Tags: times | obama | bias | romney | ombudsman

NY Times Ombudsman: Paper Must Take Unbiased Look at Obama

Monday, 23 Apr 2012 07:32 AM

By Martin Gould

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The New York Times needs to start taking “an aggressive look” at President Barack Obama’s record now his Republican opposition in the election is set, the paper’s own public editor says.

Arthur Brisbane said there has been “intense” scrutiny of the GOP’s Mitt Romney, now it is time to turn the spotlight on the president.

And Brisbane said there is a view that the paper will not be able to ditch its liberal slant. “Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion,” he wrote.

He said the paper has been right to concentrate on the Republican candidates during their race, pointing out that in 2004 there was little coverage of George W. Bush’s record while Democrats were battling for the nomination. But that changed once John Kerry got the nod.

However he said the Times’ coverage of Obama and Bush has been very different.

“Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008. The company published a book about the country’s first African-American president, “Obama: The Historic Journey.” The Times also published a lengthy portrait of him in its Times Topics section on NYTimes.com, yet there’s nothing of the kind about George W. Bush or his father,” Brisbane wrote in the Times Sunday Review.

He even quoted a disaffected reader from New Hampshire who has canceled her weekday subscriptions to the Old Gray Lady, due to “the constant insertion of liberal politics into even the most politically irrelevant articles.”

The last straw for her was an article about the British TV show “Downton Abbey” that included “a veiled complaint about Mitt Romney’s exploitation of the American tax code.”

Brisbane said the election campaign gives the Times the perfect opportunity to redeem itself. “The warm afterglow of Mr. Obama’s election, the collateral effects of liberal-minded feature writers — these can be overcome by hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting now.

“Readers deserve to know: Who is the real Barack Obama? And The Times needs to show that it can address the question in a hard-nosed, unbiased way.”

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