Thursday, August 25, 2005
Journalistic malpractice: New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller has been doing hard work following President Bush from place to place on his monthlong "vacation." I haven't spent a whole lot of time analyzing the Times' news coverage. During the 2004 election I discovered just how tainted the paper's hard news coverage had been tainted by liberal ideology when they ran a one-sided smear of the Swift Boat vets.
Nonetheless, as I scanned the wires briefly before heading home last night with the mother of all headaches, I was surprised to see this paragraph in the Times' story on President Bush:
Mr. Bush met Ms. Sheehan in a similar setting in June 2004, but she has said he acted as if he was at a party, did not know her son's name and was disrespectful to her, calling her "Mom" throughout the session.
It would be one thing to be completely ignorant of the fact that Cindy Sheehan told an entirely different story when the event occurred, but this is old news. If Bumiller still doesn't know about Sheehan's changing stories, then she hasn't been doing her job -- a reporter has to know what's going on on their beat. If, as is almost certain, Bumiller does know about the differing accounts and continues to only peddle the new one, then bias is probably the nicest thing she is guilty of.
I took a little flak a month or two ago when I referred to the New York Times as a propaganda rag. Upon reflection, maybe that was too harsh. Their sports reporting is OK. Their science and technology reporting isn't half bad. However, when it comes to politics or culture, I think that my description of the paper's quality is pretty accurate. I must confess that I was shocked when I read Bumiller's story. I honestly wasn't prepared to see such blatant, biased, one-sided reporting (which is why I'm writing about it now).
You might think that this is just Bumiller we're talking about when it comes to bias. Maybe this just slipped past an editor or two unwittingly on the way into the paper. I might believe that two, if I hadn't found out that this was the fourth time in the past few days that Bumiller's done this. Former Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent can deny all he wants that the paper's political coverage isn't tainted by its "cosmopolitan" (read: "liberal") mindset, but its things like this that prove that none are so blind as those who refuse to see.