My takeaway from major media coverage of the Herman Cain controversy was that they are all biased in their own way.
Overall, CNN was more prone to blame Cain [for allegations of sexual harassment against him] rather than defending him as a victim. While there was some bias in the articles, it was based upon fact and CNN did a good job of painting a picture of both sides of the issue. While reading Fox News, I noticed there were a lot more words [portraying him as] victim and expressions used that defended Cain. With the reports, there were also a lot of videos that are interviews with Cain and show him as being a great and loving guy.
While reading The New York Times, I was aware of the liberal standpoints of most of the reporters. However, I did not think that there was much bias within the articles. Most of the articles were very straightforward with facts and very broad on the subject matter concerning Cain. The articles did not focus on defending or accusing Cain. The title of the first article that I read was “Cain Confronts Claim From ‘90s of Sexual Harassment.” Overall, The New York Times did a wonderful job of being unbiased in terms of reporting the Cain scandal.
The influence that these articles had on me was definitely to blame the media for how big this issue has gotten. I appreciate that Fox was defending Cain, but as William Bennett wrote on CNN, we need to accuse based on the evidence rather than the difference of our political opinions. I believe that it is fine to have opinions, as long as they are stated as opinions and not facts. The New York Times reporters did a good job of this and I felt that they were the most unbiased toward this issue.
McKenzie Hughes, a student at Colorado Christian University, examined a week’s worth of news and opinion coverage from late October and early November 2011 on CNN, Fox News and The New York Times, regarding the sexual harassment allegations against then-GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain. Part of her analysis is above. She wrote this for our News21 course on “Persuasion and News in the 21st Century.”