web counter Media Lies: If this isn't bias, then bias doesn't exist

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

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If this isn't bias, then bias doesn't exist

Howard Kurz published an article that, among other things, takes a statistical look at coverage of the Joseph Wilson story. As my readers will know, Wilson was feted by the old media when he "proved" that Bush had lied, but when it was discovered that, in fact, it was Wilson that lied and not the President, the media remained strangely silent.
Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's allegations that President Bush misled the country about Saddam Hussein seeking uranium from Africa was a huge media story, fueled by an investigation into who outed his CIA-operative wife. According to a database search, NBC carried 40 stories, CBS 30 stories, ABC 18, The Washington Post 96, the New York Times 70, the Los Angeles Times 48.

But a Senate Intelligence Committee report that contradicts some of Wilson's account and supports Bush's State of the Union claim hasn't received nearly as much attention. "NBC Nightly News" and ABC's "World News Tonight" have each done a story. But CBS hasn't reported it -- despite a challenge by Republican Chairman Ed Gillespie on CBS's "Face the Nation," noting that the network featured Wilson on camera 15 times. A spokeswoman says CBS is looking into the matter.

Newspapers have done slightly better. The Post, which was the first to report the findings July 10, has run two stories, an editorial and an ombudsman's column; the New York Times two stories and an op-ed column; and the Los Angeles Times two stories. Wilson, meanwhile, has defended himself from what he calls "a Republican smear campaign" in op-ed pieces in The Post and Los Angeles Times.
Here's the scores:
  • NBC 40 - 1
  • CBS 30 - 0
  • ABC 18 - 1
  • WaPo 96 - 2
  • NY Times 70 - 3
  • LA Times 48 - 2
Let's make this clear. When Joseph Wilson accused the President of the United States of lying, the old media covered it and covered it extensively - 302 stories. When the proof that Wilson had lied became available, the old media essentially ignored it - 9 stories. That's a 33.6 times as many stories repeating Joseph Wilson's lies as the number of stories exposing his lies.

There is no way you can spin this to be anything other than bias, plain and simple.

Hat tip to Captain's Quarters for this one.