Does a Reporter’s Opinion Belong in a News Report?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on March 30, 2011

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-Read the excerpt below from the "Best of the Web" post by OpinionJournal.com's editor James Taranto (original post date 3/22/11).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

Here is a great example of why the Associated Press’s so-called accountability journalism has had execrable [terrible] results. It’s a dispatch [report] by Philip Elliott titled “A Perfect GOP Candidate Is Hard to Find”:

Mitt Romney is the godfather of what Republican critics call Obamacare. Newt Gingrich is an adulterer on his third marriage. Tim Pawlenty is too green–environmentally, that is.

Jon Huntsman worked for President Barack Obama. And Haley Barbour has come off as dismissive of racial segregation.

Is any potential Republican presidential nominee without vulnerabilities that could alienate voters, especially those in the GOP primaries, and provide ready-made attacks for opponents?

Not in this crop.

The 2012 Republican field is deeply flawed, lacking a serious GOP contender without a personal misstep or policy move that angers the party base. Each of those weighing bids has at least one issue that looms as an obstacle to White House ambitions, and that could derail the candidate if not handled with care.

He eventually gets around to quoting some of the candidates, as well as other political observers, but the opening passage of the dispatch (which goes on for two more paragraphs) is all opinion. We tend to agree that most of the GOP [Republican] contenders have major flaws, yet it rubs us the wrong way when a supposedly objective reporter writes it.

After all, who cares what [reporter] Philip Elliott thinks? The important question is whether Republicans think their field is flawed. Elliott seems to be implying that they do, but he does so in his own authoritative voice, ignoring those whose opinions actually matter. …

Read the origianl post at opinionjournal.com. (Scroll almost halfway down to “Accountability Journalism”)

Questions

Why shouldn’t a reporter include his opinion in a news report?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

A reporter shouldn’t include his opinion in a news report because the purpose of a news article is to inform the public, not attempt to influence public opinion.