Bias on Floyd vs Chauvin Trial

Just recently, Derek Chauvin had been seen as guilty and charged with multiple accounts of murder following the trial overlooking him killing George Floyd. I had read two articles on this trial: one from New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/23/us/derek-chauvin-juror.html and the other from Fox News https://www.foxnews.com/us/derek-chauvin-trial-expert-cop-justified-pinning-down-george-floyd. These articles both show their opinion on what they think about this trial through their ledes and diction. Using these strategies, the article from New York Times agrees with the verdict of Derek Chauvin to go to prison while Fox News defends Chauvin by saying he was reacting to Floyd’s actions.

These articles both had a strong lede to draw readers in and give them their view of the topic. While New York Times is known to be liberal, it starts off with a heavy hitting quote from a juror saying, “Under the spittle of rain droplets, she clasped her hands in front of her chest and said a prayer to George Floyd.” This is followed by a quote saying “I hope we gave him justice…Hope he’s looking down and proud of what the jury did, that we did our best, that we didn’t disappoint him.” This gives you the angle that Chauvin is muderer that deserves his time in prison. Readers will see these opening sentences and already feel the sadness and emotion of Floyd’s death. On the other hand, Fox News, more conservative, starts its article by saying “Former Officer Derek Chauvin was justified in pinning George Floyd to the ground because of his frantic resistance, a use-of-force expert testified for the defense Tuesday.” This start gives you another perspective and may make you think he was following training and that Floyd was resisting arrest. That he didn’t know what Floyd would’ve tried to do if he let him free for some time. Fox wants people to see that Chauvin reacted in a way that he believed he was supposed to and his intent was not to murder but to enforce the law.

Next, they use diction to emphasize their quotes and facts that will best argue their side towards the top of their article. In the New York Times article they incorporate words like “gruesome” and “trauma”. Gruesome is used to explain the video of Floyd being kneeled on and trauma to show what this has ingrained in many minds over time. These dictions are associating a negative connotation with this trial. That Chauvin created a horrible crime that can never be made right. However in the Fox News article they use words like “frantic” and “reasonable”. They use frantic to describe the actions of Floyd prior to being taken down. They use reasonable to describe how he reacted and said it was like training. These words give off the feeling that Chauvin was reacting in the moment to someone that he thought was harmful to his life. That he followed what he was taught and followed his training.

Both articles focus on what they believe for the most part and strongly emphasize it. The article from New York Times focuses on Chauvin being sent to prison on multiple account of murder while Fox News tries to defend his actions by saying he reacted following his training. In the end, neither of these articles are reliable because they lean to heavily one way or the other. A better article would equally show both sides of the story and not try to sway readers a certain way by using particular word choice. After reading these articles, readers will have opinions on the trial, whether it be charging Chauvin with murder of not, they will believe one way depending on the article they read.

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Marco Shaw

Marco Shaw

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