Monday, August 23, 2010

By Explaining the Details of the Proposed Mosque, Are Journalists Showing Their Bias?

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS issued a memo to staffers last week regarding how the proposed Lower Manhattan mosque should be referenced in their coverage. Among the directives was a change in what the mosque would be called - rather than simply the "ground zero mosque," the AP told staffers to refer to it as the mosque "near" ground zero.

"The nearness of the mosque to the WTC site is, of course, at the root of the whole controversy," wrote AP standards editor Tom Kent. "There's nothing we would or could do to conceal that. But 'ground zero mosque' leaves the impression that the mosque is right where the World Trade Center stood. In fact, the site of the proposed mosque and Islamic center is not at ground zero, but two blocks away in a busy retail area."

Opponents of the mosque immediately jumped on the AP, saying they were taking sides in the issue (generally, the liberal/ Democratic/ pro-Muslim-side). Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin called the AP memo "a re-tread of a pro-mosque talking points memo."

The AP responded to criticism by saying they are only providing factual information.

"Readers are entitled to know the geographical facts of the situation," Kent continued. "Then they can judge it for themselves."

Are they taking sides by clarifying the situation?

4 comments:

Christopher Malo said...

If a news outlet giving clarification and factual information could even be suggested to be taking sides, we are more fucked than I thought we were. And I happen to think we are pretty fucked...

Ruth K. said...

"Factual information" can still be very biased, because dependent on bias, certain factual information will be provided, and other factual information ignored. The AP is using this so-called factual information to further a certain agenda. By excusing this memo as merely factual agenda, they may be seeking to fool folks.

Either way, the mosque is very very close to ground zero, and I personally think that those muslims building the place would do well to be more sensitive to recent events and sentiment pertaining to that immediate area. It seems they lack tact, at the very least.

Ruth K. said...

Doug Powers is funny...

Patrick said...

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-23-2010/the-parent-company-trap