Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords' Inspiring Return to Washington

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head on January 8th, 2011. In the attack, six people were killed, including a federal judge and a nine year old girl. Thirteen people were wounded in addition to Giffords. Giffords spent over five months in a rehabilitation hospital where she had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. She still continues to go to therapy to this day. On August 1st, 2011, Giffords unexpected went to the House of Representatives to cast a vote supporting the deal that had been reached regarding the death ceiling. This was the first time she was back in Congress since she was shot. Giffords received an extremely warm welcome and a standing ovation from both Republicans and Democrats. Her return was joyous and emotional for everyone.

I read five articles from different sources covering the same news story. These sources include The New York Times, USA Today, BBC, Fox News, and The New York Post. I found the articles by googling the website of each source and then searching for the most recent article on Gabrielle Giffords. I chose Fox News because it is a conservative source, unlike The New York Times which is a liberal paper. I chose the New York Post because it is known for sensationalism and it is a tabloid newspaper, verses a broadsheet newspaper like The New York Times.

I found many differences between these different sources. The New York Times was clearly the longest article of the five. The article focuses more on Giffords more as a person who is passionate and amiable, rather than focusing on politics. It accounted her background and personal life. The USA Today’s article is much shorter. Like the New York Times article, the USA Today article also focuses on Giffords’ personality. It consists mostly quotes of about her hard work to recover and how great she looked visually. The BBC News article was completely different from the other two, with a focus on politics and the debt deal. The warm welcome that the congresswoman received is briefly discussed, but more emphasis is placed on the vote. This is highlighted because instead of showing pictures of Giffords, there are two graphs: one displaying the narrowing margin between debt and GDP and the other showing debt and the debt ceiling. The New York Post article is surprising similar to the BBC News article, as it focuses more on politics than on Giffords herself. Lastly, Fox News discusses Giffords strength and determination like the other articles. It was filled with quotes about her encouraging return. However, I noticed that there was a lot of distinction given to Democrats versus Republicans, which I had not seen in the other articles. Reading different perspectives from different sources helped me get a complete story and more importantly this assignment helped me to become more media literate.


Giffords2. “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords return to Washington.” YouTube. 2 Aug. 2011. Web. 3 Aug. 2011.

“Gabrielle Giffords.” The New York Times. 1 Aug. 2011. Web. 3 Aug. 2011.

Leger, Donna Leinwand. “Giffords’ hard work ‘paying off’.” ­USA Today. 3 Aug. 2011. Web. 3 Aug. 2011.

“Senate votes on US debt deal as deadline looms.” BBC News. 2 Aug. 2011. Web. 3 Aug. 2011.

“Applause Greets Gabby Giffords’ Return to House.” Fox News. 1 Aug. 2011. Web. 3 Aug. 2011.


  1. I was reading the Times the other day, and I really admired how they focused more on her personality then on the role she played in congress. I got to know her more as a person and therefore have a little empathy.

  2. It's interesting how BBC and the Times took completley different approaches. BBC doesn't talk about her return much but they do give really good insight into the important bill which she was signing. Fox's writing style is really different from BBC and The Times they seem focused on trying to grab the audiences attention.

  3. i think that with a story like this, its more important to talk about her backround and road to recovery than politics. The event was emotianal for the congressl to finally see her back. If she would have been back to cast a vote or listen to a hearing or even sign an important bill it wouldnt matter. The point is that she was back and healthy and the New York Times and USA Today explained how she got to that point. That is the main idea of this story.

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  5. I agree. Its silly to comment on her politics because rather than her on a humanitarian level because 1. she probably wasn't shot because of her politics, and 2. Associating politics with her being shot, so soon after she recovered, totally detracts from actual congressional issues.