Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

Michael Shear had an interesting and entertaining chat in Today's Washington Post. The last question and answer deserves notice:

Dale City, VA: There were over a thousand protesters marching in SUPPORT of the health care bill in Washington yesterday. Why wasn't that on the front page of the Post the same way as the Tea Party protests were? The Tea Party fringe seem to get a lot more coverage than the left gets.

Michael D. Shear: These things are a day-to-day decision (and not mine.) But keep in mind, we put the president on the front page virtually every day, including, as I recall, just two days ago giving a blistering speech in favor of health reform.

Shear's right: the President is on the front page stumping for health care daily. That's not the essense of the question. When a Tea party demonstration, however small, is covered, the implied message is it is the voice of the people. When a pro-health care demonstration is ignored because the President has already received the daily allotment of health care ink, the impression created is that politicians are cramming this down people's throats. That's not true; there is genune disagreement about the bill, but there are a lot of citizens who are strongly in favor of it.

The Post should be more careful in the context of its coverage; merely equalizing the number of pro and con inches devoted to any issue doesn't serve its readership well.

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