I’m a few days behind here on this topic. But it’s the summer.
In this week’s edition of the DTH (it comes out on thursdays during the summer) there was a front page story about Bush’s July 4th visit to Fort Bragg entitled “Joy, anger in Bush’s visit.” Go to the Web site and you can see some posts calling the article biased and some vehement defenses of the article. In the DTH general blog, summer editor Chris Coletta defends the article as well.
“It by no means ignores the president’s positive comments, which were definitely part of the story,” Coletta says. “However, it also finds a way to examine a different side of Bush’s visit — namely, the feelings it conjured up for a variety of people on an Independence Day that saw the country confused about a controversial war and a controversial leader.”
The article is 780 words long, of which 199 words were dedicated to quoting two of the protesters that were at the event, 319 words cataloguing a wife of a servicemen and two officer’s feelings about July 4th, and 262 words about what Bush had to say.
So, in a way the article is balanced. It gives equal coverage to Bush’s words, Bush’s detractors, and neutral sources. However, the 199 words quoting the protesters come in the first half of the article. And considering the fact that many readers just read the first half of an article, it’s easy to see why one might view this as biased. Furthermore, is an equal share of time given to detractors and neutral observers really balanced? There was somewhere in the ballpark of 15 protesters and thousands of soldiers at the speech. Should those two constituencies have equal air time? You decide.