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Tuesday, September 22, 2009
MRC's 'Profile of Bias' on Sawyer A Little Thin
Topic: Media Research Center

Shortly after Diane Sawyer was named the new anchor of ABC's World News, the Media Research Center slapped together a "Profile in Bias" of Sawyer, purporting to detail her liberal slant presumably pulled from the MRC archives. In doing so, the MRC stretches things a bit, citing only 35 examples over a 20-year career -- not that many for someone who was on TV either daily ("Good Morning America") or weekly "20/20") throughout much of that time.

By contrast, Media Matters cites 14 examples of what might be called conservative bias by Sawyer just since 2006.

The MRC also presents simple recitation of facts by Sawyer as "bias." For instance, a statement that Yasser Arafat was "treated as a hero, freedom fighter, revolutionary" in parts of the world was classified under "Putting a Soft Focus on World’s Worst Thugs" -- even though the MRC also quotes Sawyer as saying that Israelis saw Arafat as "a bloody terrorist and nothing more."Similarly, Sawyer's noting in 1990 that Vladimir Lenin "retains an almost mystical hold on the Soviet people" was translated by the MRC as a "touting" of Lenin.

Sawyer also ran afoul of the MRC for highlighting the excesses of the Starr Report on President Clinton, pointing out that "I think there were 62 mentions of the word ‘breast,’ 23 of ‘cigar,’ 19 of ‘semen.’ This has been called demented pornography, pornography for Puritans."

At one point, the MRC seems to condone murder: Sawyer's statement that "The abortion debate turns deadly. A doctor known for performing late-term abortions gunned down at church" is prefaced by the headline "50 Million Dead Babies Later...."

As we've detailed, the MRC put together a similarly shoddy "profile in bias" of Katie Couric upon her appointment as CBS Evening News anchor.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:22 AM EDT

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