Patterico's Pontifications


Washington Post Admits Bias for Obama (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 9:52 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Deborah Howell, the Ombudsman of the Washington Post, admits the Post’s coverage was biased for Obama:

“The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.”

Like most of the media, the Washington Post is addicted to Obama and Democrats and it needs a 12-step program to recover. I doubt it will happen, however, since the Washington Post refuses to fully examine and accept its errors:

“Some readers complain that coverage is too poll-driven. They’re right, but it’s not going to change. The Post’s polling was on the mark, and in some cases ahead of the curve, in focusing on independent voters, racial attitudes, low-wage voters, the shift of African Americans’ support from Clinton to Obama and the rising importance of economic issues. The Post and its polling partner ABC News include 50 to 60 issues questions in every survey instead of just horse-race questions, so public attitudes were plumbed as well.

Translation: Sure, we were biased for Obama but did you notice how well we anticipated public opinion? Dear Ms. Ombudsman: The polls were “ahead of the curve” because the media, including your own Washington Post, were driving the news and public opinion in Obama’s favor. I’m not surprised your polls identified emerging issues and opinions given how religiously you were pushing them on the front pages of your newspaper.

The article concludes with a defense of its Palin coverage and a one sentence admission that it was a “serious omission” not to cover Biden. Apparently the Ombudsman is content with a 1-step program: We goofed. So much for taking transparent steps to prevent this from happening again.

I’m sure that for as long as there’s been a media, journalists have been lured by the temptation to manipulate the news instead of report it. But I think it’s become more acceptable in the industry since Watergate made Woodward and Bernstein media celebrities/heroes. Professionalism is a skill but it’s also a habit. Years of falling prey to the temptation of manipulating the news made it easier for reporters in this election to succumb with Obama’s candidacy. Further, the more one news source did it, the more the rest followed like lemmings.

The Washington Post powers may be glad they got this off their chests and they will undoubtedly reassure us we can trust them because they have reformed. But like most addicts, I have no doubt they will soon return to their shared addiction of making Obama’s Presidency a success.

Washington Post:

UPDATE: Doug Ross on the media’s connections to Democratic campaigns and Presidents, including CNN selling Obama T-Shirts.


54 Responses to “Washington Post Admits Bias for Obama (Updated)”

  1. I think we should flood the MSM with demands to follow-up on the stories that they blatantly ignored during this election, at least until Jan. 20th. I think we should use this statement against them to do so. I mean really, he’s already elected and if there’s nothing bad there then what do they have to worry about?

    A Californian (485ef9)

  2. I like your idea but just as the Ombudsman waited until after the election to make her survey results public, I think the media will wait until after Obama’s last day in office to publish anything they have on him. If then.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  3. I read the whole column, and I love how the ombudsman admits bias, then spends the last 1/3 of her column gushing over what a great job the Washington Post staff did in their election coverage. Is it any wonder that no one in the newsroom takes this kind of criticism seriously?

    JVW (f93297)

  4. I knew we would see some aw-shucks-sorry-we-were-so-biased articles after the election was over.

    Imagine if some prosecutor wrote a column in the newspaper following an execution, and he said, “gee, we knew he was innocent of this crime, and he was railroaded, but we held back exculpatory evidence because he was a really bad guy, we wanted to see him dead, and we didn’t trust the jury to make the right choice.”

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  5. The MSM destroyed two middle-class, caucasian Americans – Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.

    Why? Because they both had the potential to weaken and/or defeat the Messiah with a Thin Resume.

    We are indeed at a turning point in this country. We now have rule by the minorities – blacks, illegal amigos, and Mohammadens. Rule by the children – college kids and media brats who look up with glassy-eyed reverence to The One. The government and the media have merged into one: the government-media complex which “puts out” press reports on how the Oba-messiah will “fix” the economy and give “tax cuts” to millions of adoring voters who don’t actually pay federal income tax. Interesting.

    Universal health insurance. Universal, mandatory pre-school. Civilian national security force.

    Very interesting.

    I say American conservatives/traditionalists work to destroy this Saul Alinksy social agitator (really just a smooth talking version of Jesse and Sharpton). Let’s get to work to mock The One, show him no respect, work to destroy his presidency. Let’s start.

    BruceTi (f6cafd)

  6. The WaPo remains committed to the truth, but on their own schedule, and only when convenient. Recall the “Worst economy in 50 years!” mantra in 1992? The WaPo had a great article demonstrating that it was in fact a very shallow recession, with an unusually robust recovery which was already under way. It was run the day _after_ the election.

    Alan Biddle (2ba4a2)

  7. Deborah Howell is Jamie Gold’s bi-coastal twin…
    Neither is to be believed.
    They would defend their papers even if the headline tomorrow was “Sun Rises In West”!

    Another Drew (70642b)

  8. A Californian and the ever-civil DRJ:

    PLEASE be careful with your suggestions. Good Lord, if malfeasance is proven that leads to something criminal (and the fund-raising mess could), who would be President?

    Much becomes clear about the seemingly inexplicable choice of Joe Biden.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  9. Comment by Eric Blair — 11/8/2008 @ 10:42 am

    I don’t know Eric, I can imagine that the “President from MBNA” would be less offensive/dangerous, than a President whose allegiances lie with Daley/Ayers/Khalidi/Alinsky/Soros.
    Also, Biden’s such a clown, the Dems would be forced to run someone against their own President in the ’12 Primaries.

    Another Drew (70642b)

  10. DRJ,

    I’m perfectly satisfied with your (or Patterico’s) synopsis of anything printed in a media outlet. Putting a hot link into the post actually provides income to the WaPo.

    Might it not be better to follow media’s own practice of placing http addresses at the bottom of the piece without hot linking them at all? I generally will not click a link anymore because I refuse to contribute even .00000001 cent to enemies of freedom.

    There is really nothing like cancellation of subscriptions and quiet time without the TV on to make the point clear that many people prefer the media dead rather than repaired.

    Rick Ballard (14757e)

  11. Well, I guess the good news is that the Washington Post, GM, Ford and other institutions infected by leftist bias will soon be bankrupt. God knows they went Chapter 11 on their morals a long time ago.

    Roy Mustang (2f688e)

  12. I’ve updated the post with a link to Doug Ross on the media’s connections to Democratic politicians.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  13. Rick Ballard,

    I like your idea, especially now that more media sources will only be available online. I’ve moved the link to the end of the post.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  14. “Deborah Howell, the Ombudsman of the Washington Post, admits the Post’s coverage was biased for Obama”

    In other news, the Washington Post’s team of investigative reporters have also announced that the sun rises in the east and have uncovered the fact that the pope is catholic.

    Dave Surls (00087b)

  15. Media Bias makes it very difficult when you are in power and hard to regain power. Left Wing Media has been working with Dems since Al Gores loss in election 2000. They have magnified every GOP problem and ignored errors by Dems. How can we get more conservatives into journalism?

    Dennis D (ae900a)

  16. I’ll give you the appearance of a tilt DRJ.

    But keep an eye on the “recovery” stage, please make sure it doesn’t tilt all the way into your column the next 4 to 8 years, the way it did during the last Democrat President.

    Oiram (91d41d)

  17. Dennis,

    Just keeep posting whatever Drudge tells you to without any fact checking at all.

    That’s all it takes to be in the right wing media.

    snuffles (677ec2)

  18. The media are finally printing a few stories, either finally hinting they’ve spent the last year campaigning for Obama or admitting we really don’t much about the man. This is closing the barn door after the horse is long gone or more like that the barn has burned to the ground. It’s pure CYA.

    Obama is the media’s President. They created him, they protected him, they promoted him. The coming catastrophe is theirs. A little honest journalism after the election is far, far too little too late. If 50% of newspapers now publishing are still in operation in four years without a bailout it will be a miracle.

    Ken Hahn (a07422)

  19. DRJ,

    Thank you.

    I would recommend this site to anyone wishing to read the AP feed and support a publisher worthy of respect. Click the RomeSentinel button at the top and read his editorials to confirm my observation, then bookmark it if you agree.

    I do not trust or like AP but I know that political and news junkies are going to be looking at AP stories somewhere – might as well put that .00001 cent in the pocket of someone worthwhile rather than worthless.

    Rick Ballard (14757e)

  20. Remember RR’s description of Liberal Government:
    If it moves, Tax it;
    If it keeps moving, Regulate it;
    If it stops moving, Subsidize it!

    The Media are in the process of slowly ceasing to move,
    without passing through the regulatory phase (thank you, 1st-A).
    And, that same 1st-A should preclude any attempt at subsidization –
    I’m not holding my breath on that though!

    Another Drew (70642b)

  21. addendum….

    As Flip Wilson would have said…
    Let It Die, Rev; Let it Die!

    Another Drew (70642b)

  22. Pollster Scott Rasmussen at Rasmussen Reports has already polled Republicans about 2012, and the top three choices are:

    Palin 64%
    Huckabee 12%
    Romney 11%

    Rasmussen adds:

    “Ninety-one percent (91%) of Republicans have a favorable view of Palin, including 65% who say their view is Very Favorable.”

    Official Internet Data Office (c1dfe4)

  23. Shocka!

    And water is wet.

    Icy Truth (84d054)

  24. Washington Post, a fine place to apply the fairness doctrine.

    bill-tb (26027c)

  25. We were biased…but we were “ahead of the curve”.

    This mendacious shill is worse, if that’s possible, than the morally bankrupt cretins who distort the news in the first place.

    It is her job to protect the READERS…not the paper. When cops go “rogue” and Internal Affairs is a sham, you have a conspiracy of silence, coverups and sham investigations.

    The Ombudsmen and Reader Representatives who shill for the paper commit TWO offenses. The first, creating an alibi for the fraud and corruption that appears in their medium.

    Second, they abandon their post and act as traitors against their mandate. PROTECT THE PUBLIC. This is a double violation of a public trust.

    The PUBLIC ought to hire these people as independent contractors…and fire them when they become corrupt themselves.

    The “admission” of bias was weak, lame, understated and essentially a prep for the whitewash that was to follow. It is standard operating procedure for these shills.

    Eliminate their jobs entirely. Since they don’t do what they pretend the job is…why not just call them part of the PR department to better reflect the BS they put out.

    cfbleachers (1f4df1)

  26. Oiram,

    You’re concerned the media might tilt into my column?

    Take heart because the odds that will happen aren’t good, but I think your statement reveals an odd version of the ‘fair and balanced’ pendulum. It sounds like you think it’s unfortunate but unavoidable when bias works in your favor, but it’s unacceptable if the pendulum swings too far and the bias helps conservatives. I say let the pendulum swing because one way to avoid bias is to let the pendulum tilt both ways. Only then will each side have an incentive to avoid partisanship.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  27. whiffles – So you read Drudge?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  28. Not regularly, daley.

    When I see a story repeated on every.single right wing blog, I check to see if it’s a Drudge product.

    It invariably is.

    Who can ever forget the Backwards “B” McCain girl, and the last shred of Drudge’s dignity that got flushed with her?

    snuffles (677ec2)

  29. “When I see a story repeated on every.single right wing blog, I check to see if it’s a Drudge product.

    It invariably is.”

    whiffles – Amazing. Like if a story is of such interest to appear on a lot right wing blogs, including Drudge, it makes you wonder where it originates. Your conclusion is that it can only originate on Drudge although you present no evidence for such conclusion or that Drudge has a huge readership among bloggers or commenters.

    By the way, how do you cover every single right wing blog to see if they are covering a story? I assume that was not a serious comment and instead you just look at a sample. What sample gets the benefit of your biased eyeballs?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  30. Drudge updated and corrected the story, which is the right thing to do, and exactly what Dan Rather failed to do on his 2004 Texas Air National Guard memo “story,” which was a CBS fabrication. It was the “dignity” of CBS that has been flushed.

    And she was not really a McCain girl–she was a Ron Paul girl, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    Official Internet Data Office (c1dfe4)

  31. Who can ever forget the Backwards “B” McCain girl, and the last shred of Drudge’s dignity that got flushed with her?

    Out of curiosity, do you feel the same way about CBS and the forged memos?

    JVW (f93297)

  32. AD#9: well, you might be right. I’m still furious over Biden’s dishonesty and cupidity regarding the Thomas confirmation hearings. What a massive tool, to quote my students.

    And given the credit card connections, that “tool” nickname is more accurate than might be expected.

    But there is some good comment relief, from TdJ:

    “..When I see a story repeated on every.single right wing blog, I check to see if it’s a Drudge product.

    It invariably is…”

    It’s like a series of funny jokes, one after the other. “Every,” “invariable,” and the like.

    And the best part is the seemingly unconscious projection.

    I would normally say “Pot…meet Mr. Kettle” and urge them not to get into racialist comparisons.

    Where is JD, ready to denounce me (or the metaphor) for racism?

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  33. JVW,

    CBS has decades of credible reporting to balance out one bad story.

    Right wing blogs have a few years of incredibly biased piffle to draw on.

    snuffles (677ec2)

  34. Novalis – is mommy paying for your bills, as you blog in her basement? Maybe your Oba-messiah will inspire you to actually work for a living!

    With almost half the population on the dole, what result could we expect? The uneducated, the lazy, the ACORN voter fraudsters and of course, the well educated, limp-wristed, feminized girly-men, who “believe” the Messiah with a Thin Resume is going to “fix” the economy. That along with 24/7 media fixation on “the magic negro” is how Barry Boy won. People who are dependent on the government, will always vote for more government, duh.

    The nationalist backlash against Oprah’s boy hasn’t even begun…….

    Nessus (f6cafd)

  35. snuffles – Please answer my questions.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  36. Like if a story is of such interest to appear on a lot right wing blogs, including Drudge, it makes you wonder where it originates.

    It acts like the proverbial monkey in the Skinner Box – the monkey doesn’t ask where the food pellet comes from, it only knows that it’s there.

    Dmac (e30284)

  37. daley,

    It’s actually pretty easy:

    I just google some right wing smear’s title and the hits come back only from the usual suspects of right wing blogs plus Drudge.

    snuffles (677ec2)

  38. Well, far be it from me to defend Drudge, since I don’t even read him, but he did break the Monica Lewinsky story, so I would put his 5-10 years of reporting up against CBS’s “decades” — especially in light of the resources that each one has — and conclude that Drudge’s record is just as good as that of “the Tiffany Network.”

    JVW (f93297)

  39. As the character played by Jonathan Lithgow said in the film Buckaroo Banzai – “wrong again, Monkey Boy!”

    Dmac (e30284)

  40. “I just google some right wing smear’s title and the hits come back only from the usual suspects of right wing blogs plus Drudge.”

    snuffles – How do you draw a conclusion from this process that something was a “Drudge product?” Seems like a complete ass pull to me.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  41. Boy, you guys sure don’t show much respect for President-elect Obama Supporters. I think we should all try and give each and every POS a fair hearing and a courteous rebuttal in line with the respect and courtesy which they have always extended toward supporters of President Bush.

    Fair play for every POS!

    Rick Ballard (14757e)

  42. POS – piece of Schenactady? (I keed).

    Dmac (e30284)

  43. Dmac, it spelled Schenectady, if you’re talking about the city in upstate New York. It wasn’t always a piece of shit.

    Mossberg500 (9fd170)

  44. should read *it’s spelled*

    Mossberg500 (9fd170)

  45. Here’s a great story, related to this post because Newsweek and The Washington Post are part of the same newsgroup: Apparently the latest post-mortem of the McCain campaign passes along (anonymously, of course) the anecdote that Sarah Palin “refused to go onstage with New Hampshire GOP Sen. John Sununu and Jeb Bradley, a New Hampshire congressman running for the Senate, because they were pro-choice and because Bradley opposed drilling in Alaska.” As pointed out by The Weekly Standard’s blog, this story is probably bulls**t on a couple of levels: (1) Bradley wasn’t running for Senate, he was trying to recapture his former House seat (but hey, why bother doing basic fact checking when there is Sarah Palin to smear?) and (2) John Sununu has a 100% voting record with right-to-life groups (but hey, why bother doing basic fact checking when there is Sarah Palin to smear?).

    JVW (f93297)

  46. Yoo Hoo snuffles

    Caught making shit up as usual?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  47. “Oh, my God!” Slaps forehead. “I-I-I just learned that we have been unfair for the past year!” Wrings hands. “Whatever shall we do?”

    Bleepless (1965b6)

  48. “Sure, we were biased for Obama but did you notice how well we anticipated public opinion”
    What a JOKE! None of what the media did reporting the election coverage can even be remotely construed as real news. Palin and her clothes were the biggest story the last week which tells you all you need to know about the lack of responsibilty by the media in this coverage. They failed the citizens greatly. It was one big extention of the Democratic Party. Nothing impartial about it and to say they anticipated public opinion is a disgrace! They forged public opinion and for a man no one really knows much about because he sure didn’t get asked any tough questions and he wouldn’t interview the last 2 months. Everyone took him at his word and the media drank the kool-aid and handed him the job and a respected man, a man who gave his entire adult life to serving his country was shat on by the media in this abomnination of a media circus. I still will never ever watch NBC or anything that has to do with that company ever again as they may as well be headquarters for the next DNC. Biased much NBC? MSNBC is nothing more than a hate filled tirade towards conservatism and they are supposed to be against partisan politics? PLEASE! Fact all along was the media was in it to push their personal political agenda and news as we known it in the past is dead! This is a celebrity mentality in every facet of American life these days and the coverage of this election was proof positive of that.

    Tony (639f42)

  49. MSNBC and their cohorts is nothing more than a Democratic Party Pep-Rally daily. Turn the channel and stay away from any NBC affiliations.
    Want proof how biased coverage really was in favor of Obama? Read this article by who are they? They are THE Project for Excellence in Journalism.
    Here is the proof.
    Check out MSNBC and their 73% negative coverage of McCain, dwarfing every other broadcast news channel and I didn’t need this study to tell me that, but it is here for all the defenders of this irresponsible media to see for yourselves.
    A study that is completely non-biased.
    So chew on that.

    Tony (639f42)

  50. It’s nothing new that some news networks were so one-sided on election day, especially CNN. why is CNN kissing up to obama so much? Got something going there?

    Virginia Atkinson (325b7e)

  51. In terms of breaking news, that ranks right up there with “The sun is hot” and “Rainfall linked to wetness”.

    Cris Cohen (45c075)

  52. I’m not surprised that so much is being said about Mr. Obama, about who reported what and in what vein. What surprises me is that not more dis-graceful, malicious, out right lies weren’t printed. After all, isn’tthat the way?

    sa sheppard (de8d7c)

  53. Give it up Sheppard. The only liar here was Obama and the media that permitted his skeletons to be hid from the public. You can’t tell me anyone that sits in a church for 20 years and listens to a preacher teach hate and that the “White man is the devil” as his reverend did, you can’t honestly sit there and tell me he didn’t know it was going on all this time and that he wasn’t there for a reason. Reason was he agreed with it! Flat out! You don’t patronize an establishment for that long and have no vested interest. He has many other shady associations and NO ONE investigated it and don’t even get me started about the LA Times! Who Pays Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a story they CANT PUBLISH?!!! When you want to be honest, you let us know! Until then, keep your fairy tales to yourself because anyone that is capable of independent thought, knows what happened here and the only camp that brought up racism and race is the Obama camp! I am so sick of hearing that “if you didn’t vote for Obama, you must be a racist”. Fact is, McCain is NOT Bush and McCain should have been president 8 years ago and McCain is a leader that would have ruled in the center and got things done and the only racism that existed in this election was by Democrats & Acorn (which is a fraud itself and how Obama is permitted to use them and their fraudulent tactics to register false voters). How many black people voted for Obama just because he was black and haven’t a clue about issues? Racism works both ways. Racism got him elected. Racism and dumb white people that think they owe blacks something for stuff that happened before they were even born! Enough already with the racism baloney because if this election proved anything, it is that there are more blacks that are racists than whites. Blacks thought Sarah Palin was Obama’s running mate when asked often. That tells you all you need to know about why they voted! Preach your fairy tales elsewhere. People with intelligence know what happened here no matter what side your on yet you spin it like the media. Tag lines and talking points. Get real!

    Tony (639f42)

  54. Just another case of “Oops, my bad.” by the Post.

    They are following the same plan as two years ago when they repeatedly savaged George Allen with scores of macaca stories and helped propel that cypher Jim Webb into the Senate. At that time, Janet Howell admitted that perhaps the Post had gone a bit overboard on the macaca stories — after it was too late to matter. I cancelled by weekday subscription at that time.

    After this election I cancelled by my Sunday subscription. I refuse to give these dishonet shills one red cent more. Perhaps they will be bankrupt by the next presidential election.

    dl652 (b721e3)

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