Too little, too late

Ed Lasky
How noble are confessions after the damage has been done?


Our democracy depends on informed voters. The failure of many in the media to fulfill their responsibilities to inform voters is a blot that is only now being acknowledged by those who were in a position to prevent the harm being done. Whether the confessors are Deborah Howell (the ombudsman at the Washington Post) or Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin  , the admissions are too few and too late to salvage the reputation of those in the media who saw their roles as political tools to elect Barack Obama.


Mark Halperin:

 "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

Halperin, who maintains Time's political site "The Page," cited two New York Times articles as examples of the divergent coverage of the two candidates.


"The example that I use, at the end of the campaign, was the two profiles that The New York Times ran of the potential first ladies," Halperin said. "The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it case her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn't talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that's ever been written about her."


The story about Michelle Obama, by contrast, was "like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is," according to Halperin.

Even the Los Angeles Times writer, Mark Baraback, while taking exception to the harshness of Halperin’s views agrees with the general thrust of his comments:


"I think it's incumbent upon people in our business to make sure that we're being fair," he said. "The daily output was the most disparate of any campaign I've ever covered, by far."


These admissions might be notable..but they fail the nobility test.

How noble are confessions after the damage has been done?


Our democracy depends on informed voters. The failure of many in the media to fulfill their responsibilities to inform voters is a blot that is only now being acknowledged by those who were in a position to prevent the harm being done. Whether the confessors are Deborah Howell (the ombudsman at the Washington Post) or Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin  , the admissions are too few and too late to salvage the reputation of those in the media who saw their roles as political tools to elect Barack Obama.


Mark Halperin:

 "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

Halperin, who maintains Time's political site "The Page," cited two New York Times articles as examples of the divergent coverage of the two candidates.


"The example that I use, at the end of the campaign, was the two profiles that The New York Times ran of the potential first ladies," Halperin said. "The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it case her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn't talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that's ever been written about her."


The story about Michelle Obama, by contrast, was "like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is," according to Halperin.

Even the Los Angeles Times writer, Mark Baraback, while taking exception to the harshness of Halperin’s views agrees with the general thrust of his comments:


"I think it's incumbent upon people in our business to make sure that we're being fair," he said. "The daily output was the most disparate of any campaign I've ever covered, by far."


These admissions might be notable..but they fail the nobility test.