Apr 7, 2009

Is Globe Dying Because of its Bias? [LINK]

Hurry! There may not be many more letters like these to the Globe left!

I disagree with various letter writers pointing to liberal bias as the main source of the Globe's financial problems. Newspapers are in trouble across the board, primarily due to migration of readers and advertising revenue towards the Internet. If liberal bias were costing the Globe widespread circulation, the Herald would be expected to benefit from the error, but instead we find that paper is also struggling to stay afloat.

That said, the Globe clearly does display a leftward bias, and you wouldn't need to look further for an example than today's article by Peter Canellos titled: "In a stroke of brilliance, Obama defies easy caricature." [National Perpective, 4/7/09] It is the sort of highly opinionated, insubstantial "analysis" that would ordinarily belong in a paper's editorial pages, if even there. Asserting that President Obama "floats above the fray," Canellos fails to reference any "stroke of brilliance" that would immunize him from routine criticism other than his "calm, serious manner" and "air of persistence."

While reinforcing a hazily favorable opinion, Canellos shies away from any substantial criticism. In particular, the president's comments -- "We haven't immediately eliminated the influence of lobbyists in Washington. We have not immediately eliminated wasteful pork projects" -- are transparently laughable considering the stimuluating effect the coursing of trillions of additional dollars through Washington has had on lobbyists. Any self-respecting journalist should lunge at the opportunity to highlight such an absurdity. Canellos's point that criticism doesn't stick to this president is made far easier by ignoring such criticism rather than evaluating its merits.

If the Globe is to survive in an on-line world, it will be based on the credibility of its primary reporting operation now that opinions are so easy to generate. To that extent, the Globe's bias matters.

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