When a tragedy strikes, the importance of the media rises dramatically. While the American media serves as an important democratic tool in conveying information to the American public, it is important to remember certain biases inﬂuence the media‘s coverage of global events. The differences between Fox News’ coverage and ABC’s coverage of the bombings in Pakistan on Easter Sunday illustrate some of the bias apparent in the mainstream media. While Fox News’s focus on the targeting of Christians in this attack largely supports the Republican ideological narrative in this election cycle, ABC News attempted to report more on the facts of the case and the response of major players in world diplomacy. While different biases exist between the two media sources, they share similar criteria for newsworthiness that influenced them to report on this story.
In addition, both media outlets exhibit similar characteristics in reporting foreign affairs and in the changing economics that drive the media industry, Overall, the Pakistan bombing coverage between Fox News and ABC News share media industry characteristics of criteria of newsworthiness, reporting of foreign affairs, and advertisement driven economics, but their coverage differed because of their conglomerate ownership and implicit biases. In their coverage of the Pakistan bombing, FoxNews.com published an article with the headline “Deadly Attack on Christians Kills 65]“ It appeared on the front page of FoxNews.com and described the bombing in Pakistan by highlighting the target of Christian communities on Easter Sunday. The article featured multiple first-hand accounts and interviews conducted with citizens of Pakistan describing the scene surrounding the explosion. Among the notable quotes, the police chief declared they were in a “war-like situation,” Z Also, this article printed the US White House’s full official response to the bombing in its entirety and described the aftermath in the area of the bombing.
In addition, Fox News attempted to link this incident to the larger war on terror by linking this Taliban inspired attack with the attack in Belgium orchestrated by ISIS. In total, Fox News provided an in depth account of the Pakistan bombing using eyewitness accounts of the tragedy and providing a political spin to paint this incident within the larger global war on terror, While Fox News tried to paint the Pakistan bombing within the global war on terror, ABC News used the humanitarian perspective to paint the Pakistan bombing as a tragedy This article, “Pakistan Park Attack Kills 65, Mostly Children,”3 illustrates the grave condition faced by many of the victims of the Pakistan bombing. It attempts to raise sympathy for the Pakistan bombing victims by embedding three separate photo albums within the article that showcase wounded children and women being carried to the hospital by Pakistan citizens.
It also paraphrased a statement by a spokesman for the terrorist group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar promising more attacks against Christians and provided limited quotes of the White House’s official statement calling it a “cowardly act” that “targeted innocent civilians“. ABC News also printed a sympathetic quote by State Department spokesman John Kirby offering the department’s “deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured.”5 Fox News and ABC News covered the Pakistan bombing differently because of their implicit biasesi To start, the Fox News exhibited an inclination to cover events in a political nature in what Graber and Dunaway would refer to as a presentation bias6 by embedding a video of Ted Cruz’s response to the bombing doubling down on his proposal to patrol Muslim neighborhoods in the aftermath of additional violence.
This shows Fox News’ preference for framing news stories in the context of the 2016 election cycle In addition, partisan bias exists, because Fox News emphasis on attacks against Christianity coincides with both Republicans Ted Cruz’s and Donald Trump‘s messages on increased condemnation of radical Islamic terrorism and defense of Christianity. On the other hand, ABC News showed their Democratic Party bias by playing to peoples’ emotions through pictures of injured children and by placing the story on its side scroll bar rather than on the top of its homepage as Fox News did. Clearly, the Fox News coverage and ABC News coverage exhibits partisan bias and amplifies the difference between the Republican Party’s focus on widespread terror and its effects on Christianity and the Democratic Party‘s focus on human rights. In addition to partisan bias, conglomerate ownership caused Fox News’ and ABC News‘ coverage of the Pakistan bombing to differ.
In Robert McChesney‘s article, Big Media Game has Fewer Players, he argues conglomerate ownership greatly affects media coverage due to cross promotion of different products under the same ownership with the rise of vertical and horizontal integration7 Fox News clearly exhibits this phenomenon as the top of the website highlights links to other NewsCorp companies such as Fox Business, Fox News Latino, Fox News Go, Fox News Radio, and Fox Nation while also featuring several different links and galleries as subtexts throughout the article. Meanwhile, ABC News’s toolbar focuses more on selling its news coverage with headings of Election, US, World, Entertainment, Health, and Technology. However, Disney’s influence on ABC News is apparent in its website layout that is an exact replica of fellow Disney company ESPN’s website.
As a result, the structure of the layout of the website itself supports cross-promotion and shows the effects of conglomerate ownership, While partisan biases explain much of the differences between Fox News and ABC News coverage of the Pakistan bodies, they exhibit similarities in criterion for coverage Among Graber and Dunaway‘s five criterion for newsworthiness that guide the mass media industry, both media outlets recognized the Pakistan bombings as a potentially lucrative story because of its violence, timely and novel nature, and the public’s familiarity with global terrorism.“ After one media outlet picked up on the explosions, many other raced to report in real time on the death toll and the public’s reaction. This coincides with Kalb’s theory that once a story is “Out There,” many media outlets race to cover it and report on new facts in order to compete with the other outlets.
Moreover, the media industry recognizes that violence and the death of dozens of people drive viewership and raLings for news outlets. This has contributed to widespread reporting on terror incidents throughout the globe, because they grab headlines that people are interested in reading. As a result, viewers are very familiar with the war on terror through increased media coverage of the rise of 1513 Clearly, both ABC News and Fox News exhibit the shared characteristics of newsworthiness in the mass media industry. Fox News and ABC News covered the Pakistan bombings in a way consistent with the general trend of coverage of foreign affairs by the United States mass media. First, the rise of new technology enabled them to increase their coverage of foreign newst While Fox News featured quotes of eyewitnesses of the blast, ABC News broadcasted photos of victims of these terrorist attacks due to what Bennett, Lawrence, and Livingston call “The CNN Effect.”“’
They assert new communication technology encourages coverage of live events and these articles provide support for their observation of technology—enabled, event-driven reporting In addition, both news outlets exemplified the idea of a semi-independent press by printing statements fed to them by the White House, The publication of the White House’s message also exhibits the core idea of indexing where “journalist index the range of viewpoints in the news to the divisions of power they perceive within various decision- making circles of government”” In this capacity, Fox News and ABC News functioned as a microphone for the ruling party‘s policies and informed the American people of the views of the people in poweri Bennett, Lawrence, and Livingston categorize this capacity to amplify the ruling power’s views as a failure of the semi-independent press due to the lack of an opposing viewpoint.“
Both the Fox News and the ABC News coverage of the Pakistan bombings were affected by the changing economics of the mass media industry In an industry driven for profit, both articles were cluttered with revenue generating advertisements and banner ads designed to sell a multitude of products to the readership. In this drive to attract the biggest audience possible, media outlets exhibit a tendency to cover negative news in large quantities when compared to all other kinds of news The placement of the story on the front page and main headline of Fox News’ homepage reinforces the idea that violence and death tend to sell stories to wide and diverse audiences. Therefore, both news sources exhibit an amount of sensationalism by providing juicy headlines in Fox News case and graphic pictures in the ABC News story with the intention of attracting new readers that allow the companies to turn a profit.
In total, while ABC News and Fox News operate under the same principles of the media industry, their coverage is affected by different biases and conglomerate ownership. Their partisan leanings and framing biases caused Fox News to paint the story of the Pakistan Easter bombings within the larger war on terror and ABC News to frame the story as a humanitarian tragedy. Moreover, conglomerate ownership clearly affected the layout and structure of the stories. However, both stories shared the same criteria for newsworthiness, industry trends for covering foreign affairs, and economics that challenge the media industry, Overall, while ABC News and Fox News continue to address the challenges facing a changing landscape in the media industry together, they differentiate and frame their coverage of stories due to their own implicit biases and priorities.