CNN vs. Al Jazeera

The photo on the top is from CNN and the photo on the bottom is from Al Jazeera.

The story being covered is of multiple suicide bombings that took place in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul last week as well as the U.S. air strikes in Baghdad’s Sadr City. Interestingly, both photos show Iraqi children. CNN strategically chose to depict three Iraqi children looking over a bullet stricken wall in Sadr City. The article describes multiple suicide bomb attacks, and other acts of violence and death in the surrounding areas by Shiite militia members. I believe they chose this particular photograph because it shows how “unsafe” Sadr City is, especially for little children. CNN goes on to explain their efforts to secure the area and their desire to provide stability for the citizens of Baghdad. They go on to say that an Interior Ministry Official believes that the U.S. air strikes were the cause of eight deaths, including two children while the U.S. military counteracts by saying, “an unmanned aerial vehicle killed two ‘special groups criminals’ in Sadr City because it’s operators saw people putting weapons into a vehicle and attacked that vehicle with a Hellfire missile”. They create “the evil other” by saying, “Fighting in Sadr City, which has been going on for a month, has involved U.S. and Iraqi forces battling Shiite militia members”. In other words, they are there for a cause. -To give the children in this photo a better life.

Al Jazeera chose to use a photo that depicts a young boy looking through a large hole that has been blown out of a brick wall with the caption: US aircraft were reported to have bombed locations in Sadr City. This caption was no doubt meant to lead you to believe that a U.S. aircraft was the cause of destruction and that small children are within close proximity and therefor put into dangerous situations caused by US. Al Jazeera’s article is similar to CNN’s when discussing the suicide bombings and acts of violence but the death and wounded tolls do not match up.  CNN claims that the violence left at least 15 dead and 94 wounded while Al Jazeera claims at least 9 dead and 31 wounded. That is quite a difference! When Al Jazeera describes the Sadr City fighting between U.S. and Shiites, they do not necessarily take one side or the other, they just leave information out and then let you decide who is “the evil other”. For example, they write, “Iraqi security sources said that eight people, including a child and a woman, were killed and 27 others were wounded in clashes on Friday and Saturday between Mahdi Army militia and US forces in al-Sadr City in eastern Baghdad. They said that US airplanes had bombed positions in the district”. There is no better way to blame US bombings for innocent deaths than how they so indirectly did here. Neither article really “tells” you anything but, they both definitely do their best to lead you to believe something. CNN takes a much more straight forward approach in creating “the evil other” while Al Jazeera is more indirect and arguably more effective in their approach to persuade. It is still unknown whether the U.S. missile or bombings (which ever it really was) is/are responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians. Each took their own approach at telling their side of the story and the results are misleading and confusing. I would imagine this was their intention, at least to an extent. I have to say that CNN’s straight forward approach comes across as more believable and reliable. They told both sides of the story, including the fact that sources believe the U.S. is responsible for innocent deaths. So, while I find their article to be somewhat biased, I give them more credit than I do Al Jazeera.

For CNN’s article click here

For Al Jazeera’s article click here



5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    stephsworld said,

    I find it odd that they chose to use images of children as well. If this story is depicting bombing and violence shouldnt they show destruction? Oddly however both stations chose to use that style. Interesting choice of comparison

  2. 2

    andyperkins said,

    Both CNN and Al Jazeera used children to evoke sympathy but each for different causes: CNN for anti-suicide bomber sentiments, and Al Jazeera for anit-American sentiments. You did a good job at pointing out the caption and how it affects the meaning of the photo. If one was to look at that article and only look at the photos and not read the story he or she might believe Americans were at fault for the destruction, and not suicide bombers and a truck bomb.

  3. 3

    adriennerhea said,

    I thought it was very interesting that both sites used children for their pictures. It is obvious that the children were used for sympathy, even though both stories go a different direction. I found it also interesting that if one were to just look at pictures and not actually read the story they might think that America was the cause of the ruble, and not a truck bomb. Good story!

  4. 4

    nathangreenside said,

    I thought you did a good job of annalyzing the two photos, it was wierd that both CNN and Al Jazeera used the same type of photo to describe their different sides of the story.

  5. 5

    ferreri said,

    Do you think CNN shows American bias by saying U.S. soldiers attacked “special groups criminals”, or Al Jazeera shows Arab bias by saying “locations were bombed”. Obviously if someone was bomed so was thier location, so why not say who they were. Obviously Al Jazeera is not going to say women and children were targeted because that would be false. But by saying “locations” it almost sounds like the U.S. was just randomly blind firing missles. What do you think?

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