25 September 2005
How to write a biased media article 101 (You listening Brian?)
SFGate.com (a.k.a. The San Francisco Chronicle) is running a piece titled (by SFGate) "Pro-War And Anti-Sheehan" about the recent "Families United For Our Troops And Their Mission" rally in Washington D.C. The piece is not so subtly biased (I mean, the SFGate title alone shows the slant), but let's break it down:

1) In the first paragraph, talk about how few people were there, make a reference to the large number of people at the "anti-war" rally the day before:
"Support for U.S. troops fighting abroad mixed with anger toward anti-war demonstrators at home as hundreds of people, far fewer than organizers had expected, rallied Sunday on the National Mall just a day after tens of thousands protested against the war in Iraq."

2) At every opportunity, mention Cindy Sheehan and her message (disguise it as backgrounder information) also mention the other protest...bump up the attendance numbers this time though:
"Many demonstrators focused their ire at Cindy Sheehan, the California woman whose protest near President Bush's Texas home last summer galvanized the anti-war movement. Sheehan was among the speakers at Saturday's rally near the Washington Monument on the western part of the mall, an event that attracted an estimated 100,000 people."

3) Quote someone who was at the rally, but only one sentence of what they said...but mention Cindy Sheehan again first:
"Melody Vigna, 44, of Linden, Calif., said she wants nothing to do with Sheehan and others at nearby Camp Casey, an anti-war site set up to honor her son, Casey, who was killed in Iraq.
'Our troops are over there fighting for our rights, and if she was in one of those ountries she would not be able to do that,' Vigna said."

3) Now mention one of the speakers and refer to her as "one of the many military wives who spoke during the rally", don't mention the parents, siblings and spouses of fallen troops who also spoke at the rally and who were countering Sheehans statements and claims:
"The husband of Sherri Francescon, 24, of Camp Lejeune, N.C., serves in the Marine Corps in Iraq. One of the many military wives who spoke during the rally, Francescon said that the anti-war demonstration had left her frustrated.
'I know how much my husband does and how hard he works, and I feel like they don't even recognize that and give him the respect he deserves,' Francescon said. 'I want him to know and I want his unit to know that America is behind them, Cindy doesn't speak for us, and that we believe in what they are doing.'"

4) Mention again how small the rally was:
"Organizers of Sunday's demonstration acknowledged that their rally would be much smaller than the anti-war protest but had hoped that as many as 20,000 people would turn out."

5) Mention the "anti-war" protest from the day before...again...and use some glowing praise this time:
"On Saturday, demonstrators opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion. The rally stretched through the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the mall."

6) Just to make sure everyone believes that only a small percentage of people could possibly be in support of the troops and their mission, mention some "national polls"...but only provide data about one...and don't actually link to it or anything (not that I can either, AP/Ipsos charges for their polls, unfortunately yours truly is not considered a member of the media so I can't get them for free either), don't talk about the margin of error or the sample size (not that most Americans are taught basic statistics anymore (thanks liberal education system!):
"National polls have found steadily declining support for the war in Iraq, with a majority of Americans now believing the war was a mistake.In an AP-Ipsos
poll this month, only 37 percent approved or leaned toward approval of how Bush has handled the situation in Iraq; strong disapproval outweighed strong approval
by 2-1, 46 percent to 22 percent."

7) Just to make sure your message gets out there, provide links to websites for more information...you know, sites about the groups that were in the rally. What? International ANSWER wasn't in the rally nor mentioned in the article? Pishaw! Provide a link anyway! Don't forget to link to Cindy Sheehan as well! Just to present "objectivity" give the actual organizers of the rally a link as well...just put it last after the other two who have nothing to do with the rally.
"On the Net:
ANSWER Coalition:
Gold Star Families for Peace:
United for our Troops:

See Brian, that's a classic example of not so subtle media bias. Let's debate that a bit shall we? Not that I expect you'll mention this posting on TBAIT
A Republican in San Francisco (Yes, he's under deep cover) relays his tales of interest... ...ok, "interest" is a strong and subjective word but you get the point.
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