I want to point out a type of media bias that I find particularly dishonest. It is a form of the logical fallacy – the non sequitur – or presenting a bunch of true facts and then drawing a conclusion that does not follow.
The linked report appeared on the news at KHOU, the CBS affiliate here in Houston last night. In the run up to the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, they have been recounting the “history” of events leading up to it.
I enclosed history in quotations because it is history in the sense that it recounted past events but it is “history” because these events were presented in such a way that a casual observer lacking true historical knowledge could draw an incorrect conclusion.
This report spent about 3 minutes and 39 seconds expounding on how much vitriol and hate was being ginned up by the right wing in Dallas and how much it looked like today. They strongly promoted the racial angle and how the right wing “extremists” in Dallas were mostly segregationists – a component totally absent in today’s opposition to Obama…while what they said about the political and social climate is true – the right did not kill Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald, a card carrying Marxist did – but you could be forgiven for not knowing this because out of the total 3:49 run time of the report, they spent a total of about 10 seconds telling you this and they even followed up by blaming the assassination on the right saying:
“Even though the extremism exhibited in Dallas emanated from the right and Oswald was a leftist, Minutaglio believes the threatening rhetoric of Dallas influenced the assassin whose actions stained the city’s name.”
This oversimplification of the situation completely ignores Oswald’s motivations. What killed Kennedy was a member of the radical left, not the “extreme” right.
The written transcript makes it seem more fair than it the broadcast video is. The imagery and the overall “feel” of the report is not exhibited in the text. If you watch the clip, you will see how they made it very easy for low information folk to fallaciously link Ted Cruz and the Tea Party to racism, segregation and the Kennedy assassination.
Great work KHOU, great work.