Media Blog

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The WaPo’s Built-in Bias


Deborah Howell, Washington Post ombudsman, writes about the media’s “liberalism” (her quotes) in today’s WaPo. In part:

Journalism tends to draw to its ranks those who are idealistic, who want to right society’s ills and who look upon their work as a calling. They look at journalism less as a job with a business than as a calling to public service, which can put them at odds with their own business executives. [...]

Journalists tend to be softhearted toward the afflicted or the underdog, which tends to make them less critical of illegal immigrants or poor people in bad straits, and more hard-nosed toward those who wield power.

First, anyone who feels called to public service should probably reconsider his or her job as a newspaper reporter. The news doesn’t strike me as a good or appropriate place to right society’s ills. There are plenty of good charities and worthy causes to donate time and money to. This feeling of responsibility to fix society’s ills also happens to be frighteningly similar to the Democrats’ view of their role in government. It’s scary to think that reporters feel the same way about their jobs as journalists.

Howell also writes:

Journalists possess two traits that are more important than political beliefs. By their very nature, good journalists are skeptical. The old newsroom saying goes: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” And they challenge authority in whatever form it exists. Ask any president. I’ve read The Post for 16 years, and Post journalists were every bit as tough on Bill Clinton as on the Bushes before and after him.

This would be easier to believe if Byron York hadn’t pointed this out on Friday:

WaPo headlines ‘06:

Pride of Baltimore: Nancy Pelosi Learned Her Politics At the Elbow of Her Father the Mayor

Muted Tones of Quiet Authority: A Look Suited to the Speaker

Power Cleaning: As Democrats Take Over the House, Republicans’ Perks May Go Out the Window

WaPo headlines ‘94:

The Day After: Sifting Through the Wreckage

How the Gingrich Stole Christmas

Howell ends her column by encouraging people to inform her of bias. Well, here it is.


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