Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bias, etc.

In a number of threads on a number of blogs recently many of the conservatives in the room have repeated the line about the New York Times having a liberal bias. Some people have also said that the op-ed page is "ideological," which is like saying it's "opinionated," which is silly, because it's an op-ed page.

Here's the deal. The New York Times does not have a liberal bias. I'm not even sure what a liberal bias is, but perhaps provisionally, we could say that a liberal bias is when a newsperson gives short shrift to relevant conservative viewpoints. For me, making a case on an op-ed page that, say, abortion should be legal is LIBERAL, it's just not BIASED, just as making an argument for strong defense or capital punishment is CONSERVATIVE but not BIASED.

You'll note that not once in my blog have I ever accused anyone of being "biased." What I like to do is accuse people of being WRONG, and then explain why they're wrong. "Bias" is a smokescreen, an ad hominem argument used to discredit your opponent without actually making a case for something.

Some of the Times's stories and writers may indeed have a liberal bias, but you're going to need to prove that to me. We're all equals in the blogosphere, and I can't let anyone get away with "the liberal media" line anymore, especially when the liberal media has, in the last two months, buried the stories about the Downing street memo and the lynching apology. (On the NYT op-ed page today: an article praising Newt Gingrich's suggestions for the UN, and a former CEO of Lockheed-Martin.)

The Times is a damn fine paper with informative, well-researched news, great op-eds, and unbelievable reporting on relevant topics (see their recent series on class for an example of this.) Read it online while it's still available for free--you'll learn a lot.


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