Monday, November 26, 2007

The D&C's Shortcomings

Rottenchester has a post up today dealing with the smugness of the area's largest circulated newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. Naturally, I also have my issues with the D&C (or as they should be called, the DNC), but for reasons completely different with Rottenchester's in that I usually find rampant liberal bias in the paper's coverage of issues and in its editorial section. Of course, the D&C's liberal bias is a standard in the industry. A Zogby poll from earlier this year found that 83% of likely voters believe that the media is biased, with 64% of that group believing that the media is tilted to the left (compared to 28% who think they're tilted to the right). In addition, a study conducted by Harvard released just last month showed that Democrats running for president in 2008 have already received much more positive coverage from the media than Republicans. Moreover, a 1996 study by the ASNE found that 61% of journalists considered themselves either Democrat or liberal, while only 15% considered themselves either Republican or conservative (I realize this study is over 10 years old, but I highly doubt much has changed given the two previous studies I cited).

But just because the D&C isn't the only newspaper in the country with such a bias doesn't mean it is not worthy of criticism for it. Here is a brief history of the political views of the D&C from Rochester Wiki:
The paper was closely identified with the Whigs and then the Republican Party. That changed for a time as Frank Gannett bought the paper as a morning alternative to his own Rochester Times-Union in 1928 and soon thereafter threw its support to FDR. The editorial slant returned to the Republican point of view soon afterward until Gannett's death in 1957, at which time it moved to a non-partisan stance. There has been some criticism that the paper has been too tough on Republicans in the post-Watergate era. (Emphasis added.)
Never mind the fact that the D&C rarely finds a Democrat or liberal cause it doesn't like. Just two weeks ago, I wrote about how the D&C published a blatant boilerplate letter from Big Labor on SCHIP without even doing a simple Google search to verify whether it was a form letter or not, a charge that the D&C has been accused of before by the National Conference of Editorial Writers (to find the quote from the last link, search for "Democrat and Chronicle").

In sum, I agree with Rottenchester that "the 29th deserves better" from the most circulated newspaper in the district, and I will also continue to write about the D&C's shortcomings.

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