vendredi, février 22, 2008

Predictably, the conservatives have united in one of their favorite sports-bashing the New York Times. Whew-now John McCain can say he's got some rightwing friends.

Liberals, also predictably, don't think the story was gutsy enough. Many assert that newspapers are so afraid of what the administration could do to them, not to mention of "public opinion," that the New York Times actually held up the story, diluted it, or wasn't brave enough to be more direct about McCain's alleged romantic involvement with a lobbyist.

We Americans are infatuated with our conspiracy theories-and this story, with its unnamed sources, and ethereal allegations, has provoked a ton of them.

As a writer, I am very aware of how truly subjective the business of journalism can be.

I'm not referring to an article's particular slant. That is a neccessary quirk(there is no way of quantifying objectivity).

On the other hand, bias seems to be truly in the eye of who is beholding it.

An article like the McCain story went through so many layers of editing and writing before it was allowed to appear that it's almost impossible to say that one person's point of view, or even the "newspaper's point of view" is reflected in the published piece.

But the sources to which the reporters have access, their hidden biases, the information someone has been smart enough to stow in a back room somewhere, who will react to the article, whether new information comes to light that challenges the basic story-these are factors beyond the writer's control. All they can do is be open about what they know-and about what they do not know.

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