Seattle Times Editor Admits Staff is ‘Blue’

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on August 22, 2007

Jump to...

Print

Directions

-Read the excerpt below from the mrc.org post.

-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

NOTE:  Karl Rove is President Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff and political advisor

In an e-mail to his staff, Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman reported that in [the] Monday (Aug. 13) news meeting about planned story assignments, “when word came in of Karl Rove’s resignation, several people in the meeting started cheering.” [In his email] Boardman [said]: “That sort of expression is simply not appropriate for a newsroom.” In revealing the incident in his blog, the paper’s chief political reporter, David Postman, recognized that “it sounds like a conservative’s parody of how a news meeting would be run.”

In a follow up e-mail sent Wednesday, top editor Boardman conceded the display matched the overall politics at the paper: “If we wore our politics on our sleeves in here, I have no doubt that in this and in most other mainstream newsrooms in America, the majority of those sleeves would be of the same color: blue [meaning Democrats]. Survey after survey over the years have demonstrated that most of the people who go into this business tend to vote Democratic, at least in national elections. That is not particularly surprising, given how people make career decisions and that social service and activism is a primary driver for many journalists.”

Postman clarified in his August 14 “Postman on Politics” blog that “it was only a couple of people who cheered and they, thankfully, are not among the people who get a say in news play. But obviously news staff shouldn’t be cheering or jeering the day’s news.” Chief editor Boardman admonished in the Tuesday e-mail, “As we head into a major political year, now’s a good time to remember: Please keep your personal politics to yourself.”

  • Go to MRC.org for the original posting.
  • For a posting “Joe Scarborough Reveals MSNBC Newsroom Booed Bush Speech,” click here.
  • And another post on personal politics in the newsroom by Bill Hobbs, go to NewsBusters.org.

Questions

1.  Why should the news staff of the Seattle Times (or any news staff) keep their personal politics to themselves?

2.  Why do you think the news staffers expressed their personal politics in such a vocal manner?

3.  Do you think the fact that the majority of the mainstream media is blue (Democrat or liberal) affects the way the news is reported?  Explain your answer.


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
























Answer(s)

1.  The news media insists that they are objective and professional when reporting the news.  Most admit to voting Democrat.  Blatantly cheering for the resignation of the opposition party’s  top advisor leads news consumers to believe that these reporters might have a hard time truly being objective when reporting on issues that cast one party in a good or bad light.

2.  Opinion question.  Answers vary.  Some possible answers:  The news staffers were so vocal about their personal politics because:
a)  they are so passionate about their politics they were not able to control their emotions, i.e. they were not able to act in a professional manner
b)  they knew the majority of the people in the room probably felt the same way they did so felt comfortable making their joy known

3.  Opinion question.