Urbin Report

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Times, They Should Be A Changing

Bruce Bartlett on Capmag.com

According to a Rasmussen poll taken on July 14 and 15, the Times bears much of the blame for the widespread view that much reporting is inaccurate. Only 10 percent of people find the Times to be very reliable, with 36 percent saying it is only somewhat reliable. Compared to this 46 percent reliability rating, other news sources do far better. Sixty-six percent of people find CNN to be reliable, and 73 percent says that their local newspaper is such. Interestingly, Fox News, which is often attacked for a lack of objectivity, is considered reliable by 72 percent of Americans.

Longtime Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley believes that liberal ideology is behind the problem of inaccuracy. "An editor trying to put out objective reports," he wrote in a July 28 column, "has to contend with a newsroom dominated by a single viewpoint." That viewpoint ignores or downplays facts that contradict the liberal worldview and plays up those that support it.

Fortunately, new media -- the Internet, cable news and talk radio -- provide alternate sources of information and opinion for those who want it. In order to compete, old media like the Times need to strive harder to achieve fairness and balance or continue to lose the respect of the American people.