A Study in Contrasts

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 12, 2011

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-Read the excerpt below from Philip Klein at Spectator.org and James Taranto at OpinionJournal.com.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

In the wake of the Fort Hood massacre in November 2009 [when a Muslim Army psychiatrist attacked unarmed soldiers inside a medical building, killing 13 people and wounding at least 30], the editorial board of the New York Times urged:

In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.

President Obama was right when he told Americans, “we don’t know all the answers yet” and cautioned everyone against “jumping to conclusions.” ….. 

There were reports that some soldiers said they had heard him shout “God is Great” in Arabic before he started firing. But until investigations are complete, no one can begin to imagine what could possibly have motivated this latest appalling rampage. …..

Yet for some reason, that sense of caution was strangely absent in today’s editorial on the tragic shooting in Arizona:

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people. …..

Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.

[To describe the Tucson massacre as an act of “political violence” is, quite simply, a lie. …..

The New York Times has seized on a madman’s act of wanton violence as an excuse to instigate a witch hunt against those it regards as its domestic foes. “Instigate” is not too strong a word here: As we noted yesterday, one of the first to point an accusatory finger at the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin was the Times’s star columnist, Paul Krugman. Less than two hours after the news of the shooting broke, he opined on the Times website: “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.”

This was speculative fantasy, irresponsible but perhaps forgivable had Krugman walked it back when the facts proved contrary to his prejudices. He did not. His Monday column evinced the same damn-the-facts attitude as the editorial did. …..

The Times is far from alone in responding to the Tucson massacre with false accusations and inflammatory innuendoes against its foes. We focus on the Times because it is the leader–the most authoritative voice of the left-liberal media, or what used to be called the “mainstream” media.

…..Decent people of whatever political stripe must say enough is enough.]

Read the entire article at spectator.org and opinionjournal.com (last four paragraphs – in brackets).

Questions

1.  Do you think the media – and the New York Times in particular – is displaying bias by saying that Republicans and Conservatives in the media have caused the shooting in Arizona?  Explain your answer.

2.  Do you agree with the assertion that “Decent people of whatever political stripe must say enough is enough”?  Explain your answer.

3.  Ask a parent the same questions.


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
























Answer(s)

1. and 2. Opinion questions. Answers vary.

3. Answers vary.