Saturday, November 08, 2008

Media Bias: The Media Begins to Notice...

One couldn't time this any better if it were scripted. Now that the election is over and Obama is safely elected, the media is starting to notice that--shock!--they were horribly biased during the election.
The [Washington] Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

My assistant, Jean Hwang, and I have been examining Post coverage since Nov. 11 last year on issues, voters, fundraising, the candidates’ backgrounds and horse-race stories on tactics, strategy and consultants. We also have looked at photos and Page 1 stories since Obama captured the nomination June 4. Numbers don’t tell you everything, but they give you a sense of The Post’s priorities.

The count was lopsided, with 1,295 horse-race stories and 594 issues stories. The Post was deficient in stories that reported more than the two candidates trading jabs; readers needed articles, going back to the primaries, comparing their positions with outside experts’ views. There were no broad stories on energy or science policy, and there were few on religion issues.
Ed Morrissey's analysis, on Hot Air, is key here:
Ombud Deborah Howell’s column goes on to justify or at least rationalize the imbalance:
Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Post reporters, photographers and editors — like most of the national news media — found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.
So that must mean they absolutely adored Sarah Palin and gave her the same benefit of the doubt, right? Er, no:
When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission.
The hell with Joe Biden. Howell never answers the real issue here — why did the Post, and the rest of the national media, go on the attack with Sarah Palin and not with Barack Obama? The two candidates had a similar amount of time in politics, and Palin had more executive experience than Obama. Obama ran for the top job, while Palin ran for VP. And yet the national media parachuted dozens of reporters into Wasilla and Juneau looking for dirt and scandal, coming up with a tanning bed in the governor’s mansion (which Palin bought herself) and the Troopergate story that turned out to be a nothingburger and was already known prior to her nomination.
Sorry to quote so much but Ed is right on here.

The sad thing here is that I think the people at the Washington Post are trying to come clean about the bias. But even when they try they write it off as a minor problem or one justified as excitement. There's a reason I decline to get a free paper every time I go to the grocery store. I don't trust the media anymore. Until they realize that they will continue to see circulation numbers and profits plummet.

1 comment:

Christy said...

I'm beginning to believe that journalists need to be like lawyers who can be disbarred when they are negligent and unethical.