Eager Elephants

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on March 10, 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 11/23/09).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

The U.S. Senate, acting very Senately, voted 60-39 [in November] in favor of a motion to end debate on a motion to begin debate on its version of ObamaCare. It was a party-line vote, the 60 members of the Democratic caucus providing exactly the three-fifths required under Senate rules. Several moderate Democrats, including independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, have said they oppose the bill in its current form; a single one of them could have killed it by withholding an affirmative vote.

Here’s how the Associated Press reported the vote:

A bruising debate on health care awaits the Senate after Thanksgiving now that the historic legislation has cleared a key hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama.

There are 40 Republicans in the Senate (Ohio’s George Voinovich was absent Saturday), and no doubt they have a combination of motives for opposing ObamaCare–including, by the way, the merits of the policy. It may well be true that some of them are “eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Obama,” but for the AP to cite this as a summary of their motives is rather blatant editorializing.

We wondered if the AP had ever described Democrats as eager to deal President Bush a “punishing defeat” so we searched Factiva for the phrase. Nope. Over the past decade and a quarter, the wire service has described a boxing match, a yacht race, World War II, and elections in Japan, France and the U.S. Virgin Islands as having ended in a “punishing defeat.”

In all of those cases, the AP was describing a defeat after the fact, not imputing motives to one side in an active partisan dispute. So it would appear “accountability journalism” has broken new ground yet again.

Read the original post at opinionjournal.com. (Scroll one-third way down the page for the entry.)

Questions

Editorializing is another word for spin.  Read the definition of spin in the “Types of Media Bias” box on the right side of this page.  Do you agree with Mr. Taranto that the Associated Press was editorializing in their news report on the Senate vote?  Explain your answer.


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
























Answer(s)

Opinion question. Answers vary.