Tuesday, March 10, 2015

An Apparent Example of Media Bias

The photo that The Times ran.


On Sunday, The New York Times ran a picture of President Obama and his family (along with a crowd of others) crossing the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The President was in Selma to honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's march in Selma that became known around the country as "Bloody Sunday." As part of the ceremony, President Obama gave a moving speech and marched in the footsteps of MLK and his original followers across the bridge. Although the image printed on the front page of The New York Times captures this moment perfectly, the news media decided to ignore the substance of the words below the image and focus on the cropping of the image itself - in an effort to prove the age old belief that the mainstream media is an elite liberal institution.

According to the traditionally conservative media outlet (ignore Groseclose's claims), Fox News, The New York Times deliberately cropped the former President and First Lady, George and Laura Bush, from the paper's Sunday cover image. This supposedly doctored image is apparently a prime example of the liberal media bias that infects America's mainstream news coverage. In fact, Fox News contributor and outreach director for FreedomWorks, Deneen Borelli, claimed that it was "a stunning example of media bias," but this is more of an opinion than fact. 

In response to these accusations, the Public Editor of The New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, published a piece that aired the complaints of many upset subscribers and third party commentators  Sullivan claimed that the Photo Editor at The Times, Michele McNally, had not altered any photos, but simply ran the photo that she was given from longtime Times photographer, Doug Mills, who had only sent one image - the one that appeared on the front page. Mills offers a fairly understandable rationale for only sending one image:


"Just so you know … at the time the photo was taken, I was using a 70-200 long zoom lens. I also had a remote camera with a wide-angle lens attached to the side of the truck that took a photo at the just about the exact moment as the tighter one. As you can see, Bush was in the bright sunlight. I did not even send this frame because it’s very wide and super busy and Bush is super-overexposed because he was in the sun and Obama and the others are in the shade."

The photo of both Presidents crossing the bridge.

Unsurprisingly, The Times believes that they did no wrong, citing the fact that the photo that included both President Bush and Obama was simply too "busy" and "overexposed," making it unfit for the cover page. I happen to agree with the explanation of the paper, but as I mentioned earlier, I have a bias to agree with my home city's flagship paper, so I am wondering what you all think? Was the 'cropping' of this image a prime example of the liberal media bias or just another baseless 'issue' drummed up by partisan commentators?

P.S. here is the video of my uncle Jonathan Steafel, the managing editor of the Daily Mail, getting into an argument on British Television and here is an article praising the Daily Mail. Just so both sides are covered.


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