Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Last last week, I wrote how a Washington Post story chose to portray a Supreme Court decision limited lawsuits against companies as being bad for investors, when in fact, there are just as many, if not more, investors who benefitted from the Supreme Court's decision.

Today, the Post story on the Supreme Court's overturning of part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law was entitled: "5-4 Supreme Court Weakens Curbs on Pre-Election TV Ads" and started off with: "The Supreme Court yesterday substantially weakened restrictions on the kinds of television ads that corporations and unions can finance in the days before an election, providing special interest groups with the opportunity for a far more expansive role in the 2008 elections."

The headline could have just as easily and accurately have been written to say: 5-4 Supreme Court restores First Amendment rights, with the story opening along the lines of: "The Supreme Court yesterday restored the First Amendment rights of corporations and unions to run television ads expressing their views on important issues in the days before an election".

The Post chose to use language that makes it sound like the Supreme Court was doing bad things, while my alternative portrayed the Supreme Court as having stood up for the First Amendement.

Now, one might ask, how did the Post come to use the headline and opening lines that they did? Well, one might answer, it could have something to do with the fact that the Washington Post - both its corporate ownership and its editorial staff - is very much in favor of the McCain-Feingold law.

But, you might then ask, wouldn't that be letting personal bias influence their reporting? Well, I would answer, a professional journalist would never do such a thing.

To which you might respond, does this mean the Washington Post lacks professional journalists?

And my response would be ..........