N.Y. Times Iraq War Coverage Drops to All-Time Low

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on October 22, 2008

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Read the excerpt below (from newsbusters.org). Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

As the U.S. troop surge in Iraq has succeeded, leading to a dramatic decline in the number of U.S. casualties in that country, The New York Times’s coverage of the Iraq war also has declined, falling to an all-time low in the last two months, according to a CNSNews.com analysis of stories retrieved on the Nexis database. At The Washington Post, coverage of the war has been significantly lower this year than in previous years.

In the months leading up to the 2004 and 2006 elections, when U.S. casualties were running higher in Iraq, coverage of the Iraq war in both The New York Times and The Washington Post was greater than it has been in the months leading up to the 2008 election, when U.S. casualties have been low.

In August, September and October 2004, the months immediately preceding the last presidential election, The New York Times ran respectively 254, 328 and 383 stories that cited “Iraq” at least five times, according to Nexis searches of The New York Times. In August, September and October 2006, the months immediately preceding the last congressional election, The Times ran respectively 189, 215, and 223 stories that cited “Iraq” at least five times.

This year, the Times ran only 80 stories in August and 86 in September that cited “Iraq” at least five times. That is a drop of more than 60 percent from August and September of 2004. ………..

Coverage of the Iraq War in The New York Times and The Washington Post was relatively high at the beginning of the troops surge in early 2007, and stayed high while U.S. casualties in Iraq stayed high, but then dropped off after Gen, David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker testified about the surge in Congress in September 2007.

Both men spoke positively about the surge, testifying that it was producing greater stability, reduced violence and political progress in key provinces.  ……….

Read the entire report at newsbusters.org.

Questions

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

2.  Over 100,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq.  Why do you think the New York Times and Washington Post are reporting far less frequently on Iraq now that the news is good?


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
























Answer(s)

1.  The excerpt is an example of bias by omission and story selection.

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.