Analyzing Newspaper Bias

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 31, 2016

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Submitted: July 31, 2016

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I analyzed the Army’s decision to commission women as infantry or armor officers using articles the Washington Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. The social issue of women in combat is one of high concern in the federal government. New rules issued last month required all combat roles to include female service members. In terms of bias, two of the articles stood out to me. The Washington Post was especially negative in its coverage on the Marine Corps’ decision regarding the Pentagon’s request on opening these jobs to women. On the other hand, the Washington Times had more of a positive bias towards the decision. The Los Angeles Times had no direct bias towards the topic and was nonpartisan. Although all three articles covered the same announcement, each differed it its approach to convey the message.

While researching this topic, I did not come across much controversy on the issue itself. Each article explained that twenty-two female lieutenants, who are about to graduate from their respective ROTC programs, will be commissioned into ground combat roles. Thirteen of these women will enter as armor officers and nine will head to the infantry, roles that were previously closed off to all females.

The Washington Post took a different approach to the topic while stating, “all 29 women who have tried to complete the Marines’ version of the course have failed.” After the announcement was made, the article continued to say that the Marine Cops decided the male counterparts “outperformed” their female peers after conducting an experiment. Although it was not the author of the article who concluded these evaluations, he failed to provide any further information or statistics that showed any nonfulfillment. He ended the article by pointing out the women who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, stating that they have performed on and near the front, but often as supporting roles. After reading the entire article and comparing it to the other two, I found a more negative outlook towards the issue.

The Washington Times was also slightly bias about the topic. The article usedsentences such as, “The move is a major milestone on the road to fully integrating women into combat jobs” and “The army is taking a leadership position by placing females in combat roles, previously not open to them.” When analyzing this piece, I found that the author covering the topic was more in favor of this announcement. The Los Angeles Times, however, took a general approach towards the matter by only stating facts and appropriately staying objective.

Only one of the articles, the Los Angeles Times, provided a balanced perspective on the policy. The Washington Post and Washington Times, failed to do so. The negative article indirectly sided with the ideology of not wanting the new commission, while the more positive approach favored the change. I have uncovered both negative and positive bias in two of the three news reports I came across, with only one of them being completely unprejudiced. American print journalism has the power to influence what individuals believe and trust. Speaking as a student in the College of Journalism and Communications, it is our job to provide solely factual information and let America form their own opinion towards each matter.

 

Bibliography

Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. "Army to Commission First 22 Female Officers into Ground Combat Roles." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/04/15/army-to-commission-first-22-female-officers-into-ground-combat-roles/>.

 

Howell, Kellan. "Army Approves First 22 Female Officers for Ground Combat Jobs." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/apr/15/army-approves-first-22-female-officers-ground-comb/>.

Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-army-first-women-commissioned-as-infantry-armor-officers-20160415-story.html>.


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