October 24, 2002

Snipers and terrorists…

Yesterday I detected a few rumblings in the blogosphere about the lack of coverage of the hostage situation in Moscow. Is this evidence of some kind of bias? Yes, it is. Television news has what I would call a proximity bias: what happens here in the U.S. is more important than what happens elsewhere unless what happens elsewhere is happening to Americans.

Note that I confine this bias, for the most part, to television. Tonight I watched News Night with Aaron Brown on CNN. The entire show was devoted to the capture of the beltway snipers. A quick surf around the “dial” shows that networks are also giving far more play to the snipers than the terrorists. But there was prominent, above-the-fold, front-page coverage of the Moscow situation in this morning’s Kansas City Star. A quick check on the internet demonstrated that many newspapers gave the hostage situation similar play (yes, that’s really an unsupportable assumption about the print analogs). And it is no trick finding coverage–text, audio, video–all over the internet.


Action in Moscow via Reuters

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