More Accountability Journalism

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on November 25, 2009

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from the November 19th "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.

An Associated Press dispatch, written by Erica Werner and Richard Alonso-Zaldivar, compares the House and Senate ObamaCare bills. We’d like to compare this dispatch to the AP’s dispatch earlier this week “fact checking” Sarah Palin’s new book. Here goes:

Number of AP reporters assigned to story:

  • ObamaCare bills: 2
  • Palin book: 11

Number of pages in document being covered:

  • ObamaCare bills: 4,064
  • Palin book: 432

Number of pages per AP reporter:

  • ObamaCare bill: 2,032
  • Palin book: 39.3

On a per-page basis, that is, the AP devoted 52 times as much manpower to the memoir of a former Republican officeholder as to a piece of legislation that will cost trillions of dollars and an untold number of lives. That’s what they call accountability journalism.

Read the original post at OpinionJournal.com.

Read an analysis of the AP’s fact-checking report on Palin’s book at the Columbia Journalism Review website.

Questions

1.  From their website, the fundamental mission of the Associated Press (AP) is “to provide state, national and international news, photos, graphics, broadcast and online services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity to its domestic owners as economically as it can. News bearing the AP logotype is expected to be accurate, balanced and informed.” (ap.org/pages/history/mission.htm)
a) Why do you think that the Associated Press (AP) spent so much more manpower on fact-checking former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s book than on the Health Care Reform legislation? 
b) Ask a parent the same question.

Read an evaluation of the AP’s new policy of “Accountability Journalism” at pajamasmedia.com and opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110010205.


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
























Answer(s)

1. a) and b) Opinion questions. Answers vary.