Why can newspapers endorse candidates without seeming biased but if a newschannel were to do the same the other side would inmediately consider anything reported by them invalid?
My newspaper endorses candidates, and I believe they have a very clear bias. I think the difference might be that TV news generally doesn’t have an editorial portion, the imaginary firewall that separates opinion from pure journalism. I have never seen such a “firewall” actually work, not so long as humans run the papers. Their biases are apparent in which stories they cover, the headlines they choose, how they frame facts.
because they do it on the editorial page. At least the ones I’ve seen do. The editorial page has never claimed to be unbiased.
My impression has been that papers have an Editorial staff and a Reporting staff. They are expected to remain separate, but of course in the real world that doesn’t always happen. It’s a strong tradition that the two shouldn’t interfere with each other.
Broadcast journalism evolved in a regulated environment, when editorializing was limited by the Fairness Doctrine which required equal time for opposing viewpoints. As a result television never developed the tradition of separate editorial and reporting staffs, necessary to preserve at least a pretense of objectivity while making endorsements.
Yes. There is a distinction between the editorial positions and the news reporting. All newspapers have editorial positions, but a newspaper is only “biased” if those editorial positions creep into their news reporting.
TV uses the public airways, so it can be regulated, whereas the press cannot (up to a point). For the press, it’s a 1st amendment issue. The Fairness Doctrine would be unconstitutional if applied to newspapers.
I’ll point out that my newspapers (I own two) have a set policy of not endorsing candidates. Instead we invite candidates to contribute essays for publication and run them against each other.
It even worked for Obama and McCain this year.
So not all papers do. I consider endorsements of any sort to be a relic of times past that are thankfully gone. In a hyperpartisan environment such as we find at the moment there’s no need for me to be considering my opinions to be superior to that of my readers and that is what an endorsement is.
Our two main newspapers, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, have been owned by the same company since 1989. Despite this, The Free Press is still the “liberal” paper and the News is the “conservative” paper. As such, their endorsements are kind of a foregone conclusion, though each will occasionally cross over on individual candidates.
I like endorsements, provided the editors explain themselves well. For presidential candidates, it’s not so important, since it’s easy to become informed about them. But for local races and propositions it’s nice to see reasonable arguments made by someone not associated with any campaign.
For example, I always read through the LA Times stances on the statewide issues. Along with the details provided by the state election board, I feel it gives me something useful to consider.
The Fairness Doctrine never specified that “equal” time for opposing viewpoints was required. Stations only needed to provide some opportunity for those viewpoints to be heard.
Also, network television (and to some extent, local stations) had a tradition of editorializing during the period when the Fairness Doctrine was in effect. The abolishing of the Doctrine has not caused a revival in editorializing. Why risk offending someone when you can fill your newscasts with fluff and maximize ad revenue?
The separate “equal time” rule used to mandate giving equivalent time to a political candidate when the station/network had endorsed his opponent. The elimination of that rule has not to my knowledge led to a revival in endorsements either.
It amazes me how many people express outrage when a reviewer or editorial board express actual opinions and show bias (holy moly!!). When a media outlet suppresses or manipulates news content to promote a point of view, that’s reprehensible bias. Good news organizations are capable of separating fact from opinion; however degradation of reporting standards and fear of forceful editorializing have increasingly allowed the two to mix, to the detriment of both.
I agree with respect to presidents, senators, and governors. However as Americans we are given the dubious privilege of voting for scads of down-ballot offices, and for these I find newspaper endorsements often to be helpful and informative.
Editors are the supervisors of the reporters. It is one of the editors’ jobs to make sure the reporters meet the standards of the newspaper in talking to various sides, sources, spelling, grammar and bias (or lack thereof).
Television and radio bandwidth are limited resources so not everyone can broadcast their views. So they’re expected to maintain neutrality and serve a wider audience. Print media is unrestricted, so the standard is they can present a particular viewpoint and if you disagree with it, you can start your own newspaper to present an alternative point of view.