• Media Bias, Illustrated: Same Story, Different Headlines

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     The easiest way to see spin and bias is to see how different outlets treat the same story.

     In this case, the basic news is straightforward, or at least it should be:

    Trump Administration tells remaining 46 holdovers to resign as US Attorneys. Will name own people

    All administrations do that. The only real news here is that they did not do it soon after inauguration.

    But there was a good reason: the Trump Administration didn’t have its own person heading the Department of Justice. Senate Democrats had slowed Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General. Now that he is in place, they will put in their own people as US attorneys.

    There is a secondary issue about the process. The US Attorneys had not been given a heads-up, so the news surprised them. That’s part of the story, but only a secondary part.

    Who cares if they were surprised? The news is that the Trump Administration will install its own people to reflect their priorities, just as President Obama and Eric Holder did.

     Now, let’s see how the media convey that news.

    I am looking only at hard news sites.

    Neutral, fair headlines

    • AG Sessions asks remaining 46 US attorneys to resign (Fox News)
    • Jeff Sessions asks 46 Obama-appointed US attorneys to resign (Los Angeles Times)
    • Sessions seeks resignations of 46 US attorneys (USA Today)
    • Justice Department tells all remaining Obama administration U.S. attorneys to resign (Washington Post)
    • Fardon, other Obama holdovers out as US attorneys, Sessions says (Chicago Tribune; Zach Fardon is the US Attorney for Chicago)
    • Houston US Attorney Magidson among Obama appointees resigning (Houston Chronicle)
    • AG Sessions asks US attorneys, including Montana’s, to resign (The Missoulian)

    Biased, hostile headlines

    • Trump Abruptly Orders 46 Obama-Era Prosecutors to Resign (New York Times)
    • Way in Which US Attorneys Told to Resign Came as Surprise: Source (NBC News; special bonus for putting an anonymous source in the headline)
    • Report: Preet Bharara won’t survive Trump’s purge of US Attorneys (Syracuse.com; “purge” and “survive” are nice choices)

     And the Winner and Still Champion in the Heavy Weight, Biased-Reporting Division: 

    ⇒ Anger Mounts Over Handling of US Attorney Firings (CNN)

     

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