Which one is it?

by Roger Pynn

After just posting advice to potential CEO bloggers, which included staying away from personal opinions in a corporate blog, here’s a risky analysis of a set of Orlando Sentinel headlines. My purpose here is not to stand up for George W. Bush (who is depicted one way in print and another in the paper’s online edition), but rather to note that newspapers are at risk of losing their core credibility if they don’t start paying attention to details.

In its online edition this morning the Sentinel ran this headline after the president addressed a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in town:

“Veterans give mixed reaction to Bush’s speech in Orlando”

Those who picked up their Tropical Storm Fay-soaked paper in the driveway saw the same story with this headline:

“Bush finds friendly crowd at VFW event”

Convert to JPG?

In fairness to the headline writer, there is this sentence in the 11th paragraph (which by the way was the 6th paragraph on the jump page of the printed edition):

“Though the vets as a group cheered their commander-in-chief, several said afterward they had mixed feelings about the president many of them had voted for.”

The lead paragraph of both stories said:

“President Bush stopped briefly in Orlando on Wednesday to praise veterans, defend his decisions about the war in Iraq and argue that the nation is in the midst of a worldwide battle against terrorists that will affect America for years to come.”

The story also said:

“Though the president has been dogged by 30 percent approval ratings, he was greeted warmly by VFW members, a group that is mostly male, older and white. They cheered when he talked about the passage of a new GI Bill – which Bush initially had opposed – but saved some of their most enthusiastic applause for his remarks about terrorism.”

A solid editor would take a second look and ask why one headline was so different than the other. Is it any wonder why people question media bias?

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