Beginning on Nov. 2, 2011, CNN, CBS and ABC online all reported of the strike that was about to take place in Oakland, Calif. CNN reported that Tim Simons, the organizer of Occupy Oakland, stated that this movement is a “warning shot to the 1%” – referring to those who are held as the wealthiest in the country.
This quote was the one that inspired much of the writings from each of the sources on that Wednesday. Each journalist reporting about the beginnings of this strike referred to the protests as peaceful, as they were at that time. All three recorded the protest from a positive view, although the Oct. 25 injury to Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen caused a rift in the way that many people perceived the Oakland police.
Looking at these three initial stories, it was hard to see the way in which the reporters contrasted in their views. All three represented a straightforward article with ideas based on facts about the movement. Similarly, each of the journalists used some sort of pathos when writing about Scott Olsen – as they gathered quotes from the people on the streets to show how much of an inspiration he was to many other war veterans.
Moving into the next few days in November, reports of the protest turn sour as violence started to spring up between the demonstrators and the Oakland police. Throughout the different articles that were put out over this time period, CNN was very factual in all that they reported. It was hard to find much bias in the way that the journalists portrayed the information they sought out from the situation as well as the people involved. During the first day of the violence, CNN put out an article titled, “Oakland, NYC occupiers see violence, legal action.”
Following from a very direct title was a straightforward representation of what happened that day in Oakland. CNN was quite consistent in their reporting in this way. Looking onto the articles from ABC News, it was evident that the articles – though many not written by the same author – contained titles that suggested a more emotional appeal. For example on Nov. 3, Julia Kathan of ABC wrote an article entitled, “Occupy Protestors, Cops Struggle to Balance Conflict with Sympathies.” This title, as well as the many that followed, contained some sort of emotional appeal that gained the reader’s interest in a sort of way that was entertaining.
Jasmine Fitzgerald, a student at Colorado Christian University, examined a week’s worth of news coverage in November 2011 from CNN, CBS and ABC online, regarding the Occupy Oakland protests and clashes with police. Part of her analysis is above. She wrote this for our News21 course on “Persuasion and News in the 21st Century.”