Sure, it's fun to pretend to be powerful and influential and to have politicians play along. But sadly, readers see editorials touting certain policies and politicians and assume the entire paper--including the news columns--is slanted the same way. For Murdoch's New York Post or the Moonies' Washington Times (or, um, The Nation) that's fine, because they are. But in the so-called objective press, editorials taint the reporting in the minds of many readers. And while I can't prove this, I think this leads reporters and editors to bend over backward to prove they don't share the biases of their editorial boards, which in a time of "faith-based" public policy-making by Republicans, makes said reporters look increasingly "liberal" merely for taking reality into account.This is a muddled sentence. I think he means that they are lamentably "bending over backwards" to avoid the "taking reality into account" that they should be doing but which makes them look liberal (or "liberal") in these bad Republican times.
Wouldn't most papers be immediately improved by dropping their editorial page and increasing the ideological range and informational expertise of their contributing columnists? I'll go even further. Why not heed the examples of Britain's universally admired (liberal) Guardian and (conservative) Economist and drop the frequently phony distinction between "fact" and "opinion"?The "universally admired" Guardian?
Why not just let reporters tell us what they know to be true and how and why they know it? Such a solution would borrow what's most engaging from the blogosphere without sacrificing the crucial function of newspapers in a democratic society. What's more, it would offer the potential to re-engage people in a (Deweyite) discussion and debate without dumbing down their sources of (Lippmann-like) information.The Dewey-Lippman debate is summarized here. I suppose you don't need Alterman's leftward lean to argue that editorials taint reporting. And there could be an equivalent pattern on the right of reporter avoidance of reality in the interest of not looking too right-wing. Never mind his solution--is this a real problem?
Have a better solution? Let's hear it.