Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
               Media analysis, critiques and news reports

FAIR Press Release: Study Shows Nightline, NewsHour Slant on Yugoslavia

May 6, 1999

In the first two weeks of the bombing of Yugoslavia, ABC's Nightline and
PBS's NewsHour showed a strong imbalance toward supporters of NATO
airstrikes, according to a study by the media watch group FAIR.

Of 291 sources that appeared on the two shows from March 25 to April 8,
only 24 -- or 8 percent -- were critics of the NATO airstrikes. Critics
were 10 percent of sources on the NewsHour, and only 5 percent on
Nightline. Only four critics appeared live as interview guests on the
shows, 6 percent of all live discussion guests.  Just one critic
appeared as a live guest on Nightline during the entire two-week time

FAIR's survey was based on transcripts from the Nexis database, and
included both guests who were interviewed live and sources who spoke on
taped segments.  Sources were classified according to the institution or
group they represented, and by the opinions they expressed on NATO's
military involvement in Yugoslavia.

Other findings of the study included:

* Forty-five percent of sources were current or former U.S. government
and military officials, NATO representatives or NATO troops.  On
Nightline, this group accounted for a majority of sources (55 percent).

* Yugoslavian government officials, Serbians and Serbian-Americans
accounted for only 6 percent of sources on the NewsHour and 9 percent on
Nightline.  Only two of these sources appeared as live interviewees.

* On Nightline, no American sources other than Serbian-Americans
criticized NATO's airstrikes.

* Think tank scholars, professors and other  academic experts made up
only 2 percent of sources on the NewsHour and 5 percent on Nightline.
Only two experts appeared on live interviews on the NewsHour, and none
was interviewed live on Nightline.  None of these experts were critical
of the NATO bombing.

The complete report is available on FAIR's website at:

Contact: Steve Rendall ( mailto:SRendall@fair.org ) For more on the war in Yugoslavia, go to: http://www.fair.org/international/yugoslavia.html

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