Every evening, nightly news crews face the challenge of coming up with an original and entertaining way of portraying a story that is being covered by numerous other news stations.  I found an October 10th story online about riots in Cairo, Egypt, occurring due to conflict between Muslims and Coptic Christians.  The story was being covered by every online news site, but I chose to only compare the stories covered by NBC and FOX.


The NBC story was right to the point, and filled with plenty of coverage of the riots.  The anchor gave a headline and went straight to a somber-sounding reporter at a desk.  The reporter said a few words on camera before the shot switched to the action, and he explained everything going on, stating that “at least 25 are dead, and over 270 wounded”.  There was an interview of the Egyptian prime minister at the end of the clip, and as he spoke, the reporter translated his words of wisdom directed towards the Egyptian citizens.  The only thing that was missing was a background of the violence.  It seemed as if it was expected that viewers already knew why the Christians and Muslims were fighting, but if they did not know, then the story would have somewhat of an empty feel.  On a good note, the story was completely unbiased, and had plenty of facts and action-packed coverage to keep an audience watching.

FOX’s story contrasted greatly with the way it was covered by NBC.  FOX’s video was very lengthy, surpassing four and a half minutes, where as the other was less than two minutes.  There was not nearly as much video coverage of the riots, and the few shots that were in the video were the exact same shots from the NBC story.  That is not an issue though, because there were probably not a lot of action shots to choose from.  The anchor stated that 24 people were shot dead by police, while at least 185 were injured.  It is unknown why the two news teams were so far off with the number of injuries, as the stories were posted at roughly the same time.  The anchor then introduced a Catholic priest and the FOX Middle East Analyst, who was lebanese and Christian.  Before either of them even opened their mouths, I knew that this video was going to be biased.  Sure enough, they were very informative about the victimized Christians, but they did not reveal why the Muslims were fighting them.  There needed to be a viewpoint from a Muslim, instead of both a Christian and a Catholic priest.   It is possible that it was biased like this because FOX notoriously is known to have a lot of viewers belonging to the “Christian right”.  Nonetheless, FOX had too much talking, and not enough footage and information about the riots to keep me thoroughly interested.

Not all stories covered by news crews will be biased like the one I reviewed; but when it comes to controversial stories, they tend to be.  Bias is not always a bad thing, especially when it is appealing to a group of similar viewers, but it is always important that a story keeps the attention of the viewers by providing quality facts along with good editing and camerawork.

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