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Study: Media used loaded language over WMDs

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posted on Apr, 21 2004 @ 09:03 PM
A study by a university journalism professor on the U.S and U.K media found most journalists accepted Bush's terminology and viewpoints on WMD issues, validating the administration's message. The study covered three periods; May 1998- the India/Pakistan nuclear crisis, October 2002 - the authorisation of military force by congress and May 2003 - after the 'mission accomplished' announcement.

Most journalists accepted the Bush administration's formulation of the 'War on Terror' as a campaign against WMD, in contrast to coverage during the Clinton era, when many journalists made careful distinctions between acts of terrorism and the acquisition and use of WMD," the study said.

The study, Media Coverage of Weapons of Mass Destruction, evaluated stories from 11 news outlets in the United States and Britain, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report. It also included coverage by National Public Radio in its two main news programs.

It's one more example of how a certain degree of informed skepticism should be the standard operating procedure for newspapers, for reporters or editors who work on them," said associate journalism professor Steve Barkin. "I think if we aren't lazy and insist that the assertions be backed up with facts, we wouldn't have problems like this one in which the bulk of the American public was misled.

Don't know about any bias from the professor, (though I'm sure it'll be implied) but the conclusion is pretty obvious to anyone who reads the papers. The point about the pyramid style of writing was interesting:

Part of the blame lies on the adoption of the inverted pyramid style of writing, Moeller said. The term refers to a form of writing that began with the advent of The Associated Press, an international news wire service, in 1848.

Stories in inverted pyramid style typically lead with the most important or prominent players in a news story - Bush, for instance. This has led to the domination of the Bush administration's point of view in news stories, Moeller said.

Alternative opinions are buried later in the story, giving them less credence than the initial viewpoints, Moeller said.

Barkin said most journalists know readers typically abandon stories after the first few paragraphs, but he also suggested readers should share some of the blame for being misinformed.

"Had they read complete stories, they would have at least gotten some sense of the doubts that some people believed in that came later in the story," Barkin said.

posted on May, 2 2004 @ 01:00 AM
I don't particularly believe in a Media "Bias" as much as the info-tainment. That is, the prevalence of news stations (cable and non) has lead to every station's pandering to the lowest common denominator. Thus, the more thoughtful bits of the populace (those of us with two IQ points to rub together) are left with a mindless mix of swill and treachery.

That is, it's not bias so much as too much attention to the wrong things. Media sensationalism. But people gobble it up like swine at the trough.

My biggest "problem" with the media is that those in the media (journalists, anchors, writers, et al) are not statistically reflective of the American populace as a whole. 80% of journalists are self-identifying "liberals," while only 49% of America's population is.

Again, though, this isn't even a weighty issue - if it were, you'd see more self-identifying "liberals" in thet American populace.
Or, and my misanthropy shines through -- perhaps people are just so lazy that they want their opinions in an IV drip to their barely-firing synapses? I suppose that's possible, too...

The rhetoric surrounding the war has, needless to say, been interesting.

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