The purpose of this section is to pull together as many influences and manifestations of bias as possible, in a single example. The following two articles have been marked up to indicate important sections which could have an effect on potential biases. Move your mouse over the blue, underlined words to see the comments made about the articles. Once you have done this, consider how the same analytical process can be applied to other news stories that you come across.

Color Key For Comment Types
Word Choice
Limiting Debate

U.N. Withdraws U-2 Planes

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. arms inspectors said Tuesday they had withdrawn two U-2 reconnaissance planes over Iraq for safety reasons after Baghdad complained both aircraft were in the air simultaneously.

Reuters is a news agency made from an international, relatively European group of journalists There is no mention in the lead paragraph that these planes are, in fact, American. The article seems to try to keep the appearance of all interaction happening between Iraq and the UN. This is a relatively amicable word, suggesting a cooperative relationship between Baghdad and UN arms inspectors.

Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, said he was unaware if the Iraqi air force had tried to intercept the planes.

Buchanan is the main source for this article, cited here and then, near the end, given a direct quote of 53 words in this 288 word article There is a significant discrepancy between the two articles covering the incident. UN Officials do not state that Iraqi planes were launched and hint to the contrary while US Officials, in the other article, explicitly state that Iraqi planes not only took off in the direction of the spy planes but threatened them. There is no mention of the conflicting statements in either article.

But a U.S. official said Iraq "informed us when the planes were in the air that only one was acceptable and the second would be viewed as 'hostile."'

This unnamed official is the only non-UN source cited in the article.

He said the inspectors asked Washington to temporarily suspend the flights, flown on behalf of the United Nations, until U.S. and U.N. officials could meet on the incident in New York. Iraq, the U.S. official said, had been told about the two aircraft 48 hours in advance.

Should Iraq be found to have interfered with the flights, chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix, executive chairman of UNMOVIC, is obligated to report the incident to the U.N. Security Council immediately.

But Russia's U.N. ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, whose country opposes military action against Iraq, contended that "UNMOVIC is not considering it a provocation." He said the incident was a "misunderstanding" and "blown out of proportion."

By including this quote without supplying an alternative interpretation, the author is leaving this opinion unchallenged. Though this is no guarantee or an indication of the writer’s personal opinion, it is suspect to include such a definitive statement at the end of a paragraph without further comment or criticism

Buchanan told reporters, "I can confirm that two U-2 reconnaissance aircraft operating on behalf of the UNMOVIC operated in Iraqi air space this morning."

"Although Iraq had been notified of a flight time window, they expressed surprise and concern that two flights were operating simultaneously. In the interests of safety, UNMOVIC requested the aircraft to withdraw," he said, adding that further U-2 and Mirage flights were still planned.

U.N. sources said there was no agreement that only one U-2 aircraft could fly at one time, although that had been past practice.

WASHINGTON (AP)-Iraqi fighter jets threatened two American U-2 surveillance planes, forcing them to return to abort their mission and return to base, senior U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit cooperative, owned by 1,550 U.S. daily newspapers. This word clearly suggests aggression and malevolence on the part of Iraq. Note the decision to specify the place as American, even though they are flying in the name of the UN. Iraq is depicted as threatening American planes, threatening America, as it were. Surveillance is much more innocent word than spy…in the past, the planes have often been called U-2 spy planes, but not this time. This word clearly suggests aggression and malevolence on the part of Iraq. All sources cited for this article are unnamed U.S. Officials.

A Pentagon official said the decision to end the mission "in the interest of safety."

The U-2 planes were flying missions at 2 a.m. Iraqi time for the U.N. weapons inspectors when Iraq launched fighter jets. According to two of the officials, the threat was directed against one of the two planes, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The author has not attributed this to any Official but instead stated it a fact, even though the other article quotes UN Officials as unable to verify whether or not Iraqi planes ever left the ground. There is a significant discrepancy between the two articles covering the incident. US Officials explicitly state that Iraqi planes threatened a U-2 plane. UN Officials do not confirm that Iraqi planes were launched and hint to the contrary. There is no mention of the conflicting statements in either article It is useful to ask yourself why the US Official who made a statement in direct contradiction to official UN reports has decided to remain anonymous.

Multiple flights are permitted under a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last November, and the Bush administration sought clarification from U.N. inspectors after the U-2 flights were suspended.

The U.N. inspection agency, known, as UNMOVIC, had given advance notice to Iraq of the flights, said the U.S. official.

The Iraqi threat is fresh evidence of Baghdad's unwillingness to cooperate with U.N. inspectors, another U.S. official said.

Two American U-2 planes were already in the air, the senior official said. He said they were the seventh and eighth sent on a surveillance assignment since the council approved the resolution unanimously, and that the flights had been coordinated with the U.N. inspection agency.

But Iraq "raised a fuss," this official said, and the two flights were recalled. American diplomats are checking with the U.N. agency before resuming U-2 flights, the official said.

The author incorporates this quote into his own sentence. This overtly depicts the UN as willing to comply with Iraq at the slightest drop of a hat.

The dispute punctuated a behind-the-scenes effort by the United States and Britain to win support for a new resolution designed to back the use of force as a last resort to disarm Iraq.

U-2 flights are conducted as part of an elaborate inspection arrangement designed to determine whether President Saddam Hussein has secretly stored chemical and biological weapons in defiance of U.N. resolutions.

Typically, Iraq is notified in advance of overflights of Iraqi territory.