NYTimes Headline Reads “Airstrike Rekindles Somalis’ Anger at the U.S”

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 17, 2007

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-Read the excerpt below from Peter Hannaford's article posted at Spectator.org on Jan. 12.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

…the only reference to and “evidence” of “Somalis’ anger” in the entire article…occurs in the fourth paragraph [where] Deeq Salad Mursel, a Mogadishu taxi driver…is quoted as saying, “They’re just trying to get revenge for what we did to them in 1993” (referring to the Black Hawk Down incident)…

Meet Deeq Salad Mursel, Somalia’s new national pollster and spokesman. How do we know? Why the New York Times told us so in its January 10 edition. It ran an article about the U.S. air strike the previous day on a cluster of Islamist fighters trying to flee the country near the Kenya border.

The strike was widely reported as having been successful in killing several of the Islamists. Apparently, Ethiopian intelligence sources had provided the U.S. with information that a number of Islamist leaders — routed by the Ethiopian and Somali armies several days earlier — were going into the bush by convoy to escape capture. The air raid apparently killed about a dozen of them. U.S. military sources were careful not to claim proof that the dead included one or more leaders of the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, but were clearly hoping they would be able to do so in due course.

Would you have had any hint of all this from the Times’s headline? No. It read: “Airstrike Rekindles Somalis’ Anger at the U.S.” So that was the real story. And what proof do we have that this was the outcome? Why, none other than Deeq Salad Mursel, a Mogadishu taxi driver. Mr. Mursel is quoted as saying, “They’re just trying to get revenge for what we did to them in 1993” (referring to the Black Hawk Down incident). That is the only reference to and “evidence” of “Somalis’ anger” in the entire article — and it occurs in the fourth paragraph.

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Read the entire article at Spectator.org.

Questions

Why is this headline biased?


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
























Answer(s)

The headline is biased because it gives the reader the impression that all Somalis are angry about the U.S. airstrikes that targeted al-Qaeda terrorists in Somalia.  But the only evidence in the article to back up this assertion is the statement of one Somali.  If there had been widespread evidence that Somalis were angry, it would have been reported in the article.