Sore Winners

On November 16th, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote a column called “Remedying the Bias Perception”. Howell states

… some of the conservatives’ complaints about a liberal tilt are valid. Journalism naturally draws liberals; we like to change the world. I’ll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don’t even want to be quoted by name in a memo.

Journalists bristle at the thought of their coverage being viewed as unfair or unbalanced; they believe that their decisions are journalistically reasonable and that their politics do not affect how they cover and display stories.

Today, there are several letters to the editor regarding Ms. Howell’s column.

M. Fishkin, of Alexandria VA has this to say

I am seriously considering canceling my subscription. Why? Becaue I am sick and tired of reading letters to the editor from sore losers complaining about The Post’s bias in the last election [Free For All, Nov. 8, 15, 22].

Guess what: Look at the voting results in the District, Virginia and Maryland, and you’ll see that a large majority of readers were quite pleased with your coverage, as was I.

So why print all these “cancel-my-subscription-because-you’re-so-mean” letters? How about giving us satisfied readers a break and take a week off from printing all that whining? And that includes all the other petty complaints about comics, columnists, the relative size of photos, etc.

And this, from M. Levine, of Silver Spring, MD

I’m finding it amusing to read about subscription cancellations from readers who think The Post has too liberal a bias. During the election season, my husband kept urging me to cancel our subscription because he thought you were too “centrist” for his taste – he wanted to see a more liberal outlook on the editorial page.

My observations as of late are that many Obama supporters are “sore winners”. They can’t resist putting their finger in the eyes of the opposition. These letters are two good examples, but other examples abound. I find the attitudes ironic simply because they don’t match what Obama preached. So much for change.

In reading these two letters, I don’t really see much to challenge the perception that the newspaper is guilty of a liberal bias. In fact, quite the opposite seems to be the case. Let’s see. Fishkin is satisfied with the coverage of a newspaper if it reflects his personal politics, even if, as the ombudsmen states, there is a perception of bias. And Levine’s husband pines for an even more liberal outlook on the editorial page?

As I have stated before, I believe that this bias was manifested by a lack of curiosity regarding Obama’s voting record and personal and professional relationships, especially as they stand  in relation to his rhetoric. I think the “sore losers” were hoping for a more circumspect mainstream media, especially because Obama is clearly the least experienced, least accomplished person ever elected to the presidency. Which is not to say that he will not be a success as president. For example, let me state that I have a generally favorable view of Obama’s cabinet and advisors announced to date, and to the overall tone of the transition.

It seems to me that the Fishkin’s and the Levine’s should subscribe to liberal or socialist opinion periodicals. I might suggest any of the following:

See, there are plenty of options for the imbecilic. Is it asking too much for our news journalists to report the news, fair and balanced, and maybe show a modicum of curiosity beyond, say, the next SNL skit?

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