mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gee, that doesn't seem like bias...

There is much debate over media bias. Some people on the right feel that reporters often have an unconscious bias towards liberal politics - that the kind of people who get into journalism often are also the kind of people who are into liberal politics, and sometimes that bias shows through. The idea isn't that reporters have an evil, vast left wing conspiracy to bend the media to their whim, but rather that they have their own ideas and they tend to show up in articles even when they shouldn't. This is the crux of books like Bernard Goldberg's Bias. Others, generally on the left, argue that the media is fair, or biased right, since many of the media outlets are owned by big corporations that often share right-wing theories on policy.

Well, sometimes I find an article that's presented in a way that I feel makes the right look bad needlessly. One of them was in yesterday's Baltimore Sun, Massive fraud' nets plea of guilty. The article was of interest to me because it concerned CMAT, a bankrupt nonprofit whose auction I attended last month, where I bought a number of items, including 9 file servers for $5 a piece, which turned out to contain several hundred dollars worth of parts each.

But what I objected to was the subtitle - Md. man, former donor to GOP, could get 30 years in multimillion-dollar, years-long scheme. Now, the article doesn't focus on anything about his politics. It has one sentence stating that He is a former finance committee chairman for Michael B. Steele's U.S. Senate campaign and for Mitt Romney's presidential bid. There is no link between this and his fraud - no example of quid pro quo for his donations, no bills making it legal to embezzle money that he tried to get on the table, no evidence that any of the politicians he donated to or volunteered for knew of his fraud. Yet this is important enough to be mentioned in the subheading, and probably would lead someone who skimmed the headline but didn't read the article to suspect that the link was far deeper than it was.

I'm not saying the article shouldn't have mentioned the connection, but putting it in the subhead when it has no real link to his conviction or plea seems disingenuous.


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