This morning, I decided to do an experiment. I decided to find a story common to Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, CNN, The Associated Press, BBC, The Christian Science Monitor (look it up on Wikipedia to understand its name), Al Jazeera English, the Huffington Post, the New York Times and the Washington Post  and compare-contrast them. I would advise against opening all of those sites at one time unless you have copious amounts of RAM to donate to them as most of them seem to have found web designers that absolutely love flash. That aside, this post will be rather lengthy. I’m also looking for several more conservative news sources to compare-contrast with these, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comment section.

My method to find a story. I found a story common to both the BBC and Al Jazeera English. The story I chose is about protesters in Thailand hurling their own blood at the home of their Prime Minister. However, several of the websites do not have that story yet. They have what happened earlier, the protesters hurling their own blood at the prime minister’s governmental office. Fox News and the Associated Press have both stories. However, as much as I like debate, try to be civil, don’t use terms like “Faux News” or the “Huffington Puffington Post”. Those terms are demeaning to both organizations and make you look less credible. Also, do not comment with the sole purpose to bash the Christian Science Monitor. Read this wikipedia article about their name. As much as I dislike censorship, I will not allow comments that use those terms or only bash the CSM (if it’s credible, I may edit your comment to conform to those standards). I don’t want to have to do that, so don’t make me. This article will be long and I’m sure there will be plenty of flak shot at me from both sides. As of 7:00 AM CDT (GMT-5) The New York Times, MSNBC and the Christian Science Monitor do not have stories on the blood hurled at the Thailand Prime Minister’s house. The Washington Post requires me to register to view their World News, which I refuse so they will not be included in this. I will compare the ones that have the current story. Let us begin with the more current story. I will post the first paragraph of each article and compare them at the end.

Fox News:

BANGKOK — Red-shirted protesters hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood into the residential compound of Thailand’s prime minister Wednesday, hoping their shock tactics will bring down his government.

Huffington Post:

BANGKOK — Red-shirted protesters hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood into the residential compound of Thailand’s prime minister Wednesday, hoping their shock tactics will bring down his government.

ABC News:

Red-shirted protesters hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood into the residential compound of Thailand’s prime minister Wednesday, hoping their shock tactics will bring down his government.

BBC News:

Thai protesters have hurled plastic bags filled with gallons of blood in a symbolic protest at the prime minister’s house in Bangkok.

The Associated Press:

BANGKOK (AP) — Red-shirted protesters hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood into the residential compound of Thailand’s prime minister Wednesday, hoping their shock tactics will bring down his government.

Al Jazeera English:

Red-shirted opposition supporters have spilt bottles of their own blood outside the entrance to the home of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, in a symbolic protest against the government.

CNN.com:

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) — Anti-government protesters broke through a heavy police cordon Wednesday and splattered blood on the gates of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s residence.

Four of the seven news sources use the same first paragraph, word for word. The reasoning is simple, Fox News and the Huffington Post reposted the original Associated Press article. ABC has the same opening, but it has more information than the Fox News, Huffington Post and Associated Press articles. The BBC is very similar to the other four, but it is different. However, in accordance to AP Style, they’re all one sentence long. The most violent sounding introductory paragraph comes from CNN where it seems (in my opinion) to be spun to sound similar to a violent riot. Interesting how many different ways you can present protesters taking bottles/bags of their own blood and pouring it on/hurling it into the residence of Thailand’s Prime Minister.

Now, I’d like to know what you think. Should online news sources try to be as similar as possible? Should they try to write it differently than the other news sources while trying not to distort the facts? Should the reporters put their opinion somewhere in the article and designate their opinion and its political leaning? Are online news sources doing their jobs properly when they repost the Associated Press article? I want to know what you think.

Personally, I think reposting the Associated Press article is lazy, news organizations should be doing their own investigations on stories and not rely on another organization to collect their information for them.