08 July 2008

Media Bias Can Sneak in if You’re Not Watching Carefully

By Glenn Fannick
Dow Jones Insight Staff

Here is an interesting observation we came across while conducting other analysis.

If you think news editors can’t have an impact on their readers’ perception of the news, consider this.

A July 6 news analysis by an Associated Press reporter paints a pretty negative picture of the state of the McCain campaign. “John McCain calls himself an underdog. That may be an understatement,” so states the lede of political reporter Liz Sidoti’s piece. McCain trails Obama “in polls, organization and money while trying to succeed a deeply unpopular fellow Republican in a year that favors Democrats.” The article goes on to point out some highlights, but it’s mostly gloom for McCain.

The article ran in several newspapers including the El Paso Times, The (Columbia) State, Myrtle Beach’s The Sun News, The Beaufort (South Carolina) Gazette and the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star. In every case, the headline that topped it was: “Analysis: McCain struggles to regain footing.”

Now, the piece also ran in Utah’s conservative Deseret Morning News (owned indirectly by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). There the headline seems to have lost the “struggles” (and the word “analysis”) saying only “McCain Regaining Footing.”

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