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Thursday, August 9, 2007

More ABC News Distortion To Be Included in My Curriculum

More evidence of ABC's deliberate misreporting of the impact of Ron Paul's Presidential candidacy. Take a look at the following video - it's on several sites on the Web, and Ron Paul supporter Andrew Pankin called it my attention this morning:

The "story" portrayed in this video clip is that Ron Paul supporters at Monday's Iowa debate were many in contrast to Mitt Romney's, who were represented by a few signs and even fewer supporters, but ABC's "Photos: Iowa GOP Debate Recap" shows lots of cheering Romney supporters, in contrast to a lone Ron Paul supporter, with a placard and an umbrella.

Let's give Mitt Romney supporters the benefit of the doubt, to see how clearly ABC News distorted its Ron Paul coverage. Let's assume Romney did have a lot of cheering supporters, who did not make it into the clip of the cheering Ron Paul supporters (not surprising, since Ron Paul's supporters made the clip).

But whatever the number of Mitt Romney supporters, why on Earth did ABC choose to show just one Ron Paul supporter? What purpose could that serve, other than giving the American people the wrong impression?

Crowd coverage at political rallies is always an activity bristling with pitfalls - even the most honest news coverage could point a camera in a direction that misses something important. But there is no way the photo of the single Ron Paul supporter could have been an accidental oversight of the cheering crowd.

We learned a lot of things in the twentieth-century about totalitarian societies, and what makes them possible. George Orwell got it sadly right in his 1984 novel, in which the dictatorial party in power controls the people by literally removing disliked officials from photos in newspapers.

I was not in Iowa on Monday, and thus can not offer any direct testimony as to the size of the crowds. But if ABC did what it looks like it did in the video - if it deliberately gave the impression that Ron Paul had just one supporter when in fact he had many - then ABC should know that it has acted in the tradition of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, in the dangerous deceptive manner of totalitarian societies not democracies.

I will have another example of media misconduct to teach to my class this Fall, which I would be happier not having at all. For ABC News, this represents the third strike: removing comments of Ron Paul supporters, misreporting the results of its own poll, making Ron Paul's supporters look fewer than they really were. When will it end?

Paul Levinson, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Communication and Media Studies
Fordham University

See also - ABC's Abuse of American Electorate to Be Included in my Curriculum This Fall

and Newspaper Coverage of Ron Paul in Iowa: B+
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