Which names do you know?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on May 22, 2014

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from the one news report the Associated Press did on this story
(on May 4).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

andrew-tahmooressi

From a May 4 Associated Press article:

A Marine veteran jailed in Mexico on weapons charges for allegedly bringing guns across the border said he never intended to leave the country but missed an exit when heading to meet friends in a border town.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, said he was headed to dinner in San Ysidro (near San Diego) on March 31 when he mistakenly wound up at a border crossing point in Tijuana, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.

“I was going to call them after I drove off the exit, but I never got off the exit, I blew right past it,” he told the newspaper in an interview from jail. “I wasn’t paying attention, thinking I had way farther to go. I ended up in Mexico with no way to turn around.”

He said Mexican authorities found three guns inside the truck he had recently driven from Florida to make a new start in San Diego. He was jailed ON MARCH 31, and is now being held in Tijuana’s La Mesa Penitentiary without bail. Tahmooressi’s evidentiary hearing is scheduled for May 28.  There is no information on when his trial might be held.

[A day or two after Tahmooressi was arrested] Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter wrote a letter asking Secretary of State John Kerry to secure Tahmooressi’s release. State Department officials said they were aware of an arrest of a U.S. citizen in Mexico, but they do not comment on arrests of private individuals without the person’s permission.

Similar cases have occurred before. In 2008, an active-duty Army soldier was jailed in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, for driving into Mexico with guns, knives and ammunition. In 1999, a Marine was detained in Tijuana for two weeks after driving into Mexico with guns, the newspaper reported.

If Tahmooressi is convicted, he faces six to 21 years in a Mexican prison, his lawyers said, adding that alternatively the case could be dropped if the Mexican attorney general’s office in Mexico City requests dismissal.

Tahmooressi served four years in the Marines, including two tours in Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in November 2012.

Aside from StudentNewsDaily’s Daily News Article on Sgt. Tahmooressi (from a FoxNews report)

Questions

1.  Do a google search for “news” for the following names/terms.  For each of the following, Note the number of search results  AND  List the names of the news websites for the top ten results. (Pay attention to the dates for these top 10 stories also)

  1. kidnapped girls Nigeria
  2. Oscar Pistorius trial
  3. Rory McIlroy calls off wedding
  4. Kim Kanye wedding
  5. Johnny Manziel

2. Do a google search for Andrew Tahmooressi under “news.”
a) How many news stories are listed?  How many follow-up stories has the AP or any major news outlet (apart from FoxNews) done on this story after the AP’s initial May 4 story?
b) List the names of the news outlets who have done stories on Andrew Tahmooressi (apart from Fox News and Greta van Susteren).

3.  What type of media bias is the virtual blackout on Tahmooressi’s plight an example of?

4.  List some of the questions news organizations should be asking; some of the angles they could investigate on this story.  (Apart from Greta van Susteren, who is doing any investigative reporting on this important news story?)


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
























Answer(s)

1.

  1. kidnapped girls Nigeria 53,400 – top 10 results: CNN, Reuters, The Atlantic, Time, FoxNews, ABC, CNN, CNN, Reuters, Washington Post (as of 4pm May 22)
  2. Oscar Pistorius trial 51,400 – top 10 results: CNN, News24, The Guardian, NYTimes, Times Live, FoxNews, International Business Times, NY Daily News, CNN, Los Angeles Times
  3. Rory McIlroy calls off wedding 61,000 – top 10 results: ESPN, Mashable, YahooSports, Time, SkyNews, Telegraph, Metro, Bangor Daily News, CBC, NY Daily News
  4. Kim Kanye wedding 127,000 – top 10 results: ABC News, NY Daily News, TMZ, Telegraph, US News, Fox News, ABC News, Radar Online, US Magazine, Time
  5. Johnny Manziel 93,900 – top 10 results: Fox Sports, The Plain Dealer, CBS Sports, ESPN, NFL, Sporting News, The Plain Dealer, The Plain Dealer, NFL, CBS Local

2. a) news stories – 1,690
follow-up stories – answers vary: none to not very many.
b) news outlets with stories on Andrew Tahmooressi (apart from Fox News and Greta van Susteren):  Latin Post, The Blaze, CBS Local, one Los Angeles Times and one CNN story and some local TV affiliates.

3.  The non-reporting on Andrew Tahmooressi is an example of bias by:
story selection and omission.

4.  some of the questions news organizations should be asking; some of the angles they could investigate on this story:

  • Is the U.S. government doing anything to help Tahmooressi?
  • The AP reported, “State Department officials said they were aware of an arrest of a U.S. citizen in Mexico, they do not comment on arrests of private individuals without the person’s permission.” Has the State Department sent anyone to assist Tahmooressi?
  • What is the protocol? If an American citizen, (who is also an honorably discharged U.S. military veteran), appears to have been wrongly imprisoned by a U.S. ally and is asking for help, what is U.S. government procedure for aiding such a case?
  • Has anyone asked President Obama about this directly during a press briefing? If so, why not?
  • What, if anything has Secretary of State John Kerry done in response to Rep. Duncan Hunter letter asking Secretary Kerry to secure Tahmooressi’s release?

No other major media outlet appears to be conducting any investigative reporting on this story.