Monday, May 07, 2007

Bias at Politico?

If you have ever read the online newspaper Politico, you might find this article by Glen Greenwald in Salon Magazine to be interesting. Greenwald points out that the CEO of Politico is also also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Not only that, but he worked for Reagan as Assistant to the President. He donated money to George W. Bush. He also works for the company that is financing Politico. Interestingly none of the major mainstream media outlets that reported on the recent Republican Presidential debate that was held last week at the Reagan Library reported on the ties of the Library's Chair to either Politico or to Ronald Reagan.

Now, why wouldn't they report on these facts? Well, maybe because the elephant in the room that readers aren't supposed to comment on is the issue of the political bias of owners of media companies. We are supposed to believe that reporters never worry about what their bosses think and that they will print the truth regardless of the biases of their bosses.

Frankly we don't buy it because reporters, editors, and other people involved in the news business are human. They want to keep their jobs. They know the biases of their supervisors and the owners of the media companies where they work. They know the culture of the organizations where they work. They know how far they can go with their opinions and their writing. This is especially true with organizations where reporters and other staff personnel are not protected by a collective bargaining agreement.

This is not to say that all organizations police the stories of their reporters, but it is to say that such biases are a legitimate subject of discussion. Only that discussion can't take place if news media organizations act as if it doesn't ever happen or demonize those who argue that the media emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

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