image via New York Post

On April 29, 2024 the New York Post (Lean Right) published this headline: NYC firefighter, 36, dies of heart attack after being fired to pay for migrants — leaving his family with nothing.” In linking a heart attack death to immigration, the New York Post displays slant.

The article opens with, “An FDNY firefighter has died of a heart attack just months after he was fired as part of the city’s effort to free up funds for its migrant crisis — leaving his grieving widow and kids struggling to keep a roof over their heads.” The framing of the sentence implies that his heart attack was related to the migrant crisis. The New York Post does not mention that he had a previous heart attack in 2019 until paragraph four, showing bias by information placement.

The article quotes three people, Derek Floyd’s widow, the Uniformed Firefighter Association President, and the Fire Commissioner. 

The quotes the New York Post chose from the widow emphasize the hurt caused by the FDNY firing, saying, “I think it definitely took a toll once they let him go…If Derek would have stayed on, he would have had a life insurance policy with the FDNY…That would have helped out financially because right now, it’s really bad. I’m honestly swimming in a lot of debt.” 

The Post also quotes Andrew Ansbro from the Uniformed Firefighter Association, who said, “What disturbs me the most is that the FDNY is understaffed by hundreds of firefighters. Terminating [Floyd] was absolutely unnecessary…He was terminated so the department could prove that they were making cuts. He deserved better.” 

Choosing to include these quotes in an attempt to connect the actions of the FDNY with Floyd’s death shows slant and bias by viewpoint placement. The article does not include any quotes defending the termination or employment cuts as justified. Regardless of whether or not the firing is justified, it is slanted to connect the firing to the heart attack, especially considering a previous heart condition.

A quote from the Fire Commissioner, who says they are heartbroken by the death, appears at the very bottom of the article, following six quotes from the widow and two from the Uniformed Firefighter Association. 

The article also spends three paragraphs on City Hall’s budget cuts and their effects on the Department of Education and NYPD, without linking the relevance of the budget cuts to Floyd’s heart attack. While one could certainly make an argument that Floyd’s health issues were related to stress due to the firing, the New York Post never does this explicitly nor includes any evidence this could be the case.

Overall, the article emphasized critiquing City Hall for its spending habits and budget cuts, rather than solely on the death of firefighter Derek Floyd. It showed slant by only briefly mentioning Floyd’s relevant, previous heart attack, and spending the majority of the article focusing on his firing, which may or may not have been related to his death. The article also explicitly ties his firing to paying migrants, saying, “Floyd’s firing was part of City Hall’s plan to slash the FDNY budget by $74 million by the end of 2025 to make way for migrant spending.”.

Keep up with our Media Bias Alerts to read more about how the news uses bias to slant your view. 

Clare Ashcraft, Bridging & Bias Specialist at AllSides, Center bias.  

This piece was reviewed by Julie Mastrine, Director of Media Bias Ratings (Lean Right bias), Johnathon Held, News & Bias Assistant (Lean Right bias), and Joseph Ratliff, Content Designer & News Editor (Lean Left bias)