Identify the Party

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on February 2, 2011

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from the CNN.com news article "TSA Shuts Door on Private Airport Screening Program."
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was “neutral” on the program.

TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.

Though little known, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight. Among the airports that have “opted out” of government screening are San Francisco and Kansas City.

The push to “opt out” gained attention in December amid the fury over the TSA’s enhanced pat downs, which some travelers called intrusive.

Rep. John Mica, a Republican from Florida, wrote a letter encouraging airports to privatize their airport screeners, saying they would be more responsive to the public.

………..

Told of the change Friday night, Mica said he intends to launch an investigation and review the matter.

“It’s unimaginable that TSA would suspend the most successfully performing passenger screening program we’ve had over the last decade,” Mica said Friday night. “The agency should concentrate on cutting some of the more than 3,700 administrative personnel in Washington who concocted this decision, and reduce the army of TSA employees that has ballooned to more than 62,000.”

“Nearly every positive security innovation since the beginning of TSA has come from the contractor screening program,” Mica said.

………..

On Friday, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, lauded Pistole’s decision.

“Ending the acceptance of new applications for the program makes sense from a budgetary and counter-terrorism perspective,” he said in a statement.

 Read the original article from CNN here.

Questions

Find the example of bias by labeling in this blurb from the CNN article “TSA Shuts Door on Private Airport Screening Program”


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
























Answer(s)

Rep. John Mica is labeled (identified) as “a Republican from Florida” whereas his Democratic counterpart who takes the opposing view on private airport screeners, is identified as “Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee.”  Rep. Thompson is not identified by party.  Readers would most likely think he was a Republican as he is identified as the ranking member on the committee. The Republicans are the majority party in the House, so the assumption would be that Rep. Thompson is a Republican.  To be accurate, the reporter should have identified both Congressmen as Republican and Democrat respectively, and clearly identified Rep. Thompson as the “ranking minority member” on the committee.

NOTE:  A ranking member is the second-most senior member of a congressional or state legislative committee from the majority party.  Another usage of “ranking member” refers to the most senior member of a committee from the minority party. This second usage, often used by the media, should properly be referred to as the ranking minority member. (from wikipedia)