Critiquing article coverage

Two news articles that I decided to compare and contrast were both covering the background of the shooters in the recent and devastating San Bernardino mass shooting.  I chose to analyze an article from Fox News and one from CNN. Both news articles attempt to give information on the shooters to the reader, however, the way the shooters are described are vastly different in each rendition of the story.

Firstly, Fox News has this story running as their headlining piece, reading: “A COUPLE HELL BENT ON JIHAD? Husband & wife Muslim gunmen who carried out massacre that killed 14 left pipe bombs, ran ‘IED facility’-will FBI now call it an act of terror?” CNN has this as their front running story as well, however the title is not as descriptive: “Who were the husband and wife who killed 14?” Both titles obviously frame the reader in a specific way; to either be fearful of Muslim Americans ‘on the verge of mass terror attacks,’ or to question the motives of the shooters. Either way, I personally believe that both titles are insidious ways that put the reader in a biased position and highlight both authors’ lack of objectivity.

In addition, throughout the articles the authors attempt to describe the shooters, analyze their strategies and motives, and basically glorify them with recognition, while both authors lose sight of the victims. In the Fox News article, there are multiple instances where the author mentions that the man shooter was a devout Muslim, grew out his beard, and he and his wife were “hell-bent on jihad.” The CNN article focuses on a break down of the shooters’ life (mainly the man’s), their possible motives, and their deaths.

Overall, both articles present extremely problematic stances and continue to be drenched in different forms of journalistic and news outlet bias: Fox’s being the Islamophobic sentences and slurs used and perpetuating a fear of Muslim Americans by using specific language, and CNN’s being the fact that the author is basically putting the shooters on a pedestal and creating a blueprint of what they did, how, and why they did it.


Critiquing article coverage

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