At WH Request, Newspaper Censors Mildly Negative Sentence

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on May 4, 2011

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from Lachlan Markay's post at newsbusters.org on May 3rd.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

…The Pleasanton Weekly, a small newspaper in Pleasanton, California, revealed that the White House had asked that the paper remove a passage it felt reflected poorly on First Lady Michelle Obama.

And, amazingly, the paper obliged. It removed the passage, saying it didn’t want to make a “fuss.” The White House is grateful for the self-censorship, I’m sure.

…The Daily Caller reported on Tuesday:

In an email to The Daily Caller, Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly in Pleasanton, California, said that her paper “received a call from the White House asking us to take out part of the story because it reflected poorly on the First Lady.”

The story in question was a soft feature about Marine One titled, “Inside Marine One, President Obama’s helicopter,” that ran in the paper on April 20. Pleasanton staffer Amory Gutierrez “didn’t get to ride in ‘Marine One,'” she wrote in her story, “but I did get the VIP tour and took photographs of the otherwise unseen aircraft.”

She also wrote a sentence that the White House thought made FLOTUS look snooty.

“Basically the reporter said that the First Lady didn’t speak to the pilots but acknowledged them by making eye contact,” Allen wrote in her email.

Allen says she “complied” with the White House’s request “because it was not worth making a fuss over.”

She added, “I thought it was interesting, though, that the [White House] was concerned enough about image to contact a little weekly paper in Pleasanton.”

Questions

1.  Do you think that the newspaper should have complied with the White House’s request to edit their news story?  Explain your answer.

2.  Do you think it is wrong for the White House to attempt to alter what the free press publishes?  Would your answer be different if the president was George W. Bush?  Explain your answer.


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
























Answer(s)

1.  Opinion question. Answers vary.

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.