A protective Secret Service detail will arrive soon after, along with the "Prince Harry question": Should they stay like any other soldier, or will they have become too tempting a target that endangers them and the other soldiers in their units? Should they be reassigned?
We've covered it here before. It's akin to that old child's game where one person whispers something into another's ear, passes it on to several others, until the final statement is no longer vaguely recognizable as being related to the first.
So, here we go again with Anatomy of a Biased Headline...
As we've reported at NewsBusters, the MSM have scoffed at the McCain campaign charging Sen. Barack Obama with supporting sex ed for kindergarteners. Time's Joe Klein has gone so far as to call McCain a liar for the ad, although the legislation in question would have meant 5-year-olds would be taught about STDs at the same time they were learning their ABC's.
The way the media have complained about the McCain ad, you'd get the impression the media think no one has ever seriously entertained the notion of teaching kindergarteners about sex.
Yet yesterday, ABCNews.com's World View blog reported on a controversy in the United Kingdom over an illustrated sex ed book geared to 6-year-olds. An excerpt from London-based reporter Philip Victor (emphasis mine):
Forget questions about her Pentecostal roots or mockery of her term as a small town mayor. The latest symptom of Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS) may be painting the female Republican governor as an enemy of women, and no, it's not just vis-a-vis the typical pro-choice talking points.
Evangelicals and social conservatives have embraced McCain's vice presidential pick for what they call her "pro-family," "pro-woman" values. But in Alaska, critics say Gov. Sarah Palin has not addressed the rampant sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence and murder that make her state one of the most dangerous places in the country for women and children.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
It doesn't seem to be unusual for the media to mention a positive story for the McCain campaign, only to be explained away by a surrogate or two. But ABC News outdid themselves today. In a four page online article about the 2008 presidential feud for female voters and a byline of McCain doubling their female volunteers, ABC News managed to squeeze in five different quotes/remarks to rebuke any positive news for the McCain/Palin ticket.
Quote ratio? Five to one, if you include the quote from Obama's campaign ad. Five views/endorsements favoring Obama and one perspective from McCain's campaign/surrogates. You have to love all that balance.
Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a "damaging revelation " that has caused Sarah Palin's image to "suffer." Says who? Says ABC News, in an article by Rick Klein and Jennifer Parker.
In Palin Pregnancy Rocks Political World, Klein and Parker report reaction from a variety of Republican and traditional-values sources. Every one, from Dr. James Dobson to Grover Norquist to Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council to a pro-life delegate to the GOP convention who said "the fact that her daughter's keeping it and marrying the father is wonderful," had a positive reaction.
But what do they know? Declare Klein and Parker [emphasis added]:
Palin's image may suffer further if more damaging revelations come out in the coming days and weeks.
Perhaps it's the pied piper effect, but when Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama speaks, the media follow right along in lockstep.
The word "disaster" can invoke images of the aftermath of hurricanes, tornados or tsunamis. But, on the campaign trail where there are political points to be scored - it's one quarter of a slight economic contraction followed up by two quarters of shallow economic growth, according to Obama.
"Then he started running ads saying oh, Obama's just going to raise your taxes and he'll lead to an economic disaster," Obama told his campaign audience. "Mr. McCain, let me explain to you, the economic disaster is happening right now. Maybe you haven't noticed."
But those poll numbers gave way to more media spin in an ABC "World News Saturday" report August 9.
"After years of debate over the reality of global warming, 80 percent of those polled now say they accept it as fact," anchor Bill Weir reported. "Seventy-three percent say it is a threat to today's children and 63 percent believe people and industry are to blame.
UPDATE at end of post: Edwards scandal could lead to a Clinton coup!
With Hillary Clinton talking about demanding a full delegate vote at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, the John Edwards sex scandal has the potential to further interfere with the unified and harmonious nomination of Barack Obama media clearly seek.
After all, the case can certainly be made that if the Edwards affair had gotten the press attention it deserved back in October when the National Enquirer first broke the story, the former senator would have been forced out of the race sooner likely giving Clinton enough delegates early in the process to prevent the eventual groundswell for Obama.
The only question is how many media outlets desperately hoping for a civil convention in a few weeks are going to raise this question as ABC's Brian Ross and Jake Tapper did at the Blotter blog Monday (emphasis added throughout, photo courtesy AP):
Yesterday, in a stinging indictment of his Old Media colleagues' la-la-la treatment of the story of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asserted that Edwards "may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism."
I'll get to Rutten's mostly perceptive points in a bit.
That's because recent developments indicate that Edwards may still be believe he can eventually re-enter public life, and they are relevant to Rutten's assertion:
This doesn't qualify as any kind of surprise, but it should be noted nonetheless.
Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave a stunningly downbeat assessment of the nation's overall situation in a response to a seven year-old girl who asked him why he is running for president. Obama's media water-carriers have virtually ignored his very telling response, one that is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's gloomiest, malaise-based assessments of America during his awful presidency.
When a horrible tragedy happens, media reports try to find a place to point the finger. Although, this time a company name is being tacked on to something they had nothing to do with.
Heparin is a generic drug made by many different companies that is used to thin blood. It has recently been involved in two accidents involving babies and media reports have unfairly connecting one company to both incidents.
Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly are suing Baxter Healthcare Corp. They claimed the heparin blue labels could be confused with a less potent derivative, which reportedly led to the injury of their newborn children, according to Bloomberg.
On July 6, 17 babies in a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, were given an overdose of the drug, resulting in the death of a set of twins. Although their deaths are still being investigated.
Media reports of the incident at Christus Spohn Hospital South in Texas have been tied in with Quaid's lawsuit against Baxter over heparin even though the two cases are unrelated and Baxter has confirmed it did not manufacture the heparin used in the Texas accident.
When it comes to illustrating high gas prices, the liberal media sure love San Mateo, California. What with its gorgeous, sunny weather and consistently above-average gas prices, it makes for a shocking image of "pain at the pump."
In the top headlines feature for ABCNews.com, editors included a tease for a story on oil prices heading towards $147-a-barrel, and chose a photo of a gas marquee showing regular unleaded at $5.219. That's a whopping 27 percent above the nationwide average as recorded at AAA's FuelGaugeReport.com.
The photo was taken by yesterday by AP photographer Paul Sakuma in San Mateo, and the caption that came with it noted that the the price was way above "the average roadside price for gasoline" which on July 10 "stood at $4.104 a gallon _ just a hair below the record $4.108 hit Monday, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express."
Ho no, here we go again. Gas price hysteria from the MSM.
"Here's a troubling look at what some people are doing for gas. A 34-year-old Kentucky woman was arrested for prostitution after she was allegedly trading sex for $100 gas cards."
So began a video story at ABCNews.com, which made today's top headlines roundup with the teaser headline: "Sign of the Times: Sex for Gas." While the short video report included a prosecutor calling it a "sign of the times" that someone would trade sex for gasoline, failing to put the phrase in quotes in the headline implies that ABCNews.com agrees with the prosecutor's personal opinion on gas prices and the criminal desperation supposedly caused by them.
Of course, there's also more to the story that we don't learn from ABCNews.com. Alleged hooker Angela Eversole may be a cheating hussy, but she's no whore, says her jilted boyfriend, according to WCPO-TV.:
Thomas Beatie, the transsexual "man" who was really born a woman, has garnered a lot of news coverage over the past few months because he is the first "man" to become pregnant. ABC promoted the "pregnant man" four times in two and half months on its morning show, "Good Morning America" while ABCNews.com also heavily promoted the story.
Well, Beatie recently gave birth and ABCNews.com jumped on the story and is treating Beatie like a celebrity. The front page features the headline "Exclusive: Pregnant Man Has Baby Girl" alongside a picture of the "man's" pregnant body.
If an elected official in the United States, at any level, promises to "rip apart" six year old rape victims, then describe in vivid detail how their lives would be ruined, one would assume such a statement would lead the news. But it did not.
Following up on D.S. Hubes post on the local media coverage, Massachusetts State Representative James Fagan (D) voiced his opposition to Jessica’s law requiring stiff mandatory sentences to child rapists. As a defense attorney, Fagan promised if such a law were in place and victims assume the stand "I’m gonna rip them apart." Fagan continued "I’m going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they’re 8 years old, they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody."
From the Disney-owned Web site that brought you concerns that college co-eds were foregoing textbooks to pay for birth control comes the latest tale of high gas price-induced economic woes.
"Nevada Brothels Hit Hard by Gas Prices," ABCNews.com trumpets in a teaser headline in the top headlines slideshow on its front page. The editors showed a bit more leg in the photo caption: "Owners fight back: free $50 gas cards for high-spending customers."
Here's some of the tale of woe from the article itself:
As the Silver State's fuel prices hit all-time highs, Nevada's brothel employees find it harder to make a living these days, leaving some people wondering whether they should stay in the business.
At the Stardust Ranch in eastern Nevada, bartender Cindy Howe says they're "down to only two girls. They don't want to come here because business is down."
UPDATE: Hard to imagine, but it's even worse than originally thought. AP's go-to "historian" is, as Wikipedia shows, a shameless politically active far-leftist (HT Eric at Vocal Minority).
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Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.
You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon "report" by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building -- and take their readers with them -- unless Barack Obama wins the White House.
This is how the pained pair's incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text is included here for fair use and discussion purposes, as are photos originally found at the ABC link that are included at the cross-post):
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence
Today Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama issued a statement that he will forego the public financing system for the general election. His announcement goes back on a pledge to use public financing if the Republican candidate would do the same.
All three broadcast networks' Web sites have the story, but only ABCNews.com noted in its front page tease that Obama is going back on a previous campaign promise.
ABCNews.com, reporting on the Catholic Diocese of Rome refusing permission to Ron Howard’s plans to film the movie prequel to Dan Brown’s "The DaVinci Code" in two historic churches, used loaded wording in the headline: "Church Cracks Down on New ‘Da Vinci’ Film."
The lead for the report, written by Phoebe Natanson and Luchina Fisher, also used similar imagery to describe the Catholic Church’s refusal: "Once again, the Catholic Church is coming down hard on writer Dan Brown, the author of ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ The producers of Brown's latest thriller to be made into a film, ‘Angels and Demons,’ have been banned from filming key scenes inside any church in Rome, on the grounds that the book is "an offense against God," according to a church spokesman.
Speaking of "coming down hard," wasn’t Brown doing just that in "The Da Vinci Code" by depicting the Catholic Church as a nefarious organization?
ABC's Marcus Baram is reporting that Democratic Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) "had their home loans handled by [Countrywide Financial's] VIP desk, where a team of loan officers would work out favorable terms in conjunction with [CEO Angelo] Mozilo, according to two former Countrywide executives."
The story made the "top headlines" lineup for the afternoon of June 13, along with a headline tease for recent video from Fox News Channel where an onscreen graphic labeled the mother of two as Sen. Obama's "baby mama." Online slang lexicon urbandictionary.com defines a baby mama as "The mother of your child(ren), whom you did not marry and with whom you are not currently involved."
The "Michelle Obama 2.0" article begins by regaling readers with a look at life in the Obama household as given by Barack and Michelle on a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio. The Illinois senator joked about his wife speaking more endearingly of him on the campaign trail than she does behind closed doors:
"She never says such nice things about me at home!" he smiles. "I really enjoy listening to her praise me like that because when I get home she'll remind me that I didn't make the bed."
The article then continued by contrasting the domestic bliss of the young Obamas with those mean ol' conservatives dead-set on stopping the presumptive Democratic nominee by gunning for Mrs. O.:
On Thursday, ABC News took global warming hysteria to a new level.
After Chris Cuomo and Bob Woodruff previewed an upcoming environmental scare piece on "Good Morning America" as previously reported by my colleague Scott Whitlock, an article was posted at the network's website asking (emphasis added throughout):
Are we living in the last century of our civilization? Is it possible that all of our technology, knowledge and wealth cannot save us from ourselves? Could our society actually be heading towards collapse?
Following this irresponsibly alarmist opening paragraph, the article continued:
This September, in Earth 2100, a dramatic ABC News 2-hour broadcast, the greatest minds across the globe will join together in a countdown to the year 2100 to tell us what we must do to survive the next century … And what may happen if we don't.
As Whitlock transcribed for your review Thursday, here were some of the key moments of hysteria on that morning's "GMA" (video available here):
Months ago, Obama Girl seductively sang about her love for the junior senator from Illinois. Now, a satirical video, loaded with sexual content, depicts young McCain supporters as inept, clumsy, and not worthy of dating.
Making matters worse, ABCNews.com not only reviewed the video, but also embedded it at its website despite the soundtrack including a vulgarity beginning with the letter "F".
I kid you not.
What follows are highlights of this article (sexual content below the fold, emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer Jeff Williams, picture courtesy ABCNews.com):