ABC’s Story ‘Powerful Propaganda, But Substandard Journalism’

ABC tends to be a fairly major offender in the “Media Bias” game.

A media watchdog group accuses ABC News of airing a biased and “dishonest” report on supposed “hate crimes” in the U.S. The broadcast employed a “manipulative trick” designed to present just one side of an issue, says the group — and neglected to inform viewers of a related vote pending in the House of Representatives the very next day.

On the eve of the vote in the House on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (HR 1592), ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson aired a report on the alleged rise of hate groups. The piece showed footage of the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads. The only source for the story was the Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal group that supports the homosexual rights agenda.

Bob Knight, director of the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute, says ABC reporter Jim Avila attempted to “present an atmosphere of a crisis in need of a government solution.”

“This is a technique called ‘bracketing’ that you can see in After the Ball,” Knight explains. He describes that publication as “a gay propaganda manual that says show scary images and that will create a situation in which Americans will feel that gays an underdog and need to be protected — and if you can, show images of pastors saying they’re against homosexuality.”

ABC did not go quite that far, he adds. “They didn’t actually show pastors speaking out against [homosexuality] — but they did one half of that equation,” he says.

Essentially, says the Institute spokesman, ABC was guilty of “bias by omission” because it did not present the views of opponents of hate crimes legislation or include any information that might contradict its thesis that the country was “awash in hate crimes.” The network’s bias was obvious, he contends.

“I think the fact that the only source they used was the Southern Poverty Law Center — and the fact that they didn’t include information on the pending hate crimes vote — shows that they wanted to create an atmosphere that was conducive to passage of the hate crimes bill,” Knight offers.

And if ABC had acknowledged there was a vote scheduled for the next day on related federal legislation, “they would have been obligated to bring on an opponent of the hate crimes bill — but they didn’t do that,” adds Knight.

HR 1592 was approved by the House (237-180) on May 3 and must now be voted upon by the Senate, where similar legislation has been introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). Knight maintains that coverage of the House vote on the hate crimes measure has garnered little attention from the mainstream media because more people are becoming aware of how “dangerous” the bill is.

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