Touching Journalism's "Third Rail"

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Nov 16, 2008 4:09 PM
Ombudsmen at two of America's most prestigious papers today approach the issue of liberal bias in reporting.

New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt essentially denounces reporter Jodi Kantor's attempt to contact Bridget McCain's school mates for a hit piece on Cindy McCain.

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell admits that Post coverage could well give conservatives cause to feel "disrespected."  She goes on to note that papers should hire more conservatives, but blames the economy for the fact that "hiring is at a standstill."

But perhaps the most provocative part of her piece is its last paragraph, naming the newly-elected Obama as "the authority the news media will challenge.  It happens in every administration."

Hm.  Well, we'll see.  That's the way it's happened until now.  But it's worth asking whether the press will go all "Chris Matthews" on Americans, and decide its mission is to make sure that the historic presidency of Barack Obama is a success -- for many of the same reasons that journalists couldn't resist becoming cheerleaders for his candidacy.

Sad to say, I have doubts whether the anti-authority impulses in the press will trump the Obama worship we've seen up until now.