August 2004

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« It's All About the Journalism | Main | Candidate Speeches: The Public and Private Journalist »

August 05, 2004


will jarrett

Bob, your comments are well-founded. Un-
fortunately for the profession the bus has already left the station. Journalists of color are loudly cheering and giving standing ovations for their candidate. But how does that differ with the blatant, liberal coverage of the New York Times? Even the NYT's public editor sees a pervasive bias. Today's new journalists will follow the example of the Times.

Thunder Malloy

I completely disagree. If a journalist does, in fact, have a partisan axe to grind, I would much rather see it out front. Be honest and tell me that you are a Kerry supporter rather than trying to hide behind a false veil of non-partisanship. We are all partisans, come out of hiding and let us judge whether your bias is effecting your work.


I don’t agree with you. I think journalists should be able to cheer at events, and I think they should be able to contribute to political campaigns and such. Why? Because they are, by and large, extremely bias. Unfortunately, currently, there are very few “messengers” of the “truth” as they like to consider themselves. They mostly all editorialize disguising it in the news section. I think we should drop all pretense of impartiality on their behalf, call a spade a spade. Cheer away!

John Griffin

I prefer it when journalists make their preferences known. It's more honest than the pretense you're calling for here.

John G

I agree but not holding my breath...


From a professionalism standpoint, I agree with every word you wrote.

But more should be asked of media professionals than "Don't be overtly partisan in public."

It would be nice, for example, if they thought they had an obligation to be as fair to those they disagree with as they are to those with whom they agree.


So you grill one politician in a press conference, then toss the other one softballs in a studio interview. And this is not partisan? This is not blatantly obvious? Are journalists the only professionals free from conscience?

You are wrong to ever think you can hide or remove yourself from your own biases or personal beliefs. Let them show, make them known, that is the only truly honest apporach to your audience. Anything else is false integrity.

The Apologist

I could not possibly disagree more. The public do not view journalists as arbiters of truth. Only j-school grads suffer that delusion. Journalists are citizens and should be allowed, even encouraged, to express their political bias clearly and often. Partisan = Dishonest or Untrustworthy is a canard sold by journalists in the service of their delusion. Bottom line, we don't look up to you, we don't trust you any more than any one else, you're only hurting yourselves by keeping up this farce. We will always judge your reliability based upon peer review and with the numerous information streams available today, we are become your peers.


i dont see any difference between political journalists and sports journalists. good writers tell the story when writing news stories, and give good analysis when writing opinoin peices. i think it's silly to pretend that people dont have favorites or emotions. the problem lies when you try to *hold* someone to their emotions.

if a Dodger announcer is overly excited by a spectacular performance by a Yankee player, it shouldnt be criticized. similarilly if John Kerry or even Al Sharpton for that matter knocks a speech out of the park, Fox News and Rush and Instapundit should say so.

is that so hard?


Tony, your line of reasoning has some merit but you forget that all (well, most all) baseball announcers share a love for the game and fully realize that a game requires two teams of participants. Beyond this arguement, the sports reporter also recognizes sports as a business and source of employment therefore his primary goal is to expound on the enjoyable spectacle for all.

Politics may or may not share similarities depending on your overall worldview. Sure the lover of democracy will revel in the ups and downs of the system but few, if any, recognize democracy, or even politics-at-large, to be an ends to itself. There are far too many other motives and motivations at stake in the political arena. The sports reporting vs. political reporting analogy is just not useful.


Let 'em cheer and jeer all they want. That way I know that it's OK to cancel the newspaper subscription, unplug the cable, and delete my bookmarks to and I've already $h1tcanned Andrew Sullivan AND Scientific American, more are on the way... They're just flacks, so why indulge them?


Sure, journalists can have their poltical beliefs! Just let them put their political affiliation on their by-lines when the story runs.

And might as well put it on the front page of the paper, too. Or, even better, right up next to the page number, every page.

That way there would be no hidden agendas anywhere.

And, now that you raise it, where is Poynter? Off snogging with CJR?


If anyone sending in a comment has a the idea
that the voters are totally aware of what
candidate is for they are really not reading
anything but there own bias.
The point here is respect and people no longer
respect the news when it is so biasd, while
the reporters care nothing about being someone
with integrity. I never believe anything they
say anymore it is so obvious. People watch
or read much less now, as shown by the
stats on television and the papers loss of
It is themselves, in the end, who will be
hurt by the out and out bias seen in this
election. Respect is something they earn,
lack of respect is what they are getting more
each day.
The internet has given people a better choice
Not just the blogs, but the columnists, the
forums, sites a person can go to and read the
facts and more and more are doing this each
day. Why do you think that is?

Mark  A. York

Who better to decide what candidate has the best prescription for the problem jounralists cover every day? At some level they know which is the best policy and who is the snake oil salesman. I sure do.

Ernie's Lament

"Mainstream journalism" is as dead as Ernie Pyle.

"Mainstream media" equates to "liberal". Media-savvy consumers knew this decades before the NYT admitted it.

"Conservative commentator" is where the right weighs in. At least they're honest.

"Mainstream blogger" equals "libertarian", a word tarnished by the big "L" anti-everything party.

The only truly "mainstream journalist" is the meteorologist ... or should that be "jetstream journalist"?


When Kerry goes to the UNITY convention and receives cheers, while Bush receives polite applause, many folks' suspicions are aroused.

When the Note admits to a liberal bias in media reporting, when Evan Thomas admits to a media preference for Kerry, and when Okrent has to have a partial admission of bias wrenched out of him, most folks' suspicions harden into conviction.

Most of us on the conservative side of the ledger long ago suspected that the mainstream media had become little more than a propaganda instrument for the advancement of the Democratic Party. Not that it actually is an agitprop outfit, of course, but today's media chooses to live in the comfortable lie that they are actually objective. In fact, bias pervades the news and editorial rooms of the country. The point is approaching in which no one will believe what the press reports, and rightly so.

A solution to this? The British method: openly partisan newspapers and media. Let honesty be the first policy, and let the market decide.


similarilly if John Kerry or even Al Sharpton for that matter knocks a speech out of the park, Fox News and Rush and Instapundit should say so

There lies the problem folks! "Knocking a speech out of the park" is AN OPINION you IDIOTS!!!

He said this, he said that. End of story!! Don't make it colorful. Make it news. Otherwise put the (D) of (R) after your byline and see your readership cut in HALF! But don't complain when you're only putting HALF the food on the table you used to.

For God's sake, just tell the story.


Professionalism, honor, ethical standards, journalists. Hilarity ensues. Write for the Onion Bob. Your talents are wasted here.


Nice piece and I agree wholeheartedly that journalist have a professional obligation.

Unfortunately, modern journalists are partisan hacks and are rewarded as such. But behavior such as this will eventually relegate them to the heap of worthless commentary.

Ther is a page in newpapers for opinion, and if people want to see it, its called the op-ed, and they go there to read it. Generally, we common folks, like to have our news reported to us so that we can make our own informed decisions.

The New York Times is virtually unreadable except for thos that are hard left or who don't know any better.

Tim Worstall

Good Grief. No wonder US papers are so boring to read if everyone is attempting to be neutral and unbiased. Journalism a "profession"? C'mon, it's Grub Street, simply hacks of different levels of success. The ability to ask questions and string words together does not make one a gatekeeper to the truth, nor an educator of the unwashed masses. As one commenter above points out, the British solution: 14 national newspapers slinging muck according to their stated prejudices. Joe Shmuck in the street is bright enough to figure it all out.
I have a feeling that journalists in the US would do well to get down off the high horse and actually start acting like human beings again. Partisan, emotional, bigoted, yes, also interesting, amusing and possibly even informative, we're big enough and brave enough to read between those lines.



This is interesting.

I haven't read up much on the history of "journalism" but I seem to remember that it was held in very very low regard up until WWII and the post-war era. It wasn't until the giants of modern jounalism, to reuse a phrase, changed public opinion by their actions that journalists were viewed with any kind of respect.

In a way it's rather amusing that modern journalists have largely wasted that regard. Right now I believe less than 35% of Americans respect journalists and is probably, though I don't have anything more than speculation, probably due to the more elderly viewers/readers.

I know that I certainly don't respect any journalists. An example of this is exemplified in the simple question:

"When was the last time a Democrat was investigated by journalists and by whom?"

Last one I can think of is Clinton. But he was a pretty large and irresistable target. But nothing since then.

My my my. What an incredible bunch of angels those Democrats. They must be walking the straight and narrow to be free of such scandal.



"Trust the journalists they know..."

You have got to be kidding. While there may be journalists with some expertise in subject matter, the overwhelming majority of them are no more qualified, and often far less qualified, to analyze policy than the public at large ... and I'm trying to be kind here, because I've yet to meet a journalist covering issues in my field who wasn't a flat out idjit completely uninterested in learning about what he was covering.

When pressies go to journalism school, they learn about journalism, not about economics, science, religion, etc. And they aren't even obliged to demonstrate some minimal proficiency with the subject matter before they get to report on it.


At some point in the last 50 years journalists evolved from “ink stained wretches” to “unbiased professionals” with j-school credentials. This pretense was possible until the advent of alternative channels of communication.

Unfortunately, the reality was revealed to the public, but can not be accepted by the journalists themselves since their self-esteem is tied to their image as superior interpreters of reality.

Today, used car salesmen and journalists are tied for the amount of respect they engender in the public. Only the car salesman accepts the reality and doesn’t put on airs. The reason that journalists are despised is because they do.


>>> many journalists are biased and incapable of fair reporting on political issues and candidates.

This call for veiling the partisan views of journalists is about 15 years too late: Cat's out of the bag.

One only need review Bush' last press conference to see how absurdly biased the press is.

"President Bush, why does everyone hate you?"

"President Bush, what are your three biggest mistakes?"

"President Bush, which leader do you most closely identify with: Hitler, Stalin or Ghengis Khan?

It's now wonder you have to tell these nincompoops to hide their hatred a little better.

Mark  A. York

"When pressies go to journalism school, they learn about journalism, not about economics, science, religion, etc. And they aren't even obliged to demonstrate some minimal proficiency with the subject matter before they get to report on it."

This is going to be painful for you "Braddad" is it? I'm getting a journalism degree and have a collateral field in environmental biology. I worked as a field biologist for 15 years for state and federal agencies. It is quite common for a journalist to have a master's in another field such as an MBA to cover business. In short Braddad you're "full of it" and like the other press critics posting here "out of it."

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