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Washington Post Editor Tells Reporters to Heed Conservative Media

Monday, 21 Sep 2009 11:10 AM

By Dan Weil

Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander acknowledges that his newspaper doesn’t give enough credit to conservative media.

“Fox News, joined by right-leaning talk radio and bloggers, often hypes stories to apocalyptic proportions while casting competitors as too liberal or too lazy to report the truth,” he wrote in the paper Sunday.

“But they're also occasionally pumping legitimate stories. I thought that was the case with ACORN and, before it, the Fox-fueled controversy that led to the resignation of White House environmental adviser Van Jones.”

Alexander points out that “Jones had issued two public apologies before The Post finally wrote about him . . . Conservatives had attacked Jones for more than a week before the first Post story appeared Sept. 5. He resigned the next day.”

The Post also was slow on the ACORN scandal, Alexander admits. “The Post wrote about it two days after the first of several explosive hidden-camera videos were aired showing the group's employees giving tax advice to young conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp.

“Three days passed before The Post ran a short Associated Press story about the Senate halting Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN . . . But by that time, the Census Bureau had severed ties with ACORN. State and city investigations had been launched. It wasn't until late in the week that The Post weighed in with two solid pieces.”

So why was the establishment paper so slow?

“One explanation may be that traditional news outlets like The Post simply don't pay sufficient attention to conservative media or viewpoint,” Alexander writes.

"Complaints by conservatives are slower to be picked up by non-ideological media because there are not enough conservatives and too many liberals in most newsrooms," Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, told Alexander.

"They just don't see the resonance of these issues. They don't hear about them as fast, (and) they're not naturally watching as much," he added.

While conservatives often receive short shrift from the mainstream media, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore gets constant attention.

Reviewing his most recent movie, Hollywood newspaper Variety gushes: “By returning to his roots, professional gadfly Michael Moore turns in one of his best films with "Capitalism: A Love Story."

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