Networks Out of Step with Public

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 19, 2011

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-Read the excerpt below from Julia A. Seymour's report posted at BusinessandMedia.org.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

In past month, ABC, CBS and NBC [left the] public’s opposition out of 93 percent of stories mentioning health care legislation.

The 112th Congress took office Jan. 5 and the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives planned to immediately tackle the unpopular health care legislation signed into law in 2010.

The Washington Post reported that House Republicans intend to vote on a repeal of ObamaCare Jan. 12, just one week into the new congressional session.

“ObamaCare is a job-killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs,” Brad Dayspring, spokesman for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was quoted by the Post.

That attempt to repeal has been mentioned in many network reports lately, but the public’s dislike of the legislation [was] missing from most ABC, CBS and NBC news stories between Dec. 5 and Jan. 4.

According to Rasmussen Reports, 60 percent of likely voters favor repeal of the health care law – for the second week in a row. Since the first week of December the percentage favoring repeal has not dropped below 55 percent, and has been between 50 and 63 percent since March of 2010. Those polls were not mentioned in any of the network stories referencing the “controversial” health care legislation.

Only four, out of 63 network stories mentioning ObamaCare legislation in the past month, said anything about public opinion of the bill. Only two of those stories, both by ABC, cited any polling data on the issue. In both of those mentions, reporters for ABC admitted that the bill is at “its lowest level of popularity ever” and cited an ABC News/Washington Post poll that found 52 percent of people oppose the bill.

What ABC “World News” and “Good Morning America” didn’t tell viewers was that the same poll found 59 percent of people favored a full (29 percent) or partial (30 percent) repeal of the legislation.

Multiple Polls show Support for ObamaCare Repeal

Polls mean a lot to the news media, at least when the results seem to support [their side of an issue]. In 2009, some news outlets touted a poll claiming that “nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option.” An Investor’s Business Daily poll found dramatically different results. They actually found 65 percent of physicians opposed to ObamaCare.

On March 24, 2010, NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” shows only cited a Gallup/USA Today poll that showed significantly more public support for ObamaCare than other polling done at that time. …..

Media outlets once again picked the poll more favorable to ObamaCare in September 2010 by hyping a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll indicating only 26 percent of Americans wanted a repeal of the health care bill, while ignoring Rasmussen’s findings that 57 percent favored repeal.

But according to PollingReport.com, even Kaiser Family Foundation’s findings are catching up. The Dec. 1-6, 2010 survey by KFF found 26 percent in favor of full repeal and 25 percent in favor of partial repeal – a total of 51 percent. But the networks didn’t mention it.

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Read the entire article at BusinessandMedia.org.

 

Questions

1.  What types of bias does the excerpt below highlight?

2.  What do you think of the major networks’ (ABC, CBS, NBC) apparant unwillingness to report on the American public’s view of the new healthcare law?


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
























Answer(s)

1.  The excerpt highlights bias by omission, spin and selection of sources.

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.