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April 23, 2012

NY Times Public Editor: The Times' Coverage of Obama Has Been More Favorable Than Any Recent President; It's Time For A Skeptical Look At Obama and His Record

Eh, nonsense.

I feel like a sap for even linking this because it's like saying "You ought to quit smoking."

Yeah, you should, but what's the point of saying it? No one is going to do so until they decide to.

There's no point telling the New York Times it needs to be less biased in favor of Obama.

Still, for what it's worth:

The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?

Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008. The company published a book about the country’s first African-American president, “Obama: The Historic Journey.” The Times also published a lengthy portrait of him in its Times Topics section on NYTimes.com, yet there’s nothing of the kind about George W. Bush or his father.

According to a study by the media scholars Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, The Times’s coverage of the president’s first year in office was significantly more favorable than its first-year coverage of three predecessors who also brought a new party to power in the White House: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Writing for the periodical Politics & Policy, the authors were so struck by the findings that they wondered, “Did The Times, perhaps in response to the aggressive efforts by Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal to seize market share, decide to tilt more to the left than it had in the past?”

I strongly doubt that. Based on conversations with Times reporters and editors who cover the campaign and Washington, I think they see themselves as aggressive journalists who don’t play favorites. Still, a strong current of skepticism holds that the paper skews left. Unfortunately, this is exacerbated by collateral factors — for example, political views that creep into nonpolitical coverage.

He notes the Times' feature writers tend to inject partisan political jibes into non-partisan material -- like reviews of Downton Abbey.

Well, now that this has been noted in the Times, they can consider that box checked, and go back to ignoring their bias completely.


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posted by Ace at 02:59 PM

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