I’m only posting this as a study in framing. Today we’ve had a video clip from Texas Democrat Rep. Ciro Rodriguez go totally viral – it got front paged on Drudge, went high up on the big blogs, it was pretty much everywhere – outside the state of Texas.
Within the state, there’s a relatively new online news source that at least bills itself as nonbiased, fact-based, etc. It’s called the Texas Tribune. I kept an eye on them throughout the day to see if, and how, they might cover the Rodriguez video.
The Trib took a while, but when they finally got around to covering it, they didn’t fail to disappoint. The story here – the who, what, when, where, how – is that a Congressman lost his cool under questioning by a voter. That’s what happened. But check out the framing in this headline from the Tribune:
Conservatives Circulate Rodriguez Town Hall Clip
Note who the actors are in that headline – not the powerful official who lost his cool and slapped a table with a newspaper. No, the real actor here is “conservatives” for circulating the clip. That, my friends, is Grade A biased framing at work.
Then check out the story’s tone. It’s full of, what, ennui? It’s as if reporter Morgan Smith drew the short straw and had to cover this icky story so she slapped something together, hit post, and ran off to scrub her hands of the taint of having to write it.
A clip of U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, in which he apparently flares up at a constituent questioning him on health care, is making the rounds in the conservative blogosphere.
The 44-second-long video appears on the site of right-wing media mogul Andrew Breitbart and purportedly shows the San Antonio Democrat at a “recent” — the post does not give the date or the origins of the video — town hall meeting taking questions from constituents on healthcare. Urged by a woman to “tell the truth,” a visibly flustered Rodriguez slams a newspaper on a nearby table, and says, “Ma’am, don’t accuse me of not saying the truth.”
Heh. He didn’t “say” it, he growled it – while ironically demanding civility of the woman he’d just menaced and whose table he’d intemperately slapped. Then, the Trib posts Rodriguez’s excuse/apology as an update before getting to the actual clip. Which is, ya know, the meat of the story. Generally, it’s proper blog form not to update in the middle of a post, but at the end – but this update just puts that much more padding in between the reader and that awful, icky, clip that Morgan Smith clearly doesn’t want to write about. With that structure, the Trib’s post amounts to an inverted frame built on a biased frame.
I expected better of the Trib. Well, hoped for better anyway. The Trib is living down to my expectations, unfortunately.