Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bias in the Media: ABC Case in Point

On ABC World News Tonight there were several stories that caught my attention, not for their inherent interest, but because of a connection I saw flowing through them.

President Bush’s approval rating is reported at 28%, the lowest of any “modern president” since Jimmy Carter’s during the Iran hostage crisis. The network assumes that we all understand, and are gratified, by this survey result. I do not see any explanation for an approval rating so low. Dad says the media has been browbeating the public with lies leading to disapproval of our president. They (and legislators in leadership) say that the war in Iraq is lost, which isn’t true unless our people tire of fighting and simply come home. There were no lies about Iraq or weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons have been found. The US is waging a war against our enemies that involves intelligence obtained in wire-tapping terrorist calls, and interrogating and detaining enemy combatants. Our war is long, pursuing the perpetrators of terror to the ends of the earth. Already the media paints these wicked men in more sympathetic terms than they deserve: they are insurgents, factions in Iraq, helpless against tribal feudalism, freedom-fighters and revolutionaries.

This story led into an analysis of how the Republican presidential candidates are affected by the public hostility toward the current administration. “No republican will win in 2008,” ABC emphasized by still showing the candidates on stage during their debate, before switching to video of Newt Gingrich who continued, “on keeping Washington as it is.” Therefore we are led to believe the case for a Republican president following this one is almost hopeless.

Later on the program, a highlighted story was that new laws force certain types of statistically still-dangerous criminals to live under bridges. This take on the issue grants them sympathy. These men, whom studies show to be more likely to harm the public than to reform, are properly the subject of laws designed to protect the innocent (and in case you needed a reminder, that’s most likely you) by regulating the zones in which shelters for them can be erected. Being a criminal is supposed to have negative consequences. That’s what discourages you from becoming one in the first place.

The coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to America entirely omits the reason for her visit and focuses rather on – get this piece of important news: the President’s wardrobe. First of all, our British neighbor is here to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown colony. Yes, I did say celebrate. However, this memorial occasion is not popular in the willfully history-ignorant media, so they won’t mention it. Secondly, the story presents the important international figure known as the President of the United States of America as a puppet dressed up to meet a glittering star – and that only because the women in his life cutely begged him. Honestly, a woman is interviewed showing his tuxedo.

Finally, a few-days-older story deals with the new push from evangelicals for church members to become foster or adoptive parents. You may say, “What’s wrong with that? How could the media possibly twist this enough for me to complain?” Their tone was grave. There could be problems with so many Christians infiltrating the foster care system. “Generally, foster children can be taken to places of worship unless parents who maintain legal rights say otherwise, but forcing religion on foster children is not allowed.

“ ‘The best practice is to give kids a good, loving home,’ said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York. ‘Some people interpret that to mean a good home as having a strong faith in it. As a parent, I get that. What I'm suggesting is kids not become a tool’ for evangelism.” (emphasis mine) Excuse what is the definition of evangelical? Aren't we the evangelicals allowed to follow that religion? I don’t know how you define ‘forcing religion,’ but I fear that the principle might be taken too far. And I note that the quotes in the second paragraph ended before the ‘for evangelism.’ It might be interesting to know if that is really what Adam Pertman intended. In any case, the movement is seen with suspicion of our proselytizing evangelical community.

Let’s review:
Conservative president is unpopular.
Conservative presidential candidates have little chance of winning unless they distance themselves from the current conservative administration.
Poor convicted criminals are forced into homelessness.
Queen Elizabeth came by to trick the president into wearing a tuxedo, not to celebrate a foundational event in our country’s history.
Danger: Evangelicals want to take over your world by adopting your orphans – and converting them, too!

Do you see a theme, a spin, here?

To God be all glory.

(I had intended to link to the ABC news website, but due to content blatantly shown on their homepage, as well as elements of the article summaries of the news spots I mentioned, being inappropriate, I have decided not to. I would like to, of course, give them credit on the news stories for which I criticize them.)


Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Although I am seriously not a fan of Bush, I see where you're coming from, and I agree.

Melian said...

I had another "deep" conversation, somehwat on this same topic, when I was babysitting with two ladies at church this past week. One of the ladies has recently switched political parties from Republican to Democrat after some forty-odd years because of certain things that have happened under Bush's presidency. And the other lady said "Do you think things would be better under a Democrat?? You'd just never hear about the stuff they'd do!" =) So true...