‘Ideologically Neutral’

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on March 17, 2010

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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 3/15/10).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

The press has fallen “out of love” with President Obama, Howard Fineman of Newsweek declares in a highly revealing column:

The “mainstream media” are losing patience with, and even interest in, their erstwhile hero. President Barack Obama never had a chance with the [Fox News] crowd, of course, and it didn’t take the president long to offend the fierce left wing of the blogosphere. But now, finally, the MSM [main-stream media], which views itself as ideologically neutral, has found ideologically neutral reasons to lose patience with him: that he may be ineffectual; that he doesn’t know how to play the game; that he can’t get anything done. Exhibit A: the health-care bill. The [New York] Times’s Frank Rich, the astute dean of the commentariat, wrote recently that Obama has failed to “communicate a compelling narrative” in office and, as a result, “could be toast if he doesn’t make good on a year’s worth of false starts.”

If the “mainstream media” is “ideologically neutral,” does it ever experience “love” for a conservative politician, or view such a pol[itician] as a “hero”? But the fact that Frank Rich, a [biting/sarcastic] left-liberal former theater critic, is “Exhibit A” here rather undermines the claim of neutrality, does it not?

Read the original post at opinionjournal.com. (Scroll half-way down the page for the entry.)


1.  Define ideological and neutral.

2.  a) Do you think James Taranto has a legitimate point about the press not being ideologically neutral? Explain your answer.
b)  Ask a parent the same question.

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


1.  ideological – based on or relating to a particular set of ideas or beliefs [in this case conservative or liberal beliefs] (from dictionary.cambridge.org)

neutral – not saying or doing anything that would encourage or help any of the groups involved in an argument or war (from dictionary.cambridge.org)

2.  a) and b) Opinion questions. Answers vary.