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Where's the fairness? Where's the balance at The New York Times? And who's the Paris Hilton of The Cable Game?

Written By mista sense on Thursday, January 25, 2007 | 7:37 PM


The New York Times seems determined to remind bloggers why we need more diverse points of view in the media: The Times can't get the simplest story right, mostly one might conclude, because it doesn't want to.

Oftentimes in journalism, it's easier to print the controversy than it is to figure out what the truth is. That is, if Party A and Party B disagree about the facts of a given situation, it's certainly easy for a lazy reporter to write that "A and B disagree." Indeed, it's hard, sometimes, to figure out whether A is telling the truth or whether B is lying.

But in the case of CNN v. Fox, the digging should be easy, because the facts are clear: Young Barack Obama did, in fact, attend a madrasah in Indonesia. Philip Weiss of The New York Observer didn't seem to have any trouble getting to the truth about that particular question.

It's not against the law to attend such as school, nor is there anything inherently wrong with being a Muslim. But nevertheless, it is, shall we say, an interesting data point about Obama, as the American people are getting to know him, sizing him up for possibly entering the White House. And so that's why Fox, among other outlets, went with the madrasah story. But the Obama for President campaign staff hit the roof, and the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign was upset, too, because they were tagged, in some reports, as the source for the madrasah story. Well, come now. Everyone knows that the HRC campaign is tough and smart, and so of course they are dishing dirt on their campaign rivals. That's the American Way of Politicking. And yet CNN, eager, of course, to whitewash the Democrats of everything, went high and hard with the story that Fox had gotten the madrasah story wrong.

So what did The New York Times do? Did the "Paper of Record" get to the bottom of the truth about Obama & madrasah? Not hardly. The Times is so invested in its liberal ideological worldview that it can't deal with information, which would make Obama, Hillary, and CNN look bad. Or Fox to look good. So Bill Carter, writing for the Times, chose to simply treat the Fox vs. CNN story as a tiff--headline, "Rivals CNN and Fox News Spar Over Obama Report"--without getting into questions about the actual truth.

Which is to say, if you want to cover a media rumble, without regard to the facts, the Times is a good paper for you. But if you want the actual facts, ma'am (or mister), you will have to go elsewhere.

The Times is rather biased. It can't be trusted.

One amusing side note: Anderson Cooper had better give some thought to his little digs at Fox, because Fox can certainly dig back. And so Fox spokeswoman Irena Briganti showed that she had Cooper's number when she said of her--I mean him--in the Times, “Yet another cry for attention by the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper.”

Ouch! Cooper has a perfect right to live his life anyway he wishes. But the golden rule of media applies even to him: If AC he wants people to be nice to him, he has to be nice in return. And slurring FNC isn't nice. AC might have the Times in his back pocket--although Briganti was quoted in the same edition of the Times, which shows that even the Gray Lady can't resist a good bitch-slapping. And in the meantime, the rest of the world, with access to different media voices, is likely to have a different opinion, based on a full airing of all the releveant information about the "360" man.

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