Arthur Brisbane is the public-editor of the New York Times, it is his job to be an internal critic of how the Times covers its stories.
And his column today really slaps the Times for being so Obama-friendly.
At first he notes that the Times has sometimes recently overplayed stories about Romney and his wife.
And this is partly due to the fact that Romney was engaged in a primary fight.
But Brisbane turns his guns pretty quickly:
Now, though, the general election season is on, and The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?
Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008. The company published a book about the country’s first African-American president, “Obama: The Historic Journey.” The Times also published a lengthy portrait of him in its Times Topics section on NYTimes.com, yet there’s nothing of the kind about George W. Bush or his father.
Brisbane notes that one study has shown that Obama got more favourable coverage in his first year than the Times ever gave to his last three predecessors. And that frequently, left-leaning political opinions sneak into stories that have nothing to do with politics. He lets some of the editors and reporters defend their coverage of the president but he ends on a challenging note:
Readers deserve to know: Who is the real Barack Obama? And The Times needs to show that it can address the question in a hard-nosed, unbiased way.
It has been a staple of conservative criticism that the Times is too liberal. And as long as conservatives are what they are, they always will complain that the coverage isn’t skewed enough in their direction. It’s human nature.
But this comes from within the Times itself.
It will be fascinating to see how the Politics section responds, and whether we get more hard-hitting features on Obama 2012.
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