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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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June 6, 2008 2:13 PM

Media critics

Posted by Ryan Blethen

MINNEAPOLIS - Can a media critic be useful if he approaches his job with a stated political bias? When I say a stated bias I do not mean whether journalists have biases. Everybody has biases, even journalists. Most journalists do not let political persuasions taint news coverage.

What I am asking is different. Does a journalist with a known and promoted political bent produce stories that miss the mark because of that bias? I would argue that it damages a journalist's credibility.

I raise the question because of a panel I am currently sitting in on. The panel is made up of media critics. One of them, Eric Boehlert is a senior fellow at Media Matters for America. Everything he said in his opening statement painted the press as a pack of raving Republicans. I thought his musings on the press were a bit off. I took a look at his bio which says he authored the book, "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled over for Bush." He is now writing a book about the 2008 presidential election and the role liberal bloggers played in the election.

How can I, or anybody, take his criticism of the press seriously if his focus is on liberal bloggers and the supposed conservative influence on the press? You can't.

His political positions might be nice on an editorial page, but not in media criticism. I want a critic that is going to take on bloggers from all parties, and examine the press with skeptical eye focused on the left and the right.

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