Abortion Imbalance

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on October 26, 2005

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from the Oct 19th "Times Watch" found at TimesWatch.org.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

Wednesday’s [NY Times] lead story regards the disclosure that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers filled out a survey in 1989 for Texans United for Life in which she supported banning abortion except to protect the mother’s life.

From the get-go, conservative-beat reporter David Kirkpatrick showcases his usual unbalanced labeling: “Harriet E. Miers, the Supreme Court nominee, disclosed on Tuesday a 1989 survey in which she supported banning abortion except to protect the life of the pregnant woman. The disclosure alarmed abortion rights supporters but failed to assuage the concerns of some conservative Republicans.”

For the sake of consistency, couldn’t the paper balance “abortion rights supporters” with “abortion opponents,” or at least call the pro-abortion side “liberal” in the same manner that it labels the anti-abortion side “conservative”? In all, conservatives are mentioned four times in the story, but the other side is described only as “abortion rights advocate[s]” and “abortion rights groups,” not liberals.

For the complete story, click here.

Questions

Read the definition for labeling in the right column under “Types of Media Bias”.  What is wrong with the labeling in the example below?


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
























Answer(s)

Both groups are not labeled equally. Either they should be “abortion supporters” and “abortion opponents”, or “liberal Democrats” and “conservative Republicans”, or even “pro-choice advocates” and “pro-life advocates”.