Sunday, April 8, 2012

The New York Times: Purveyor of unbiased news or of artitorials masquerading as unbiased news?

Note: Article linked at NewsBusters!


This question is not a new one. It has been bandied about for quite some time and it concerns whether a culture of reporting objectivity exists at The New York Times, as well as at other mainstream media outlets in print, radio and television.

Simply put are the facts of stories consistently presented straight down the middle or do some take the position of biased or slanted news providers for the general public which is then accepted by these unknowing consumers as gospel?

The answer is of course that a bias does in fact exist in the media, and no where will that be more evident than in the push to reelect Barack Obama for a second term in the White House.

Many outlets will assume a position as propagandists for the Obama campaign under the guise of being an objective news delivery service.

So because some of these articles seem closer to editorial than news, they need to be filed under a new topic heading known by TPC as "Artitorial's" and not, as in the case of the article below, under the simple heading "Politics".

I am not naive and the bottom-line is that if the readers, listeners or viewers of a slanted news outlet are aware that a bias towards one side or the other exists it is fine.

But when these consumers are bombarded with stories that lean one way or the other and are unaware of a bias, this type of reporting is very wrong. In America, when the average Joe watches the evening news or reads the morning paper they will in most cases believe that what is being told to them is unbiased and factual. When it's not, therein lies the problem.

I grew up to assume that CBS, NBC and ABC were providing the news and learned differently because I had an interest. Most Americans do not. I am not saying this as either good or bad but it is a fact and in a presidential election year with a vote that has the potential to be close it is a major problem!

In the case of The New York Times raising a question concerning unfettered objectivity will not come as any fantastic revelation or great surprise. Or at least it shouldn't but when it does we run into that problem again concerning the ability of the reader to differentiate or discern between fact and editorial opinions.

I say this not as some stone-cold ideologue but as a simple man who walked down to the end of his driveway and brought the paper inside to peruse over a Saturday morning cup of coffee (Note: I don't typically read the NY Times but the NY Newsday was unavailable).

I had no agenda when I started to turn the pages but as I read headlines and some of the actual content the idea of reporting objectivity hit me like a ton of bricks.

The mainstream media and a question of bias!

I am clearly no fan of Obama and his administration so for those of you who are I would not expect you to take my word for the fact that media bias exists. Instead, at the end of this article go to the link provided below to read the article in question in its entirety and come to your own conclusions.

And then, if you happen agree with my thoughts concerning the existence of mainstream media bias let the public editor of The New York Times know. Give a voice to your feelings on the subject of objective news reporting versus editorials presented as objective news reporting!

"Obama Embraces National Security as Campaign Issue"

This article filed under the heading of "Politics" spends 1,000 words discussing Obama national security policy and how his campaign is chafing at the bit to take Mitt Romney on in this arena.

Oh there are some mentions of potential issues or problems for the President but the focus, at least in my opinion, was on tearing down Romney as a candidate and building-up what the writer considers to be the Obama record on the subject of protecting our nation and improving US standing around the world.

The takeaway for a reader didn't know any better (which of course most don't) is an impression that President Obama is a tough as nails leader who says what he means, means what he says and who has made the US and the world a safer place.

At the same time this same reader may also come to feel that Mr. Obama has improved US standing and the perception of the country in the eyes of people around the world. It goes on to mention high profile Democrats who will be going out to try and substantiate this claim.

For some readers this article may seem more like fiction than fact, but again those are not the people being targeted by The New York Times. For example,

“...We are so eager for this debate to happen,” said Michèle Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense who is now one of the Obama campaign’s national security surrogates. “If Romney is the Republican challenger, and he is going to make national security an issue, the president’s record is very strong and speaks for itself...”

At the very end of the article 72 words are dedicated to Mitt Romney.

"...Mr. Romney, of course, has his own national security surrogates. Richard S. Williamson, who was Mr. Bush’s special envoy to Sudan, said Mr. Obama’s national security record left plenty of room for Mr. Romney to attack.

“The world is better off because Osama bin Laden is dead. The world is better off because Muammar Qaddafi is dead,” Mr. Williamson said in an interview. “But two deaths do not a foreign policy make.”

Source for the full article: The New York Times

New York Times Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane: public@nytimes.com

What's your opinion! We'd like to know!

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