August 21, 2005

Today's must read

Patterico has been invited to write a second "Outside the Tent" piece, which appears in today's LA Times.

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: 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.

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.

There's much more, too. Don't miss blogger Mohammed's (of Iraq the Model) comments about the suffering of Iraqi mothers under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Posted by caltechgirl at August 21, 2005 01:53 AM | TrackBack

For what it's worth, I just read a 14 paragraph article in Time Magazine about Cindy Sheehan. It wasn't until the twelfth paragraph that the article got around to mentioning that the President had previously met with Ms. Sheehan.

No agenda there......

Posted by: Jim - PRS at August 21, 2005 05:16 PM