TUESDAY’S LETTERS: On Liberal Bias, Hollywood’s Lack of (AP) Style and More

By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, readers weigh in on a variety of topics ranging from the Detroit newspaper reality show to allegations of liberal bias in the media to Hollywood movies that don’t adhere to the AP stylebook.

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After reading Wiley Miller’s letter on liberal bias in the media (see below), I have to say I agree with him. The definition he has given for liberal is exactly what we should expect from the media. The problem is the term being ascribed to the media is an accusation of Liberal Bias. Let’s take a look shall we;

bi?as
1. A highly personal and unreasoned distortion of judgment
2. A systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others
3. In a slanting manner.
4. To give a settled and often prejudiced outlook

This sounds a good bit like the liberal media’s definition of Republicans, doesn’t it?

David J Horchak
Newington, Conn.

Ed’s Note: Miller and Horchak last sparred over the ethics of cartooning here, here and here.

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Re: Greg Mitchell’s column, Tipping Point on Iraq:

We’re not pacifists. In the wake of 9/11, we supported the invasion of Afghanistan. Still, in the runup to the war in Iraq, we felt like a lonely editorial voice in questioning the evidence concerning WMD, Saddam’s links to bin Laden etc. In the 29 months since the war began, we’ve carried at least one anti-war piece in every edition. I did an interview last week with the New Zealand magazine Scanner and all they wanted to ask me about was Bush and Iraq. I told them that this administration has been the worst disaster to befall my country in my lifetime, and that its disastrous policies have largely been aided and abetted by my colleagues in the press. Here’s hoping your powerful piece wakes some people up.

Mike Hudson
Editor
Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Reporter

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On Liberal Bias

We keep hearing over and over about the supposed “liberal bias” in the media. Like most people, I’m concerned with accuracy in media, so let’s take a look at the definition of the word.

lib?er?al
adj.
1. a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

Isn’t that a pretty good job description of what we should expect to get from an unbiased media?

Wiley Miller
Non Sequitur

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More On Liberal Bias

I certainly hope in future you won’t be issuing outraged statements about How There Is No Liberal Press (sputter, sputter)! There you are, endeavoring to set the foreign policy of the United States in a manner more appealing to you than to those charged with its conduct. There’s a word for it: nutty. Wait, I just thought of another: scandalous.

William Murchison
Radford Distinguished Professor of Journalism
Baylor University
Creators Syndicate

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Re: Press Wrestles With Grammatically Incorrect ‘Virgin’:

Lesley Messer’s story on the grammatically incorrect title of “The 40 Year Old Virgin” was a joy to read. Not only does it point out certain educational deficiencies in Hollywood’s marketing, it gives journalism instructors around the country a chance to start their classes this week with a current events topic that’s both fun and pertinent. Good job. Keep these stories coming.

Dann Gire
Chicago Daily Herald
Journalism Instructor, William Rainey Harper College (Palatine, Ill.)

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Re: Jennifer Saba’s article about Michael Wolff sparring with reporters at last week’s Court TV-sponsored panel on the Judith Miller controversy:

I hope Editor & Publisher can stay on this story. I think Wolff’s position will become more accepted and better understood as the story unfolds. The business of generating a continuous flow of new news is a compromise between whatever my “sources” give me and the percentage of that that a reporter feels they have to publish in order for the “source” to take their next call.

John Casper

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Re: Mark Fitzgerald’s Newspaper Beat column, Survivor: Motor City Edition, which looks at the last two decades of Detroit newspaper competition:

Good article on the Detroit papers. I didn’t realize that they sold so many less papers now then back in the ’80s. I deliver the Flint Journal, and used to buy a Freep on my way home every Sunday. I bought one of the JOA Sunday papers and found it to be a total mess. Back then I didn’t like the way the News looked, so I didn’t read it. With the JOA Sunday, I got the News every other section. I never bought another one, and it appears many others felt the same way.

Jeff Talley
Flint, Mich.

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Re: This E&P story challenging the mainstream press’ largely uncritical look at Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction capabilities:

Powell’s speech was embarrassing and shocking in it’s primitive stupidity. I watched in disbelief. Even more shocking were the accolades by so-called intelligent, supposedly informed people.

Mary Ann Boyce

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Is there a way to nominate Powell for the Nobel Prize in Literature? After all, his presentation on Iraqi WMDs is one of the most exquisite pieces of fiction ever written.

Rimvydas Sliazas
Cary, N.C.

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Re: Judy Miller is Back in the Newspaper — In the Sunday Comics

Congratulations to Mr. Rampaige. We need him out of prison so he can hammer away at the news media. Why can’t the war protesters become mainstream news media protesters as well because those news reporters at CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are 100% in the corner of George W. Bush and they are not going to do anything to hurt him. All of the American people need to protest against Bush and the mainstream news media.

Thomas Jelf
Lexington, Ky.

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