Washington Post Admits Slanted Coverage

Discussion in 'Politics' started by red states rule, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    This will not sit well with those who do not believe there is a liberal bias in the media



    Balance and Bias on the Political Beat

    By Deborah Howell
    Sunday, November 5, 2006; Page B06

    Readers, especially before elections, watch The Post closely for any hint of political bias. Recently, such complaints have come mostly from Republicans.

    Virginia voters must choose between two less than sterling candidates -- Republican incumbent George Allen and Democrat James Webb, both of whom have been mired in controversy: Allen for his demeaning "macaca" remark about a Webb campaign worker of Indian descent, and Webb for dreadful remarks long ago about women in the military.

    Allen supporters think he can't catch a break; I sympathize. The macaca coverage went on too long, and a profile of Allen was relentlessly negative without balancing coverage of what made him a popular governor and senator. But it must be remembered that Allen shot himself in both feet with the "macaca" remark and his clumsy handling of the revelation of his Jewish heritage. Then he declined to talk to The Post for the profile. The profiles of both Webb and Allen were critical, but Webb's was leavened by his quotes.

    It was bothersome that so much weight was given to "Fifth Quarter," the 2000 family memoir by Allen's sister, Jennifer. The book described family problems and portrayed Allen as a teenage bully. She called it a "novelization of the past," and Post reporters were unsuccessful in corroborating her account. Except for one brief remark, neither Jennifer Allen nor her brothers would comment on it.

    That said, Virginia voters have been well informed with many straightforward stories about where Allen and Webb stand on race, taxes, transportation, education, the Iraq war, women, immigration and same-sex marriage.

    Style stories add a complex element to political coverage because they have different goals than news stories; they are more focused on the person than the policy. Many readers don't understand this, and the confusion needs to be addressed.

    Style examined Webb's writing career in a story that some readers found favorable. Allen had no Style coverage until a Thursday campaign story. "We were looking to do a day-on-the-trail piece in one of the major state races to give readers a sense of what that feels like. We had been a little too weighted toward Democrats, so we decided to do a Republican," said Steve Reiss, Style's deputy assistant managing editor.

    In Maryland, profiles of Senate candidates -- Republican Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat -- were neutral to positive, as were those of the gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Martin O'Malley and incumbent Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). I longed for a more critical eye, especially in the Cardin piece, which seemed relentlessly positive. Several readers thought Steele's profile should have mentioned that he flunked the bar exam, but a lot of folks do that. Pro-Steele readers were right to say The Post underplayed the story about several prominent black Prince George's County Democrats endorsing Steele. It was given one-column display on the Metro section front page.

    Now to local races. Last Sunday there was a big Style layout of pictures and a favorable story on Isiah "Ike" Leggett, the Democratic candidate for Montgomery County executive; there will be no comparable Style story on Republican Chuck Floyd.

    Jeanne Novotny, a Montgomery County resident, wrote: "I see the two-page article on Ike Leggett as a free campaign commercial. The Post editorial staff can endorse as it sees fit, but the Style section is not the place for an admiring piece on any candidate, particularly this close to the election." In a statement, Floyd called it a "puff piece" and said, "Leggett does not have to spend any money on advertisements because he has The Washington Post doing his bidding for him."

    Their complaints are valid. While Montgomery County is heavily Democratic, and Leggett is favored to win, waiting until after the election to run the profile would have been far fairer.

    Then Style ran a piece on Monday about the Montgomery County Council's only Republican, Howard A. Denis; no comparable piece was planned on his opponent, Democrat Roger Berliner. Faye Cohen, a Chevy Chase reader, called to complain: "This is a great ad for Howard, but it is unfair." Reiss said, "We wanted to take a look at a local candidate's struggle for attention, something that focused on the nitty-gritty of diets and shoes and intentionally didn't focus on issues. Denis has a reputation as a tireless campaigner and a somewhat humorous guy, so he fit the bill."

    But Ben Beach of Bethesda wrote: "The race between Denis and Berliner may be one of the closest in the county. This story did nothing to help a voter make up her mind." And there was no piece in Metro to help.

    Another issue is pictures. McLean reader Bill Crosby complained about Oct. 30 photos. "As is frequently the case with The Post, the Republican [Allen] is shown looking grim and the Democrat [Webb] is shown looking cheerful, confident, smiling. Go to B4, you will find a photo of O'Malley smiling, looking chipper, one of Cardin, smiling, and one of Ehrlich , looking grim. Whoever picks the photographs before elections always seems to find the worst possible photographs for the Republicans and the best possible photographs for the Democrats." (The Web version of my column has these photos.)

    The Allen photo, to me, was better than the Webb shot. Cardin wasn't smiling very much, and Ehrlich didn't look so grim. But sometimes I have agreed with the complainers. Joe Elbert, assistant managing editor for photography, believes that campaign photos must be "evenhanded in size and demeanor" and "the best you can get."

    Deborah Howell can be reached at 202-334-7582 or atombudsman@washpost.com.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/03/AR2006110301462.html
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Let me tell you! No state has the dilemma we in Illinois face. Blogo, our current D governor has had nearly his entire cadre indicted. Now the R-Topinka, has sold out nearly every reform minded R candidate for the past 6 years.

    I'm voting for Blogo, he will be indicted and Pat Quinn, the Lt. Governor is way cleaner than either candidate. Birkett, welll I'll just say I have personal issues with him, he is running for R Lt. Gov. and those personal issues involve pedophilia.
     
  3. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Sen Allen has been savaged by the liberal media for months and he is STILL leading in some polls

    The race if tight and Republicans are pissed off over the biased coverage. Republican turnout will be huge and the liberal media will be shocked whent he votes are counted

    I do not know much about the problems in IL, but the liberal media has gone overboard ont he attacks of Allen and Santorum
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    You do not know anything about the problems in IL.... to be comparing the races....
     
  5. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Here is another example of the liberal bias in the media

    This is the reason MSNBC is in the basement when it comes to ratings


    MSNBC's Idea of Balance: Matthews, Olbermann to Anchor Coverage
    Posted by Matthew Sheffield on November 6, 2006 - 20:48.
    With marketing decisions like this you have to wonder why MSNBC is even bothering to compete with Fox News: Left-wing commentators Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann will be anchoring the network's Election Night coverage.

    What better way to get non-liberal viewers to tune in to your channel than to have an anchor duo headed up by a former Democratic staffer who couldn't stop smiling at the thought that his fellow party members will take Congress and a genuine leftist who routinely calls Republicans nazis, fascists, terrorists, liars, and everything in between?

    http://newsbusters.org/
     
  6. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    The Washington Post and PMSNBC are biased?! No, say it isn't so!
     
  7. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    As opposed to the GOPNewsnetwork at Fox? Or the Washtimes?? Or most of talk radio??

    Yeah... there's a real "liberal bias" in the media. :scratch:
     
  8. T-Bor
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    T-Bor Active Member

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    Your from Illinois ?? I was close, that definately explains it.


     
  9. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    LMAO. You compare one TV station, one newspaper, and basically one syndicated radio station to ALL the rest. You take the cake.
     
  10. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    What's that supposed to mean?
     

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