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Friday, June 18, 2010
MRC's Waters Tries to Pretend NYT Didn't Unercut His Reason for Existence
Topic: Media Research Center

In writing about New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt's final column in a June 16 MRC TimesWatch item, Clay Waters does a poor job of pretending that Hoyt didn't blow Waters' reason for existence -- as stated at the top of the TimesWatch website, "documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times" -- out of the water.

While Hoyt played into Waters' hands by conceding that "the editorial page is liberal and the regular columnists on the Op-Ed page are heavily weighted in that direction," and that the Times "shares the prevailing sensibilities of the city and region where it is published," Hoyt added:

But if The Times were really the Fox News of the left, how could you explain the investigative reporting that brought down Eliot Spitzer, New York’s Democratic governor; derailed the election campaign of his Democratic successor, David Paterson; got Charles Rangel, the Harlem Democrat who was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, in ethics trouble; and exposed the falsehoods that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, another Democrat, was telling about his service record in the Vietnam era?

Waters' incredibly lame response: "Of course, as the Times is always reminding us, the Republican Party has been decimated in the Northeast in recent years, meaning the region is dominated by Democrats, meaning most political scandals will involve Democrats."

Waters misses the point. If the Times was "the Fox News of the left," it would have ignored or downplayed these stories, and it certainly wouldn't have broken them.

Waters also seems to be conceding that Fox News is egregiously biased, which the MRC has been loath to admit in the past. Yet he's not offering to conduct the one bit of research that would settle the question once and for all -- compare a day's worth of content on Fox News to the content of that day's Times.

Perhaps that's because Waters knows that the bias on Fox News is much more plentiful and egregious than it is in the Times. Or perhaps because Waters' research methods are a tad suspect -- as we've detailed, Waters' measure of bias in the Times' reporting on political scandals is how prominently the politician's political affiliation appears in the article, not the length or placement of the article.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 AM EDT

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