Keeping an Eye on the Biased Media

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Keeping an Eye on the Biased Media

As the Canadians and the Americans prepare to once again face off for Olympic Ice Hockey gold, it's interesting to take a look back at how the media approached their coverage the last time these two teams met on the international stage.

As the 2002 Winter Olympics closed, the whole world witnessed the Canadian Men’s Ice Hockey Team defeat the Americans to capture the gold medal. As is expected, there are many different journalistic approaches to reporting the outcome of this game; three articles about it make these different approaches clear.

The first article, titled “After a 50 year wait, Canada has gold medal again,” appeared in the New York Times and seems to reflect the Americans' view of the game. Starting with the title, which makes it a point to mention the 50 years since Canada’s last gold, the whole article is biased towards the Americans.

The title is biased because it directly comments on the long span since Canada’s last gold medal in its national pastime. It is almost a shot at the Canadians, questioning their ability in the game they love. The article excuses the American team multiple times, which is made clear when the author says, “Defenseman Brian Rafalski fell with an apparent skate problem.” The way that the author presents this event shows his biased view of the game. The article also points out the fact that “Canada caught a break by facing Belarus, a weak opponent…” while it makes the excuse for the Americans by stating, “But the Americans had to play a later game against a stronger team from Russia…” It becomes obvious that he was a fan of the American team and was trying to make some excuses for them.

By quoting US Captain Chris Chelios , “Yesterday, Mario’s quote said it was his game, or Canada’s game. We’ve listened to that. It might be the only game that they’re very good at, except for curling and a couple of other things. All kidding aside, they’re a proud group of players,” the author can give the article an American bias without coming out and saying it in his own words. The choice of this quote lets him present his own opinion of the game without saying, “I think…”

On the other side of this story, is the Canadians' view on the outcome of the game. An article in The Globe and Mail , a Canadian newspaper, shows an entirely different view of this game. The headline reads, “Canada will look at ’02 as golden ,” which is a more positive way to look at the Canadian victory than how the N.Y. Times portrayed it.

Following the positive angle, the first paragraph gives Canada credit by saying, “a new date was added to the country’s long and enduring hockey history”. The author then makes it a point to tell the readers “there were as many people cheering for the visiting Canadians as there were for the home side.”

The Canadian bias shows through when the author mentions “U.S. Coach Herb Brooks thought his team looked ‘more tired’ because it had a more difficult path to the final.” The author’s choice of this quote shows his bias, because he could have mentioned how the Americans clearly had a harder route to the finals than his own, but instead, he chose to use Brooks’ words against himself, portraying him to the readers as the coach that makes excuses when his team loses.

Presenting a more unbiased view on this game, I chose an article titled “Young and old lead Canada to gold ” from Espn.com . This article shows a broad view of the whole game and of the back-stories on both teams, not favoring either. The article mentions Canada’s “50 year wait” and the end to the U.S. team’s “70 year unbeaten streak” making it clear that both teams had a significant event occur due to the outcome of this game and not making one sound more important than the other.

The author does mention that “Canada had an easy route to the final, beating only Germany, Finland and Belarus, while the Americans twice played bronze medallist Russia,” but unlike the other articles, this is presented as pure fact without the quote that would have given the article a bias towards either country.

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