Biased reporting 101

Jonathan Garthwaite
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Posted: Feb 13, 2007 3:33 PM

Sometime between third and sixth grade every school child learns the basic three-part essay format.  Basically it consists of 1) an introduction, 2) supporting facts,  and 3) a conclusion.

Well it seems the AP reporter writing this piece was listening in class that day.  See if you can follow along.

AP: House Members Joust Over Iraq War Policy

Introduction:

 The long-awaited floor debate came with Democrats now as the majority party there, the war nearly four years old and more than 3,100 Americans dead. In an issue the Democrats forced, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle argued about whether to publicly rebuke President Bush for sending 21,500 more troops into battle.

Supporting facts:

Democrats expressed confidence the measure would prevail and said they would attempt to use it as the opening move in a campaign to pressure Bush to change course and end U.S. military involvement in the war. More than 3,100 U.S. troops have died in nearly four years of fighting.

Conclusion:

In October 2002, just over half of the public _ 52 percent _ approved of Bush's handling of Iraq in Gallup polling. But Bush now faces a new political landscape. More than 3,100 U.S. troops have died and the justification for the invasion has been discredited with a majority of the public.

It seems to me the writer of the story performed a textbook three-part essay -- if their thesis was body bags. An "A" for technique.  An F for disguising bias.

UPDATE: The AP has re-filed the story after editing out the two extra body count mentions.   I guess that raises their "covert bias" grade to a C+.