For those who haven’t seen the latest bruise for the media, it’s worth catching up on the ethical conflict at the Seattle Times.
Today Times columnist Nicole Brodeur explains her regrets as one of several staff members who cheered in the newsroom upon learning about the departure of Republican strategist Karl Rove from the White House. As she notes, “it validates every fear people have about the media.”
That was me.
I was one of the people who cheered in The Seattle Times news meeting Monday when it was announced that presidential adviser Karl Rove had resigned.
The reaction to this bit of national news made national news, kicking off a Web-based debate about whether journalists should bring their personal views to the office. In the beginning, the Times’ own David Postman and The Stranger’s blog weighed in. By Thursday, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz was calling the episode an “embarrassment.” Rove himself laughed about it on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.
Times Executive Editor David Boardman was dismayed at our outburst.
[Continue reading Brodeur’s column]
Previously in this story:
- David Postman reports Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman’s dismay at news staffers cheering Rove’s departure.
- Media critic Howard Kurtz calls the episode “an embarrassment.”
- Bloggers from the left, most notably Seattle’s Dan Savage, criticize Boardman’s rebuke.
- Postman says Savage is “wrong on several fronts.”
- Boardman responds to the criticism, observing “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.”
- Rush Limbaugh discusses the event on air with Karl Rove.
- Postman says Rush exaggerated and Savage “should do some reporting before he gets up on his high horse”.
- The incident was also covered in Editor & Publisher magazine.
Bias remains a very serious issue for the media.
- More than half of all likely voters believe the media have a liberal bias: A recent Zogby poll found that 83 percent of likely voters believe the media are biased. Of those, nearly two-thirds said the media had a liberal bias (28 percent felt the bias was conservative rather than liberal).
- Perceived bias remains one of the largest problems that the audience has with the media, particularly within the Internet news audience.
We discuss potential liberal media bias (Goldberg) and conservative media bias (Alterman) in class. The perception of bias weakens mainstream journalism’s credibility, which remains perhaps its most valuable characteristic in the new media environment. Incidents such as these reinforce the perception of liberal media bias already held by more than half of those likely to vote and thus damage mainstream journalism as a whole.