Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004  

I've spoken about the bias journalistic "objectivity" can produce, and the Campaign Desk now has some numbers to back it up:

Editorial pages editors have long wrestled with the question of how to treat letters to the editor. Should a newspaper publish letters in proportion to what it receives, or should it be sure it prints equal numbers of letters on each side of an issue in contention? When Columbia Journalism Review sampled letters-to-the-editor at newspapers around the country in March and April of last year, it found that letter writers who opposed the war in Iraq dominated. Despite that, editors of three out of ten newspapers studied chose to publish an equal number of pro-war and anti-war letters. In Eugene, Oregon, the Register-Guard received seven antiwar letters for each pro-war letter, but its policy was to print one pro-war letter for every antiwar letter. So also with the Nashville Tennessean, where 70 percent of all letters-to-the-editor were antiwar but 50 percent of letters printed were pro-war. In Lexington, Kentucky, letters were 2-to-1 antiwar in one week and 1-to-1 in another week; yet both weeks the Lexington Herald-Leader selected letters at a 1-to-1 ratio.

Now wait a second, let me think. I dimly recall something about this--wasn't, wasn't, oh yes, I remember:

After a summer of sliding polls and an autumn of tough questions in Congress, the White House is hoping to boost public support by convincing Americans that the cynical national press is getting the story wrong. Last week President George W. Bush himself complained about the national media’s fixation on bad news, and made a show of going around them by granting interviews with local TV reporters. "I’m mindful of the filter through which some news travels," he told one interviewer, "and sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people."

posted by Jeff | 9:01 AM |
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