May 07, 2004
What party is he? redux

Last July, I noted a political scandal in which the AP reporter managed to totally obliterate any reference to the party of the central figure in the dispute (she was a Democrat). Now, it's happened again. In this article from the Seattle Times, Newhouse News Service reporters Harry Esteve and Gail Kinsey Hill manage to produce an 847 word article on former Oregon governor and Portland mayor Neil Goldschmidt, in which the word "Democrat" (his party) fails to appear even once. The only reference to his politics is in the ninth paragraph, in which it is mentioned that he was Carter's Secretary of Transportation.

The coverage was not atypical, a search of "Neil Goldschmidt" in Google news yielded 276 hits. The string "Neil Goldschmidt" -democrat -democratic reveals 252 hits, which means that an impressive 91.3% of the articles miss any mention of party affiliation at all, despite the fact that he was an appointee in a Democratic presidential administration.

Contrast that with the coverage of the John Rowland impeachment story. The string "John G. Rowland" returns 1790 results. "John G. Rowland" -Republican -GOP yields 949 hits, which means that 47% of the articles identify his party, more than four times the frequency for Goldschmidt.

I don't think this is a conscious bias, but it serves to illustrate the ingrained bias against Republicans that exists among reporters, who are ostensibly reporting, rather than providing commentary. This is the liberal media (denied by most reporters) that many conservatives rail against.

posted on May 07, 2004 08:42 PM


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