This is really wanky. Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times has a pearl-clutching piece about the fear that the Obama administration’s hiring of two journalists will lead to bias in favor of Obama across the entire media. Despite pointing out that the Bush administration brought journalists into the house (see: Tony Snow) and that the McCain administration would have been “a job destination for mainstream journalists in 2000,” it’s Obama that is producing a fear of bias. Rutenberg even goes to the absurd length of getting Jay Carney to defend joining the administration as Biden’s communications director with claims of non-partisanship. Because it would be so unethical for someone to work for a politician they wanted to succeed, or something.
Rutenberg never explains how having journalists in the Obama administration will actually lead to bias in coverage by the media still reporting. I don’t know if it is Rutenberg’s fear that Time will give Obama a pass because Carney is on Biden’s staff or if the magical presence of one Beltway journalist on the administration payroll will mean Fox News, Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal will feel compelled to pull their punches. Most likely the presence of Carney and Linda Douglass in the administration will not mean a single thing regarding the tone and depth of coverage Obama receives in the press. To the extent that there is any bias in journalism favoring the administration, I’d think it more likely that tough-minded journalists at Time and CNN will feel obligated to give Carney and Douglass a harder-than-usual go in order to avoid any accusations of bias. But I doubt Rutenberg and the Times would see much news value in that story, as it fails to further the narrative that the media is biased towards Democrats.
One thought on “Bias in Journalism?”
It must have been a slow news day. Perhaps The New York Times could resolve some of their financial problems by letting some of these reporters, Maureen Dowd, & Frank Rich find work elsewhere. Then they can concentrate on the “news that is fit to print.”