Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post ombudsman used his final Sunday column to address reader complaints that the Post is “pro gay,” and in the process confirmed the inherent liberal bias of reporters at the paper.

Washington_Post_buildingPexton started off with an email from a reader that accuses the Post of giving pro-family conservatives the “short shrift.”

That comment started what Pexton referred to as a vigorous three-way-email exchange that included Pexton and an unidentified Post reporter on whether or not the paper was “hopelessly liberal and genetically tone-deaf to social conservatives.”

Pexton published the following excerpt from the exchange:

The reader wrote that Post stories too often minimize the conservative argument: “The overlooked ‘other side’ on the gay issue is quite legitimate, and includes the Pope, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, evangelist Billy Graham, scholars such as Robert George of Princeton, and the millions of Americans who believe in traditional marriage and oppose redefining marriage into nothingness….Is there no room in The Post for those who support the male-female, procreative model of marriage?”

Replied the reporter: “The reason that legitimate media outlets routinely cover gays is because it is the civil rights issue of our time. Journalism, at its core, is about justice and fairness [emphasis added], and that’s the ‘view of the world’ that we espouse; therefore, journalists are going to cover the segment of society that is still not treated equally under the law.”

The reader: “Contrary to what you say, the mission of journalism is not justice. Defining justice is a political matter, not journalistic. Journalism should be about accuracy and fairness.

“Good journalism also means not demeaning conservatives as ‘haters.’”

The reporter: “As for accuracy, should the media make room for racists, i.e. those people who believe that black people shouldn’t marry white people? Any story on African-Americans wouldn’t be wholly accurate without the opinion of a racist, right?

“Of course I have a bias. I have a bias toward fairness,” the reporter continued. “The true conservative would have the same bias. The true conservative would want the government out of people’s bedrooms, and religion out of government.”

For this reporter “justice and fairness” trump the facts and accuracy.

Pexton gives the reporter some cover by injecting the First Amendment and bringing up a litany of complaints that liberals commonly use to describe pro-family conservatives, but concludes that the Post could still do a better job when addressing their concerns on issues like gay marriage or gay rights:

Still, just as I have written that The Post should do a better job of covering and understanding the anti-abortion movement, The Post should do a better job of understanding and conveying to readers, with detachment and objectivity, the beliefs and the fears of social conservatives.

The bottom line is that the Post is hopelessly liberal. If they decide to eliminate the ombudsman position—Pexton’s contract expires on March 1—there won’t be any remotely independent voices left to try and hold the paper accountable for their actions in the future, which apparently suits the new executive editor just fine.

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