Kennedy Airport Terror Plot Doesn’t Make NY Times’ Main Section

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on June 6, 2007

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from Clay Waters' post at newsbusters.org on June 4, 2007.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

…the terror plot in New York City to blow up airport terminals and fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport didn’t make the front page — or even the national news section — of Sunday’s New York Times. Instead, it received a front-page “tease” and topped the Times’ Metro section of regional news. By contrast, the Washington Post put the story on the front page, and the Los Angeles Times made it Sunday’s lead item.

The story by Cara Buckley and William Rashbaum went to some length to downplay the seriousness of the threat:

“Mark J. Mershon, the assistant director in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in New York, said all four men had ‘fundamentalist Islamic beliefs of a violent nature,’ although they appeared to be acting on their own and had no known connection to Al Qaeda.

“Law enforcement officials said that Kennedy, which handles roughly 45 million passengers a year and 1,000 flights a day, was never in imminent danger because the plot was only in a preliminary phase and the conspirators had yet to lay out detailed plans or obtain financing or explosives.”

Later, the Times described suspect Russell Defreitas, a former cargo handler at the airport:

“One law enforcement official played down Mr. Defreitas’s ability to carry out an attack, calling him ‘a sad sack’ and ‘not a Grade A terrorist.’ Comparing the case with the plot in which a group of men were arrested last month on charges of planning to attack soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey, the official said the New Jersey plotters ‘were a bit further along.'”

Of course, the Times did its best to downplay the Fort Dix terrorists as well.

Go to NewsBusters.org for the original posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Questions

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

2.  Why do you think the New York Times did not put this story on page 1, or even the first section of the paper?


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
























Answer(s)

1.  The excerpt is an example of bias by placement.

2.  Opinion question.  Answers vary.