Lies of Omission: A Simple Test for Media Bias

Yesterday Howie, one of my co-bloggers at The Jawa Report conducted what he describes as a "simple test" for mainstream media bias against reporting positive news from Iraq. Howie posted about three separate stories from Iraq, one positive, one mostly positive, and one negative, then tracked the amount of play each story got in the MSM via Google's news search function. The negative story about a successful suicide bombing, one of many staged for the benefit of Western news cameras, received 779 news citations on Google. A story from CENTCOM about a bomb discovered at the Golden Mosque in Samarra, that detonated while demolitions experts were trying to move it, causing no injuries and minimal damage, came in second, with ten entries under the technically accurate but misleading headline, "Bomb Explodes at Iraq's Samarra Mosque." The mainstream deliberately put the worst possible face on the story. Instead of a headline about the success of Iraqi and Coalition forces in detecting and minimizing the effect of the bomb, the headline writer managed to add more white noise to the "quagmire" meme. The positive story Howie tracked is a CENTCOM news release about Iraqi troops freeing 23 hostages and capturing their 6 kidnappers. The damning Google search results are here. The only mainstream source that picked up the story was the New York Times, and they buried it within a story headlined "Truck Bomb in Iraq Kills 70 in Shiite Crowd."