August 21, 2005
Today's must read
In this week's piece, Patterico takes on the Times' coverage of Cindy Sheehan and points out the blatant omissions in the Times' version of the story, and the questions it raises about journalistic objectivity and an editor's responsibility to present all of the facts in the case, no matter whether or not they agree with them.
Patrick writes, in part:
...in its apparent zeal to portray Sheehan as the Rosa Parks of the antiwar movement, the Los Angeles Times has omitted facts and perspectives that might undercut her message or explain the president's reluctance to meet with her again.Posted by caltechgirl at August 21, 2005 01:53 AM | TrackBack
For example, The Times uncritically reported Sheehan's claim that the president had behaved callously in a June 2004 meeting with her and her husband, refusing to look at pictures of Casey or listen to stories about him. The Times claimed without qualification that Sheehan "came away from that meeting dissatisfied and angry."
But the article failed to mention that Sheehan had previously described Bush as sincere and sympathetic in the meeting. According to an interview with her hometown paper, the Vacaville Reporter, Sheehan had said that although she was upset about the war, she decided not to confront the president — who clearly left a favorable impression: "I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis…. I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith."
Rational people can disagree whether the war in Iraq is justified. But a newspaper's job is to report all relevant facts and present different perspectives, not just those that suit one particular viewpoint.
By that measure, The Times has woefully failed its readers with its one-sided coverage of the Cindy Sheehan story.