A Report on Two Presidents

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on April 7, 2010

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-Read the excerpt below from the "Best of the Web" post by OpinionJournal.com's editor James Taranto (original post date 4/6/10).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

This is a story of absolutely no consequence, but nonetheless an instructive comparison. Here’s how the Associated Press reported President Obama’s throwing out the first pitch at yesterday’s Montreal Expos game:

In front of thousands of fans, President Barack Obama strolled to the pitcher’s mound and tossed a baseball to Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, officially launching the team’s baseball season.

The setting – freshly cut grass, a brilliant sun and clear skies – was a picture-postcard quality introduction to a new Major League Baseball season. And the lanky Obama, appearing in khakis and a Washington Nationals warmup jacket, was the star attraction for a moment.

Here’s how the AP reported the same story two years ago:

President Bush had enough to worry about–like not flubbing the first pitch in front of a crowd that might not exactly be his biggest fans anyway.

So before the game, when a couple of Atlanta Braves gave him a team jersey and suggested he wear it to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park, Bush laughed. Uh, no thanks, guys. Might as well put on a sign that says “Boo me.”

We suppose we should count our blessings: The AP makes it so easy to spot its bias. On the other hand, think of how much better its journalism would be if the bias were limited to fluff stories like this one.

Read the original post at opinionjournal.com. (Scroll halfway down the page for the post titled “Accountability Journalism”.)

Watch a video of President Obama’s first pitch:

Questions

The AP’s website states:

The Associated Press is the backbone of the world’s information system serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television and online customers with coverage in all media and news in all formats. It is the largest and oldest news organization in the world, serving as a source of news, photos, graphics, audio and video.

AP’s mission is to be the essential global news network, providing distinctive news services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity with reports that are accurate, balanced and informed. AP operates as a not-for-profit cooperative with more than 4,000 employees working in more than 240 worldwide bureaus. AP is owned by its 1,500 U.S. daily newspaper members. They elect a board of directors that directs the cooperative.

AP supplies a steady stream of news around the clock to its domestic members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

1.  What type of bias does the AP display in its reports on Democratic President Obama and Republican President George Bush throwing out the first pitch at the beginning of baseball season?

2. Do you agree with James Taranto when he says “The AP makes it so easy to spot its bias”?  Explain your answer.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  The AP reports display bias by spin.  The report on President Obama has a positive tone and leaves the reader a very favorable impression of President Obama – that he’s a star.  The report on President Bush had a negative tone and implied that he was a buffoon or bumbler.

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.