Every week we highlight a news story where the coverage showed so much contrast that it revealed bias.
This week a video of candidate Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser got a great deal of attention and news sources were flying their bias flags high.
Here’s what we noticed...
On the right, in the story With Video Leak, Romney Goes Back to Bold Approach, Fox News reported that when Romney said that “he won’t get the votes of the 47 percent who pay no federal income taxes and isn’t going to try,” his words were "pretty close to right" and “on message.” The focus on the Fox article is to contrast this with Obama’s 2008 leaked fundraiser quote about his problems in a Pennsylvania primary contest resulting from “bitter voters who ‘cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them.’” The Fox story argues that, unlike Mitt Romney, Obama was speaking in contradiction to his 2008 campaign message of inclusivity.
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On the left, the Huffington Post story, Mitt Romney's 47 Percent Remarks: Wrong on the Facts, Not Just the Rhetoric, focused on different words and a different message from the video. Huffington’s story reported that Romney said “nearly half of Americans are ‘dependent’ on government and believe they are ‘victims’ who are ‘entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to-you-name-it.’” The story went on to state that his declaration that 47% of Americans do not pay income taxes is not true. They report that the “Tax Policy Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have pointed out that the large majority of Americans pay federal taxes when payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare are included.”
The Fox news reporter uses the Romney video leak story primarily to make the case that the quotes are truthful and that Obama said something much worse at a 2008 fundraiser. The story begins with a large (5 sentences) direct quote from the Romney video and in the first paragraph includes Obama's quote from his fundraiser.
The Huffington Post story used the video leak to say that Mitt Romney’s comments show he “insulted half the American people” and is “happily unaware” of the facts about who pays what taxes. The story begins with the Huffington Post paraphrasing Romney's overall remarks, inserting words and phrases quoted in the video.
To be clear, it's not the role of AllSides to agree with either side. We just want to say, "Hey, these news stories could not have been more different - that implies bias that keeps the public from hearing the full story unless they happen to read multiple sides."
Did you notice any news bias this week?
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