Accuracy in Media

The Columbia Journalism Review, a prestigious outlet covering the news industry, announced that it was hiring its own “watchdogs” — what they are calling public editors — for the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC.

However, based on the news release with biographical information about these editors, all of them have worked or written for media outlets with left-leaning bias. This leads conservatives to wonder if these “watchdogs” will have an adequate understanding of their worldview or instead perpetuate mainstream media liberal bias.

“CJR is pleased to announce the appointment of four new public editors, for the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC,” CJR wrote. “As watchdogs for the biggest news organizations in the country, they’ll be ready to call out mistakes, observe bad habits, and give praise where it’s due. Most importantly, these public editors will engage with readers and viewers, bridging a critical gap.

The pedigrees cited in the CJR announcement include the “watchdogs” with stints and freelance gigs at anti-Trump, anti-conservative outlets like The New Republic, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, GQ (which included the Bible on of “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read”), BuzzFeed (which was criticized by Robert Mueller for sloppy reporting), The Washington Post and more. Not a single outlet listed among the “watchdogs” credentials appears to have a conservative editorial leaning.

This leads conservative to wonder if the “watchdogs” will help mitigate findings from Pew Research Center that 73 percent of Republicans believe the mainstream media does not understand their views, or a poll by Monmouth University that found 77 percent of respondents believe traditional media outlets publish fake news, a number sharply up from 2017, when 63 percent of respondents said the media was responsible for fake news. Among that group, 31 percent said they believed the media spreads fake news regularly while 46 percent said the media spreads fake news occasionally. A high 65 percent of respondents said fake news applies to how media outlets make editorial decisions and what they choose to report, while just 25 percent said fake news applies only to when media outlets spread inaccurate information.

Further, it leads conservatives to wonder whether these “watchdogs” take into consideration the fact that just  7 percent of journalists said they are Republicans, according to a survey by Indiana University. This is far lower than the 24 percent of American adults who identify as Republicans. Or that Pew Research Center conducted a national survey of more than 500 reporters, editors, and executives that found 34 percent of the media identified as liberal, while only 7 percent identified as conservative.

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