Crude Coverage

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on April 23, 2008

Jump to...

Print

Directions

Read the excerpt below (from Nathan Burchfiel's post at BusinessandMedia.org). Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the question.

(from the BusinessandMedia.org post):
The media are awash with historical flashbacks. Is this the worst economy since the Great Depression? Or is it a repeat of ’70s-era financial woes? For the most part, the comparisons have been less than accurate. But there’s one the media have missed: an old villain from the ’70s causing Americans grief over oil and gas.

Oil prices have soared to more than $100 a barrel and journalists are looking for someone to blame for Americans’ “pain at the pump.” They call “Big Oil” “thieves” and accuse them of reaping “excessive profits” driven by “greed.” But the networks ignore one of the big causes of high gas prices – the hostile leaders of the world oil cartel – the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The American people “know that companies like Shell are posting record profits,” NBC’s Meredith Vieira said to Shell Oil Company President John Hofmeister on the “Today” Show May 14, 2007. “Now, it may not be fair, it may not be right, but there is a perception out there in the country among certain consumers that the oil companies are a bunch of thieves, that you’re ripping people off.”

Vieira wasn’t alone in her thinly veiled hostility toward oil companies.

In an interview with Hofmeister Nov. 14, 2007, ABC “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts suggested that “in an economy when people are truly struggling to try and make ends meet, could you cut back a bit on your profit?” Roberts also criticized Shell’s investment strategies, asking if the company invests “enough” into finding alternative fuels.

Despite economists’ reminders that supply and demand are at work – that oil companies don’t set gas prices – the networks have hammered away at that point. But Roberts wasn’t urging OPEC leaders to “cut back a bit” on their profits.

In fact, network reporters covered oil companies’ profits 14 times as often as they covered the profits of OPEC – an actual cartel that controls supply and directly affects prices, according to experts like Ariel Cohen, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation who wrote in June 2005 that OPEC “facilitates” high oil prices.

Many Americans still remember the cartel’s embargo against the United States in 1973. It caused record prices at the pump and led to gasoline rationing and long lines at service stations. Record prices have returned, but journalists now depict OPEC as a market follower instead of a market manipulator.

In the last year, OPEC has increased production by only fewer than 3 million barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, while the per-barrel price of oil has doubled. Increasing production would lower the cost of crude oil by increasing supply to meet demand. … Go to BusinessandMedia.org for the complete posting.

Questions

1. What type of bias is the excerpt below an example of?


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
























Answer(s)

1. The excerpt is an example of bias by OMISSION, STORY SELECTION and SPIN.