Equal Treatment

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on August 29, 2012

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-Read the excerpt below from the "Best of the Web" post by OpinionJournal.com's editor James Taranto.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

From a post by OpinionJournal.com’s editor James Taranto (original post date 8/23/12):
“NBC News unsuccessfully went back to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to request an interview for this week’s prime-time special on the Mormon faith,” the Associated Press reports:

The newsmagazine’s [“Rock Center”] producers thought it worthwhile to examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the eve of one of its members becoming the Republican nominee for president. During the hour, correspondent Harry Smith does a piece on why Mormons are so successful in business and tours a Salt Lake City warehouse where a huge amount of supplies is kept for the needy. . . .

“What we set out to do very broadly is not an hour on Mitt Romney but an hour about the religion that has played a very important role in shaping who he is,” [executive producer] Hartman said Wednesday.

That sounds fine, but do you remember NBC’s 2008 prime-time special exploring the views of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ and its pastor, Jeremiah Wright? Neither do we.

Questions

[Background:  The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Obama’s pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, has a long history of what even Obama’s campaign aides conceded is “inflammatory rhetoric,” including the assertion that the U.S. brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism.” Wright preached that blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but “God damn America.”  Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”  Obama resigned as a member of Trinity United Church at the end of May 2008.]

1.  Read the excerpt below.  Why do you think NBC News did not also produced  “an hour about the religion that has played a very important role in shaping who Barack Obama is”?  Explain your answer.

2.  Partisan bias is bias that favors one political party over another.  Do you agree with Mr. Taranto’s implication that NBC News displays partisan bias in producing “an hour about the religion that has played a very important role in shaping who [Mitt Romney] is” but not doing the same for President Obama’s church?  Explain your answer.