Newspapers And Political Bias
Almost every weekday, for the last thirty some years, I have purchased three or four newspapers and read them at lunch time. I do this in order to relax and in some cases learn something. One of the 'newspapers' I buy is the Los Angeles Times and I am going to use that 'newspaper' as my example for this article. In my opinion the Los Angeles Times has always been a somewhat liberal paper. I never minded that as some of my views were also somewhat liberal. A while back, however, the paper was purchased by the Tribune Company and the paper went from taking a slightly liberal slant to taking a very liberal slant and it went from reporting the news to trying to influence the news.
Now, the paper seems to have gone off the deep end and is trying to control the news and brainwash it's readers. As long as I can remember, newspapers have used their front page to report hard news, news that they considered to be of great importance to their readers. The Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers now seem to be using their front pages to influence their readers. Now, in addition to slanting their stories to the left or right, many newspapers are slipping op-ed pieces (I am all for op-ed pieces as long as they are printed in the op-ed section of the paper and listed as opinions or editorials. I like reading other people's viewpoints.
After all, I might learn something new.) into the news sections of the paper and even onto the front page. Today, December 23, 2005, the paper ran, on the front page, above the fold, near the center, a piece headlined "GOP Hitting Limits of Agressive Tactics". To be fair the paper did insert in smaller type, above the headline, the words "News Analysis" (I wonder how many readers know that 'news analysis' is just another way of saying editorial opinion. I also wonder how many people even read the words 'News Analysis'. This piece was written by a 'Times Staff Writer' who as far as I can tell, has never written a hard news item in his life. The only pieces, written by this writer, that I have ever read have been anti Republican, anti Bush and anti anyone and everyone who is not to the far left, opinion pieces. This piece slams the Republican Party and the Administration, praises the Democratic Party, gives a few partial statistics, lists several half truths and gives the writers opinion as to how the Republican Party is out to harm the environment, destroy the poor, overrun the Democratic Party and ruin this country. It does everything but report news, yet it is made to appear as a hard news piece.
I would not mind this piece if it were published in the op-ed section of the paper (Everyone has the right to his or her opinion.) but, it offends me that it was published on the front page where news items belong. Right (pardon the pun) below that piece is a piece headlined "U. Hit by a Bolt From the Right". This piece about, John Bolton, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, seems to be innocuous, but if you read the whole piece you come away with the impression that Ambassador Bolton is a bullying right wing trouble maker who is ruining our relationships with our allies and with the U. This piece is again an opinion or editorial. It is not hard news or even news.
It would have been okay in the op-ed section, but it did not belong on the front page. Neither of those pieces belonged on the front page. The only reason to have them there, is to attempt to influence the thinking of the paper's readers. The foregoing are just two examples of how the paper is trying to control public opinion. Whenever the paper publishes something good that has happened in Iraq or Afganistan the insert, into the piece, several bad things. Everytime they publish something good about a Republican, or even a moderate Democrat, they insert something negative. Negative pieces about Moderates and Conservatives are published on the front page or near the front and positive pieces are published near the back. Positive pieces about the left are published on the front page or near the front and negative pieces about the left are published near the back. In today's paper they published a piece about the President defending our spy program. Where did they publish it? On the last page, page 32, of the national news section.
They also published a piece about the President okaying troop cuts in Iraq. This piece was published on page 3 of the national news section, however, in the piece they also mention that there have been 2,150 U. deaths in Iraq, that a soldier was killed by a bomb and that the President "is under growing pressure to pare back U. troops in Iraq". Again, the paper can't print something positive without printing something negative, when it comes to the President. By the way, who is putting pressure, on the President, to 'pare back the troops in Iraq'? I know that I'm not. I don't know enough about what is needed in Iraq to make that type of suggestion.