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Thursday, October 23, 2008

An example of bias in journalism

Here's an example of a common form of bias in today's paper:

Gas prices fell as low as $3.04 a gallon at some stations in Indianapolis on Tuesday, which sounds like good news but may actually be a sign of a worsening economy.

Some analysts say the price drop could mean the nation is falling deeper into economic turmoil, with demand for oil decreasing worldwide as consumers and businesses cut back consumption.


Did you see the following article several months ago?

Gas prices rose as high as $4.15 a gallon at some stations in Indianapolis on Tuesday, which sounds like bad news but may actually be a sign of a strengthening economy.


If you remember, gas prices were below $1 a gallon while southeast Asia was in a financial crisis, thus reducing demand, but that had little bearing on the U.S. economy. Certainly, these journalists were alive for that, and probably working then. They also saw rising gas prices in the strengthening 2003-2007 economy, and rising gas prices and a faltering economy as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Right now, gas prices are falling for multiple reasons, including a worsening world economy, reduced gas usage in America as a result of past high prices, and less speculation that oil prices will be higher in the future. But after we've endured years of articles where gas prices, all by themselves, were hurting families, then these same families benefit from drastically falling gas prices.

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