A look at media coverage of the US surveillance bill
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A look at media coverage of the US surveillance bill

January 12, 2018

The Raw Data

Unspun and unbiased. These are the facts.

US House votes to renew FISA warrantless surveillance program

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment Act (FISA) for six years. The bill would allow the U.S. government to continue to collect data on “non-U.S. persons” outside the country, without a warrant. It allows intelligence agencies to collect information in emails and phone calls from companies. The bill passed 256-164. It will now be sent to the Senate.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted twice about the topic before the reauthorization passed. At 7:33 a.m. ET on Thursday, he wrote, “House votes on controversial FISA ACT today. This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?”

At 9:14 a.m. ET on Thursday, Trump tweeted, “With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!”

Read the full Raw Data here.

Top Spin Words

  • Firestorm

    The president’s chief of staff, John F. Kelly, scrambled to the Hill, while panicked aides alerted Trump to the firestorm his tweets had caused. (The Washington Post)

  • Contentious

    The President’s tweet at 7:33 a.m. ET that questioned the already contentious program came at the worst time for GOP leaders who spent recent weeks rounding up the votes and combating demands for changes from conservatives and libertarian elements of the conference. (CNN)

  • Fight

    PAUL READIES FIGHT IN SENATE (CNN)

    The House has been gearing up for a FISA fight since late December, when it was due to be reauthorized. (Business Insider)

  • Heated

    The House voted Thursday to renew a key foreign surveillance program after a heated floor debate, amid mixed messages from President Trump about his support.  (Fox News)

  • Threat

    Instead, the greater threat to the fate of Section 702 came from the president himself, in a series of contradictory and seemingly misinformed tweets he fired off after watching a segment about the bill on the Fox News Channel. (The Washington Post)

    The provision, which was ultimately scrapped, threatened to derail the committee’s FISA bill, two sources told Business Insider. (Business Insider)

    Shortly after the House vote on the amendment, Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican known for libertarian stances on surveillance issues, reiterated his threat to filibuster the bill on the Senate side. (CNN)

  • Mixed messages

    House votes to renew FISA program, following mixed messages from Trump (Fox News)

    Senate leaders are planning to send to the president’s desk next week a bill to reauthorize the government’s authority to conduct foreign surveillance on U.S. soil, despite opposition from privacy advocates and mixed messages from President Trump himself, who questioned his own administration’s support for the program Thursday morning.  (The Washington Post)

  • “stuck in FISA hell”

    Congress extended it to January 19, but the new bill has pitted House committees against each other — people working on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees have told Business Insider they’ve been “stuck in FISA hell” for weeks. (Business Insider)

  • Fray

    ‘NUNES ENTERS THE FRAY (Business Insider)

  • Upstages

    Congress advances bill to renew NSA surveillance program after Trump briefly upstages key vote (The Washington Post)

Fiction
or
Fact

All four articles we analyzed cite the same two tweets from Trump. Yet instead of just reporting what he said, they all add their own opinions of the tweets, suggesting in different ways that Trump is incompetent. Take a look below.

CNN

“The President, in a tweet, appeared to walk back his earlier criticism.”

Trump’s first tweet said, “This is the act that may have been used … to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign.” His second tweet said the vote on FISA “is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it!”

The Washington Post

“The greater threat to the fate of Section 702 came from the president himself, in a series of contradictory and seemingly misinformed tweets he fired off after watching a segment about the bill on the Fox News Channel.”

Same as above.

FOX News

Trump’s second tweet “was an apparent attempt to get back on the same page with his own administration, which backs the so-called 702 program.”

Same as above.

Business Insider

“Trump attempted to clarify his position a little more than an hour after his initial tweet.”

Same as above.

The Numbers

See how the articles rate in spin, slant and logic when held against objective standards.

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