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Media Bias In Coverage Of Potential Defense Cuts

2472 words - 10 pages

In recent years, the usefulness of a large land army capable of fighting multiple fronts at once has been called into question when considering future funding. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released plans to cut back on military spending. The large cutbacks of the U.S. Military stirred up controversy regarding the usefulness of military programs such as the reserves, and the welfare of the families, as well as the sheer size and cost of the current military force. When reporting on this issue, many of the major news sources that tend to be more conservative supporting, such as Fox News and CNS, suggested their opposition to the cuts by focusing on the effects of the cuts on the service-men, especially their families, whereas the more liberal leaning news sources, such as CNN and The New York Times, suggested their support by covering the economic benefits of the cuts. The international sources, such as Reuters and Al Jazeera, had a much more objective reporting pattern, but did lean in opposition to the cuts.
Typically, the more conservative leaning news sources tend to oppose the bill, each showing their opposition to the cuts by focusing in on the families that are going to be affected and include reasons why the cuts stand to hurt the U.S. defensively. For example, Fox News, which ran three articles regarding the families, effects, and mistakes included in the cuts, suggests its bias primarily through the content. Fox News’ first article discusses where the money from the cuts will go. By including how “the CBO report[ed] that mandatory spending, which includes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, is projected to rise $85 billion, or 4 percent, to $2.1 trillion this year” (McKelway), and highlighting the specific three programs, Fox News gathers opposition for the bill due to its conservative leaning political support, the audience it addresses is most likely conservative leaning as well, and would be frustrated by the more liberal policies represented by these programs. The National Debt is also a weighted issue covered by Fox News. The author informs the audience that, rather than going down, the debt interest will continue to increase until “we are going to be spending more in interest in a couple of years than we do on our national defense” (McKelway). The inclusion of this fiscal information is used to make the reader question whether or not the US is making the best use of these cuts, and to eventually help the opposition to the cuts gain some strength. In Fox News’ second article, Fox News covers former Vice President Cheney’s statement against the cuts. Fox News includes the quote from Cheney that the cuts “are ‘absolutely dangerous’ and would cause long term damage to the military” (Former Vice President) in order to show support, or lack of criticism for Cheney who is openly opposing these cuts. Why would a news source cover a topic that they do not support, without any criticism? This is a clear showing of opposition due to...

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