Will the Media Report This Story?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on June 6, 2012

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from Newsbusters.org.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

(Adapted from John Bates’ newsbusters.org post on June 6):
The Obama administration has consistently opposed new, stricter voter ID laws passed recently by many states [some of which require a person to show photo ID before voting], complaining that many minority voters lack photo identification.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder have spoken actively against requiring ID to be presented at polling places.  They’ve maintained this stance despite the fact that a recent poll shows a full 70 percent of Americans believe voter ID laws are necessary to stop voter fraud.  Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department has gone to court to  block implementation of new voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas. In each case, the Justice Department has argued that the laws would disenfranchise minority voters.

The cover photo of Mrs. Obama's newly published book.

But the same people it says will be shut out from voting in November are apparently not welcome anywhere near the First Lady’s book signings for her newly published book “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America”:

On Friday, June 8th, those wishing to attend Mrs. Obama’s book signing must purchase a copy of the First Lady’s book at the Barnes & Noble in D.C. and leave it at the store, according to [an] employee. At the same time, customers must also submit their social security number and show an official photo ID (driver’s license, passport) to a Secret Service agent, and they will be issued a wristband to the First Lady’s event on June 12.

The media has attacked voter ID laws as discriminatory at best and racist at worst, contending that requiring citizens to show photo ID as a condition for voting will disenfranchise  minorities. [disenfranchise means to prevent someone from voting]

In December MSNBC gave a platform to former NAACP chairman Julian Bond, who charged of voter ID laws that  “They are racist in intent and aimed at vulnerable people in our population.”

[Will] the same media outlets comparing voter ID laws to the Jim Crow Laws…see any hint of hypocrisy here? [Will they] report the story at all? …

Questions

1.  Obviously the First Lady’s safety must be ensured.  Should the media, who oppose voter ID laws for “disenfranchising” some individuals, report the story of a photo ID requirement for Mrs. Obama’s book signing (a requirement which will prevent those same individuals from having the opportunity to meet Mrs. Obama)?  Explain your answer.

2.  By failing to report this story, is the media exhibiting bias by omission and story selection?  Explain your answer.

3.  Does the media display bias in the way they report stories involving Republican vs. Democratic politicians?  Ask a parent.