[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: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/07/AR2008110702895.html
UPDATE: Doug Ross on the media’s connections to Democratic campaigns and Presidents, including CNN selling Obama T-Shirts.