EPA Official Resigns After Inappropriate Remarks — Networks Ignore It

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on May 2, 2012

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-Read the excerpt below from the Tim Graham's post at newsbusters.org.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

Adapted from a post by Newsbuster’s Tim Graham (original post date 4/30/12):
The Associated Press has reported that [the regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency for Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana], Al Armendariz, resigned after “Republicans targeted him” over his 2010 remarks on videotape comparing the his environmental enforcement strategy to Roman crucifixions. … Armendariz was appointed by President Obama in 2009.

[Armendariz was speaking about his view on going after oil and gas companies, which he compared to the method he said the Romans used when conquering a town. Armendariz stated the Romans would pick five people at random, crucify them and thus intimidate the rest. The implication was that oil and gas companies or any other entity the EPA would designate as a “polluter” would be chosen at random for punitive action, regardless of evidence of any wrong doing.]

The crucifixion remarks – exposed on Wednesday by Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe [of Oklahoma] – drew no coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, or the PBS NewsHour. NPR had no story on this, but mentioned EPA on Thursday’s Morning Edition on a gasoline blend with more ethanol. MSNBC offered nothing in their prime-time shows (where transcripts are included in Nexis). USA Today had nothing, and The New York Times kept it contained to their Green blog.

CNN touched on the story twice last Thursday – with a brief report on The Situation Room and a full report on John King USA. Candy Crowley played the Armendariz clip on Sunday’s State of the Union in an interview with two governors. The Washington Post had one story – on Saturday’s edition, page A-2.

“It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean – they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere and they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them,” Armendariz said on the 2010 tape. “Then that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.” …

[According to the Daily Caller, Armendariz apologized for the remarks April 25, conceding his words were “offensive and inaccurate” and he was committed to a “fair and vigorous” enforcement of environmental laws. This sentiment was reiterated by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Inhofe was not mollified by Armendariz’s apology. He announced an investigation of EPA action against natural gas operations in Texas, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania, presumably to see if they constituted “crucifixions” in the style noted by Armendariz.

Armendariz resigned from his job as head of the regional EPA office on Monday, April 30.  Watch the video of Armendariz’s remarks:

[Or view the video here:  http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=e96c8bac-802a-23ad-4aaa-b2100b330def ]

Questions

1.  What types of bias is the excerpt an example of?

2.  Why do you think the media chose to ignore this story (eg. because Mr. Armendariz was appointed by President Obama…because the media dislike oil and gas companies…because the media just didn’t think it was an important story…etc)?  Explain your answer.


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
























Answer(s)

1.  Bias by omission, selection of stories and spin.

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.