Time: Fri Dec 12 17:08:45 1997
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: In Their Own Words: Journalists and Bias (fwd)
Bcc: sls

>In Their Own Words: Journalists and Bias
>How much store should Americans put in the media's protestations that
>political bias has nothing to do with what comes out of newsrooms? Time and
>again, at Accuracy in Media, we hear the refrain, "I might have my own
>opinions, but they do not affect what I report." Oh, bosh. Few reporters can
>put their prejudices aside when they sit down before a word processor or
>stand before a microphone. Furthermore, many prominent journalists have the
>professional honesty to admit just that.
>Following is a sample of statments from journalists themselves about how
>bias does play a role in news coverage, and the cavalier attitude too many
>news organizations towards fairness. Accuracy in Media intends to update
>this compilation from time to time, so your contributions are invited. Post
>them either on the AIM site or send them directly to me at
>--Joseph C. Goulden
>Director of Media Analysis
>Accuracy in Media
>Richard Harwood, former assistant managing editor and ombudsman, The
>Washington Post, Op Ed column, 8 March 1996:
>"American journalists--probably a majority--try with varying degrees of
>success to keep their partisan allegiances out of their work. But the
>journalist without those allegiances is rare indeed, as every poll and
>sociological study of the work force has confirmed. In nearly half a century
>in the news business, I have never known a political writer, for example,
>who was 'indifferent' to the outcome of a presidential election. And the
>major newspaper that has no social and community values, values that are
>expressed in what it chooses to print and not to print, is a very rare
>Harwood, Op Ed column, Washington Post, 28 October 1990:
>"You are not 'entitled' to a letter to the editor,to an op-ed piece or even
>to a paid advertisement; if we don't like it, we don't print it. to ask for
>'equal time' on the evening news or in the morning newspaper is, very often,
>to bay at the moon. You have no 'right' to fair treatment, no 'right' to be
>quoted accurately or in context or even quoted at all in news reports,
>broadcasts, or commentaries....If your reputation is soiled in a front-page
>story under a four-column hadline, it is most unlikely to be cleansed in the
>same spot (if it is cleansed at all)."
>Evan Thomas, Washington bureau chief, Newsweek Magazine, on Inside
>Washington, 11 May 1996:'
>Commenting on Speaker Newt Gingrich's charge that the media are biased,,
>Thomas stated, "This is true. There is liberal bias. About 85 percent of the
>reporters who cover the White House vote Democratic. They have for a long
>time. Particularly at the networks, at the lower levels, among the editors
>and the so-called infrastructure, there is a liberal bias. There is a
>liberal bias at Newsweek, the magazine I work for."
>Bernard Goldberg, CBS News correspondent, The Wall Street Journal, Op Ed
>piece, 13 February 1986:
>"There are lots of reasons fewer people are watching network news, and one
>of them, I'm more convinced than ever, is that our viewers simply don't
>trust us. And for good reason.
>"The old argument that the networks 5and other 'media elites' have a liberal
>bias is so blatantly true that it's hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we
>don't sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how we're going to
>slant the news. We don't have to. It comes naturally to most reporters."
>Page two
>The Freedom Forum/Roper Center survey of 139 Washington-based bureau chiefs
>and congressional correspondents, April 1996.
>Question #49: How would you characterize your political orientation?
>22 % Liberal
>39 % Liberal to Moderate
>30 % Moderate
>7 % Moderate to Conservative
>2 % Conservative
>Question #53: Did you vote for Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ross Perot, or
>some other candidate?
>89 % Bill Clinton
>7 % George Bush
>2 % Ross Perot
>2 % Other

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