Media bias: WaPo photo caption editorializing edition
posted at 12:15 pm on December 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Conservatives have long argued that the media biases its reporting, and not just its editorializing or commentary, through omission and commission in its news sections. Media defenders usually scoff at this, claiming that conservatives just don’t like objective reporting and want to pressure media outlets into more sympathetic coverage. In today’s Washington Post, though, we see almost literally the picture of media bias in reporting. I say almost literally, because as Jim Geraghty and Newsbusters notices, it’s actually what’s below the picture that’s the problem.
In its story today on a Democratic Congressman who voted against ObamaCare, the Washington Post supplies an interesting caption for a picture of the Representative:
Take a closer look:
“Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) voted against health-care reform even though it is badly needed in the largely rural district he represents.“
That’s an objective caption? It should read, “Rep. Larry Kissell explains his position on health-care reforms to his North Carolina constituents,” since that appears to be what the picture depicts. Kissell, it should be noted, voted against one form of health-care reform, which may have made things much worse for his largely rural district. In fact, the Medicare cuts championed by Democrats will likely force Medicare providers in rural areas out of business, making health care much less accessible for those outside of cities.
Something is badly needed at the Washington Post, however. Editors.
Update: Danny Glover at Accuracy in Media gives a personal perspective:
I spent 14 combined years of my career at both National Journal and Congressional Quarterly, where this kind of sniper journalism was not tolerated.
We weren’t even allowed to use the word “reform” at CQ when I covered the health-care debate in 1993-94 because the word implies that something is bad and needs changed. It gives credence to one viewpoint in the debate. We used phrases like “health-care overhaul” or the even more generic “health-care legislation.”