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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Misplaced annoyance

Regular readers better sit down. I'm about the defend the Herald.

Yes, the Tea Party Newsletter appears to long ago have abandoned objectivity and fairness in the coverage of politics. But the blame for that comes from the top, and the Obama White House should know better than to ban Herald reporters from the press poll for his visit today.

White House spokesman Mike Lehrich cited a front page Mitt Romney op-ed that appeared the day of Obama's last visit in raising concerns about the Herald's fairness.
“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters. ... My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits.
A bit thin-skinned, aren't we? A few basic journalism lessons are in order.

First, editors, not reporters make the decisions on where and how to play stories. The White House stance can be equated to blaming the victim.

Second, the op-ed was clearly labeled as Romney's opinion. A bit unconventional to run opinion on Page One, but the Herald's raison d'etre these days is to tweak convention. There are far better examples of the paper violating objectivity, which I have tried to note when they occur.

Finally, a bit of common sense: Did you honestly think the paper would take the rebuff lying down? So now you have another front page story and headline that takes a whack at the White House.

The Obama White House likes to view itself as cool, calm, collected and in control. But that control can't and shouldn't extend to picking pool reporters based on the paper's editorial policy. Particularly when one act of pique is met with the exact response you are trying to avoid.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, they had no problem with Doug Rubin's ongoing critique of why Scott Brown doesn't have a chance of reelection. If someone has a third option of what we are seeing here, (other than a wussy or a Chicago thug), I would be interested in hearing a plausible explanation.

May 18, 2011 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just goes to show that it all depends whose ox is being gored.

May 18, 2011 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The White House response to the Herald question also raises an interesting questions about the reporters who ARE allowed into pools. Are those reporters' papers pleasing the White House? Sort of embarrassing.

May 19, 2011 11:03 AM  

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