Bias in reporting isn't something that's new as evidenced in these accounts from 1920.

Oftentimes it depends on who is writing an article or what agency is reporting on a story which "facts" are emphasized. This is true not only in today's climate of CNN and Fox News, but 100 years ago as well.

Take February 12, 1920, in Ireland as an example.

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The following is excerpted from Echoes of Their Footsteps, Volume I, by Kathleen Hegarty Thorne:

The two stories do not fit together. Recollections told by civilian onlookers and the policemen who were patrolling the town of Rathdrum in Co. Wicklow do not match.

According to the police, a shot rang out and Constable Mulligan staggered and cried, “I’m shot, Dan.”

Four days later, when this constable gave his account at an inquest, he claimed that he and his partner had seen a suspicious-looking group of men near the Fair Green, had crossed the fields and were returning to the barracks via another road when there, on Main Street, they noticed three more men standing in a doorway.

Constable Mulligan claimed that the two policemen had gone about three paces from the group of men when the shot rang out and he, feeling a tingling sensation in his shoulder, claimed he was wounded (the bullet had glanced off his shoulder and entered his overcoat). He and Constable Doherty then fired back at the attackers.

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This version of events was somewhat contradicted by subsequent actions.

Arthur Leeson, who was standing in his doorway when the firing started, stated that he had heard a bang followed by eight or so rounds of discharging bullets, then saw Seamus O’Brien, O/C Wicklow Brigade and veteran of the Easter Week Rebellion at Enniscorthy, stagger against him saying, “I’m Jem O’Brien. Save me, Arthur, save me.” O’Brien died within a minute of entering Leeson’s house.

What are the discrepancies? When the policeman’s overcoat was produced at the inquest, there were no visible marks of a bullet entry anywhere on it. Dr. McDermott, who attempted to treat O’Brien after he had fallen into the hallway of Leeson’s house, stated that one bullet caused both a wound in the abdomen and on the left buttocks and that the “the wound at the back was probably the entrance wound,” meaning that O’Brien had been running away from the policemen, not standing firm in an attack upon them.

Sergeant Roberts stated that he found no revolver on O’Brien when he searched him forty-five minutes later.

The questions: Did the policemen fire because they had a case of strained nerves? Or were they fired upon first?

(Who’s Who in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War 1916−1923 by Padraic O’Farrell, p. 75) and (“A Rathdrum Man’s Fate,” Irish Independent, 16 February 1920, p. 5). (Matt Kavanagh Witness Statement, pp. 6−7, claims the date was 11 February 1920 and that the ambush was botched because of faulty revolvers he had inadvertently given to the IRA men)

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Bias in reporting was just as relevant a century ago as it is today.Getty Images