Media Double Standard?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on August 26, 2009

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below (from James Taranto's August 24th "Best of the Web" post at opinionjournal.com.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

Here’s a blast from the past. The New York Times, July 9, 2001, reports on George W. Bush’s first summer vacation as president:

On Friday, as new unemployment figures painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy, Mr. Bush placed himself in the same scenes–golfing and fishing in a New England paradise–that once caused his father electoral grief.

Simply amazing.

Here’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, dated July 6, [2001], that “painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy”:

The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.5 percent, five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the average for 2000.

As Barack Obama embarked on his first summer vacation as president last week–also in a “New England paradise,” Martha’s Vineyard–the most recent unemployment rate was 9.4%, more than double the summer 2001 figure. Covering the Obama jaunt, the Times offers no hint that there’s anything wrong with a president taking a vacation during a time of genuine crisis. Indeed, it offers this justification:

Mr. Obama, whom aides described as being amused by all of the gloom-and-doom prognosticating over his health care agenda, did not even consider skipping his vacation. Last year, he talked about the importance of taking a break to avoid “making mistakes.”

That makes sense–and in any case, it’s not as if the president actually escapes his responsibilities when he goes on “vacation.” But the Times’s coverage of Obama is a useful contrast to the paper’s petty partisan sniping against Bush.

Read the original post at OpinionJournal.com. (Scroll halfway down the page.)

Questions

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

2.  Do you agree with Mr. Taranto’s assertion that “the Times’s coverage of Obama is a useful contrast to the paper’s petty partisan sniping against Bush”?  (Does the NY Times use a double standard when reporting on President Obama compared to President Bush?) Explain your answer.


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
























Answer(s)

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

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.