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Friday, October 5, 2012

Wanna see BIAS in the news?

Today I went over to Fox News to see what they were saying about the debates and whether it influenced the polls. Most news organizations I've heard have reported that Romney's debate win did not move the polls in a meaningful way.

Yet, today Fox News disagrees. And it is the lead story! Here is what the front page looks now now, October 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm:

Click on the word surge and the story takes you here:

There Fox News suggests Romney has closed the gap between he and Obama, including in some key swing states.

But what I noticed on the front page was stunning.

It seems Fox News has started pointing out what they persceive to be bias in the media in its "BIAS ALERT" feature (they use capital letters, all red, to show examples). See the image below for what it looks like. I've circled two examples on today's Fox News website, which appear just below the lead story shown above:

The two stories I've circled suggest that, according to Fox News, bias in the news occurs when a reporter makes a point that suggests he or she is one-sided (and that a politician is biased because he offers a reason or excuse for Obama's poor performance in the debate).

In the first case, a Romney surrogate called the President lazy and the reporter "suggested" that he take it back (or at least that is what Fox news actually says on the front page of its website). To Fox News this is bias. But in fact if you read the story (here: she did not "suggest" anything. According to the story on Fox News itself, the reporter "asked" him if he wanted to take the comment back, probably in order to clarify his comment. Asking and suggesting are not the same thing, right? Heck Fox News doesn't really know what to call it, for they also say she "nudged" him to take it back.

Perhaps it is Fox News that is biased?

Don't think so? Well, notice the "story" below that. It is titled, "Liberals 'Freak Out' Over Obama's Debate." No bias there, right? That's a fair story to Fox News, I guess.

Finally, check out the top stories under the lead story on Fox News -- the one titled, "Surge" from the same Fox News web site today:


I've circled it to make it easier for you to see. Here, Fox News is taking stands on three separate political issues, offering their own interpretation of the facts. When they offer opinion labeled as opinion, that is appropriate. But when they offer it as news, this is not reporting. It is bias.

Right on the front page of Fox News.

Only notice they don't put, in large red letters beside it, "BIAS ALERT."

"We report. You decide." Right.

"Fair and balanced." Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure.

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