Feb
27
2013

Forget Objectivity–Can We Have a Fact-Based Media?

There is no objective evidence that allowing two people of the same gender to marry will harm mixed-gender marriages. So you might think objective reporting would treat that assertion as a dubious claim.

Oct
01
2012

When Nonsense Is Your Reality, Reality Naturally Seems to Have a Slant

Dana Milbank (photo by Matthew Bradley)

Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton (9/30/12) presents conservative opinion as a prima facie case for a left-wing slant in corporate news media: "Republicans think the news media are being too easy on Barack Obama…. Everyone sees more bias, and Republicans see it more than other groups." Offering this as evidence of a left media bias is, of course, highly dubious. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans say that humans aren't warming the planet. Sixty-three percent still maintain that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.  Fifty-eight percent of Republicans "believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 […]

Jan
11
2012

At WaPo, Editorial Page Can Make Up Iran Facts

Last month the group Just Foreign Policy alerted readers to a Washington Post feature that was headlined "Iran's Quest to Possess Nuclear Weapons." The Post changed the headline, and ombud Patrick Pexton weighed in with a column (12/7/11) saying that the IAEA report does not say Iran has a bomb, nor does it say it is building one, only that its multiyear effort pursuing nuclear technology is sophisticated and broad enough that it could be consistent with building a bomb. Pexton added that Just Foreign Policy's Robert Naiman "and his Web army were right. The headline and subhead were misleading." […]

Aug
29
2011

Ron Paul in the Post–by the Numbers

Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton dedicated his column this weekend (8/29/11) to addressing complaints about the skimpy coverage of Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. It's hard to argue with the numbers he's gathered: Still, the Post's coverage of Paul looks thin compared with its stories on Bachmann. In the past six months, the Post has published online or in print 34 staff-written stories plus 12 wire service stories on Bachmann, who has served not even five years in the House, and that doesn't count the blog posts about her on the Fix or Glenn Kessler's Fact Checker pieces. The Post […]

Aug
01
2011

To Post Ombud, Critics of 'Muslims Did It' Blogger Are the Real Monsters

Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton weighed in yesterday (7/31/11) on the criticisms of right-wing Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. She was among a handful of media personalities who declared the Norway terror attacks to be the work of Muslim jihadists. As she put it (7/22/11): "In all likelihood the attack was launched by part of the jihadist hydra…. As the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of Al-Qaeda allies still operating." This would seem to be an easy call for an ombud–news outlets should try to shy away from baseless, bigoted speculation. But that's not Pexton's point; right from […]