Different news stations often report the same story (or stories related to one another) in very different ways. This is largely because of their political ethos and their attempts to reach their market and readership. The events in Libya are no different: tired of living under Gadhafi’s dictatorship, the Libyan people are revolting to try and remove him from power. Following the success of similar protests in neighbour countries, Egypt and Tunisia, Libya is fighting for its freedom from a man who shows no qualms in using force to supress his people, even now when the world is watching. News stations around the world are constantly updating their websites with up to date news on this story and in the course of this essay, I will discuss Cnn.com’s report on the removal of foreigners from Libya, Foxnews.com’s discussion of Libyans preparing for another push to remove Gadhafi, and finally Msnbc.com’s report on Gadhafi increasing wages to try and subdue the protests. All three stories relate to the Libyan unrest and I will discuss how and why the news stations have approached the story for varying angles.
Fox News has chosen to discuss the next big push to remove Gadhafi by the Libyan people. The story discusses how there are further protests planned for Friday, after prayer. MSNBC has chosen to discuss Gadhafi’s attempts to quell the protests by introducing increased wages, food subsidies and special allowances for all families. These two stories are two sides of the same coin: Fox has discussed it from the perspective of the Libyan people and their desire to continue protesting, and MSNBC has taken it from the government’s point of view and their attempts to calm the situation. In stark contrast to both of these stories, CNN went with a story discussing the removal of foreigners from Libya and the various issues surrounding this. CNN are known to have, on occasion, reported stories with a liberal bias and their focus on the international effects of the protests in Libya demonstrates this while Fox’s focus on the Libyan people has the effect of verifying reports that they have a conservative bias. This sort of political bias is prevalent throughout the news media and is used to attract the right audience to their reports. The three reports have only one real comparison which is that they all focus on the Libyan protests but all three contrast with one another from the point of view which they choose to discuss the subject from.
The CNN page features a video about the protests that have taken place specifically in Benghazi, Libya. The video discusses how the buildings related to the Gadhafi regime have been attacked and destroyed; it features interviews with protestors who tell of how these buildings used to be figures of fear and terror to the Libyan people and now they are shells of their former selves and are “museums” for the people to wander around in. The CNN video suggests a strong support for the Libyan people and their cause with comments such as “the fire fighters aren’t exactly rushing to put out the fires [in Gadhafi’s former buildings]” and the report focuses on the celebrative nature of the people in Benghazi. MSNBC also seem to offer support to the Libyan people by saying that “Gadhafi’s response to the uprising in his country has been the harshest by any Arab leader in the wave of protests that has swept the Middle East recently.” Fox News, however, whilst seemingly in agreement that something needs to be done about Gadhafi’s reign, frequently refer to the protestors as “rebels” throughout the report and there is an underlying suggestion that Fox perhaps does not agree with the method of the protests taking place as the word ‘rebel’ tends to have quite negative connotations. In contrast, CNN and MSNBC use the term ‘protesters’ which suggests that they have more of a cause and a purpose, rather than ‘rebels’ who just want to cause trouble.
While it is clear that all three reports are in favour of Gadhafi’s removal (along with the rest of the world), there is some question over whether all three agree with the methodology of the Libyan people during this time. Fox seems to present an un-written question of whether the destruction and fighting is the best way forward while MSNBC and CNN seem to be whole-heartedly behind the Libyan people. However, the three stories all cover the same basic premise: Gadhafi is struggling to maintain his power. CNN show his lack of control over Benghazi; MSNBC discuss his last-ditch attempt to placate the Libyan people; and Fox focus on the new waves of protests that are planned for Friday, this week. All three news reporters take the story and discuss it from different angles but with a common conclusion: Gadhafi is an unwanted leader and the Libyan people are willing to risk life and limb to oust him.
1. Associated Press. (2011, February 25). Libyans Brace For New Push To Oust Qaddafi. Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/02/25/libyan-protesters-new-push-qaddafi/
2. CNN Wire Staff. (2011, February 25). Foreigners Flee Libya As World Leaders Seek Resolution to Crisis. CNN World. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/25/libya.protests/index.html?hpt=T1
3. MSNBC.com Staff. (2011, February 25). Gadhafi Tries To Bribe His Way Out Of Trouble. MSNBC. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41775200/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/