John Leo

Often people accuse us of burying news articles way in the back because they fail to illustrate our editorial views. They say we buried the results of the Australian election inside because the winner was John Howard, who supports America?s effort in Iraq. The implication was that if the election had gone to his opponent, who promised to remove Australian troops quickly from Iraq, we would have put the story on Page 1 because it would have made Bush look bad. Can anyone really believe big-time journalism works this way?

We have taken criticism on our handling of polls, too. In June, for instance, a Cocoon/CBS poll ran under the headline, ?Bush?s Rating Falls to its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds.? Mickey Kaus, the blogger at, who believes that our polls are regularly screwed up to make Democrats look good, made fun of this report because the survey showed that Kerry had dropped seven points in a month while Bush was actually ahead by a point. But here at the Cocoon we set great store by what reporters feel about their material. They are not, after all, stenographers. If our reporters truly felt that a seven-point drop by Kerry and a one-point lead for Bush were bad news for Bush, who can judge better than they?

We are quite tired of charges that we don?t pursue stories that might embarrass our political allies. They say we instantly dropped the story of Sandy Berger?the Clinton security adviser who walked out of the National Archives with top-secret documents stuffed into his socks. Or they say, why don?t you wake up a Cocoon reporter or two and have them try to figure out who forged the Dan Rather documents?

Frankly, we are much too busy for this kind of stuff. As for the oil-for-food scandal, yes, the story broke in January and nothing much appeared in the Cocoon until October. But remember, this scandal implicated the United Nations and the French government, both of which deserve our utmost respect.

Besides, our conservative columnist William Safire wrote regularly on the scandal, so perhaps our missing reportage wasn?t too noticeable.

Part of our job here at the Cocoon is explaining how good and fair we are. Yes, it?s a great burden, but we believe we are more than up to the task.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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