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Political Editor for NYT Admits More Liberals in Newsrooms

By Media Research Center
July 1, 2008

Taking questions from readers online last week, New York Times political editor Richard Stevenson responded to queries about favoritism in the Times' political coverage during the Democratic primary. Stevenson did admit in a general sense that there are more liberals than conservatives in the media, but of course denied that any such slant applied to the Times' political staff: "While I would not dispute the longstanding assertions that there are more political liberals in newsrooms than conservatives, our political staff, as best I can tell, represents all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs, and because we all work so closely and in such a fishbowl, we all tend to keep one another on the straight and narrow."

     [This item is adapted from a Thursday posting, by Clay Waters on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

     From Stevenson's answers posted on June 23:
     There are all kinds of internal and external checks on bias and personal preference. Editors like me have the primary responsibility to identify bias, and we take that job seriously. And while I would not dispute the longstanding assertions that there are more political liberals in newsrooms than conservatives, our political staff, as best I can tell, represents all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs, and because we all work so closely and in such a fishbowl, we all tend to keep one another on the straight and narrow.

     END of Excerpt

     In response to another question, Stevenson confessed that he wished the Times had done more on McCain advisor Charlie Black's comment that another terrorist attack would benefit McCain in November:

Well, we did cover what he said, on the Web site on Monday and in the print newspaper on Tuesday. The print version was not a long story, but it completely summarized what Mr. Black said and the Obama campaign's response. No coverup here, I'm afraid.

Still, in retrospect, we probably should have done more about it in the newspaper, given all the questions it raised about the way the McCain campaign views national security as a political issue. For those who are interested, there is more on the topic in the Wednesday paper.

     END of Excerpt

     For the entire "Talk to the Newsroom: Richard W. Stevenson, Political Editor," go to: www.nytimes.com

     (Liberal preferences of NY Times reporters and others in the press corps: Back in 2004, then-New York Times reporter John Tierney discovered an overwhelming preference for John Kerry amongst political reporters when he took an informal survey of 153 journalists at a press party during the Democratic convention in Boston. "When asked who would be a better President," Tierney relayed in his "Political Points" column of tidbits from the campaign trail, "the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1." For an excerpt of Tierney's August 1, 2004 column, "Finding Biases on the Bus," check the August 2, 2004 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org )

     Check TimesWatch daily for the latest examples of liberal bias in the New York Times: www.timeswatch.org



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