Cavuto: Media biased if they cover Iraqi insurgency, biased if they don't

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

On Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto complained that "the media is all over" the alleged Haditha killings but that there has been "virtually no coverage of the daily savage attacks by insurgents on Iraqi civilians and our troops." Onscreen text during the segment read: "Blatant Bias?" But Cavuto has previously alleged that "all you see in the media out of Iraq are the insurgent activity, our soldiers getting killed or hurt." In fact, he recently asked if "beheadings and roadside bombs, suicide attacks" in Iraq are "being blown out of proportion by the media." Onscreen text during this segment read: "Media Bias?"

On the June 1 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto complained that "the media is all over" the alleged killings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq, but that there has been "virtually no coverage of the daily savage attacks by insurgents on Iraqi civilians and our troops." Onscreen text during the segment read: "Blatant Bias?" But Cavuto has previously alleged that "all you see in the media out of Iraq are the insurgent activity, our soldiers getting killed or hurt." In fact, just one day before Cavuto claimed that the media have ignored insurgent attacks in Iraq, he invited Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on to Your World to discuss whether "beheadings and roadside bombs, suicide attacks" in Iraq are "being blown out of proportion by the media." Onscreen text during this segment read: "Media Bias?"

Previewing an upcoming discussion of the alleged Haditha killings during the June 1 edition of Your World, Cavuto asserted that "because of this incident last year, the media is all over it today." He then asked: "[B]ut where is all the coverage of the ongoing daily attacks on U.S. troops?" Later in the show, Cavuto reiterated his claim that the media have hyped the Haditha incident while ignoring insurgent violence against Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops: "[T]he media is all over the alleged incident in Haditha. The word 'massacre' splashed across the headlines in almost all major newspapers today across the globe, but virtually no coverage of the daily savage attacks by insurgents on Iraqi civilians and our troops." Then directing his comments to Fox News military analyst Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Cavuto commented: "You read everything. I know you are a voracious reader. You must have noticed the same thing I did."

But the previous day, Cavuto asked King whether the media pay too much attention to "insurgent activity" and if "dangers [in Iraq are] being blown out of proportion by the media" -- and he didn't challenge King when the congressman affirmed the media's purportedly "slanted" coverage. From the May 31 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: Well, beheadings and roadside bombs, suicide attacks -- we all know Iraq is a dangerous place, but are those dangers being blown out of proportion by the media? My next guest says, yes, they are. He says that the annual civilian death rate in Iraq amounts to 27 deaths per 100,000 people, and that your chances of dying a violent death are greater in places like Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Baltimore. With us now is Iowa Congressman Steve King. Congressman, good to have you.

KING: Thanks, Neil. I'm glad to be on board with you.

[...]

KING: It is dangerous for our military that are there [in Iraq], and yet it's not as dangerous for the public in Iraq as has been portrayed by the news media, which is my point.

CAVUTO: All right, bottom line, you're saying we're getting a -- a slanted view of what's going on there?

KING: I believe that.

CAVUTO: OK.

KING: I think we should always put it in perspective. And -- and if I could add, the risk to our soldiers is significant. But they faced far more risk in other wars.

CAVUTO: OK.

KING: For example, what profession, fishermen -- five years as a fishermen is about equivalent to one year in Iraq in uniform, to put that in perspective, Neil.

CAVUTO: OK. Steve King, very interesting. Thank you.

Cavuto himself has also suggested that the media have overemphasized insurgent violence in their coverage of the Iraq war. For example, while interviewing U.S. Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. James Helmly on the July 29, 2005, edition of Your World, Cavuto asserted: "You know, what surprises me is all you see in the media out of Iraq are the insurgent activity, our soldiers getting killed or hurt":

CAVUTO: Well, as the war on terror rages on over there, recruitment is up -- that's right, up -- a lot over here. Take a look at this. For the month of June, the Army Reserve is reaching its goal and then some. Joining us now, Lieutenant General James Helmly. General, good to have you. You know, with that uniform, not one tough question.

HELMLY: OK. Well, you're awfully kind. I get asked the tough questions by Congress.

CAVUTO: There you go, I guess. You know, what surprises me is, all you see in the media out of Iraq are the insurgent activity, our soldiers getting killed or hurt. And, yet, in the face of this, recruitment goes up. What -- that seems to be odd.

HELMLY: Well, first of all, I caution. I shy away from measuring progress on the month-by-month scale.

We do measure that. Frankly, we report those numbers by month. And that was a -- that was a good month. It was -- was good news. Having said that, my own judgment -- and I recently expressed this to Congress in testimony -- is, we need to begin to look out two to five years to set conditions for success. As our president said, we're going to be at this for a while.

And we have to, I think, adjust some of our policies and practices by which we recruit and retain soldiers to sustain the great force we have today.

CAVUTO: But you also have to counter the impression that we're getting bogged down.

Onscreen text aired during the May 31 and June 1 editions of Your World suggested that the media have exhibited "bias," in covering the insurgency -- and in not covering it. During a preview of the June 1 segment in which Cavuto claimed that the media have not adequately covered the insurgent attacks in Iraq, onscreen text read: "Biased Coverage?" During the segment itself, onscreen text read "Blatant Bias?" and "Why is media focused on Haditha & not attacks on U.S. troops?"

Yet when Cavuto wondered on May 31 whether the dangers in Iraq are "being blown out of proportion by the media," the onscreen text read: "Media Bias?"

From the June 1 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: All right, straight ahead, because of this incident last year, the media is all over it today. But where is all the coverage of the ongoing daily attacks on U.S. troops?

[...]

CAVUTO: The media is all over the alleged incident in Haditha. The word "massacre" splashed across the headlines in almost all major newspapers today across the globe. But virtually no coverage of the daily savage attacks by insurgents on Iraqi civilians and our own troops. So why is that? With us now is retired General Wesley Clark; he is also a Fox News contributor. General, thank you for coming.

CLARK: Good to be with you Neil.

CAVUTO: You read everything, I know that. I know you are a voracious reader. And you must have noticed the same thing I did.

CLARK: I see coverage every day of the attacks of U.S. troops and on Iraqi civilians. It's covered every day.

CAVUTO: To the degree that this Haditha scandal [inaudible]?

CLARK: I did not read Iraqi newspapers today, and I don't know how much that's a gotten coverage over there.

CAVUTO: Banner headline in [French newspaper] Le Monde, banner headline in London Times.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Neil Cavuto
Show/Publication
Your World w/ Neil Cavuto
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