April 20, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Lincoln Journal Star’s political leanings are no big secret, and it’s not like they have any obligation to be “fair and balanced”. (Any news organization that says it is without bias is lying.) But this morning’s article by JoAnne Young on Bush’s budget cuts struck me as particularly slanted and sloppy.

Actually, I’m just moaning because articles like this remind me how much I miss finding real news and intellectual stimulation in my newspaper. Oh well, the Journal Star is what it is. And lately, it’s like reading a print version of Lifetime.

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Dave K April 20, 2006 at 2:29pm

I don’t subscribe to the Journal Star, but is article the above-fold, front-page story?  It wouldn’t surprise me if it was. 

Nevertheless, I found an interesting couple of sentences that somehow got past LJS editors :

“The Bush budget would focus on the country

Joshua Wiltshire April 20, 2006 at 2:34pm

As long as Cindy Lange Kubick maintains her high level of journalistic integrity, I can’t complain.

Mr. Wilson April 20, 2006 at 2:39pm

...is [the] article the above-fold, front-page story?

Yup grin

Dave K April 20, 2006 at 3:20pm

That’s not surprising.  At all.  A few weeks ago they ran an above-fold, front page “analysis” with a byline something like this: “[Bush’s Baghdad] Trip marks failures of the Administration’s foreign policy”.  They’re becoming the DN more and more every day.

Neal April 20, 2006 at 3:49pm

While I’m probably going to be dismissed as having a bias of my own, help me out here.

First off, where exactly is the bias in writing a story about how budget cuts are going to affect local agencies?

Secondly, how would someone without bias cover that story? Is it somehow more responsible to pretend that people won’t be affected?

And then a few comments above mine, is someone criticizing the Journal Star for accidentally including the Bush admin’s rationale?

I want to make sure I understand this situation correctly. 1) The Journal Star is biased because they cover some negative implications of Bush cuts. 2) Since we know they’re biased, because we know, the fact that they left explanations for these cuts within the story must prove…something…it just doesn’t prove there’s any balance or context to the story, because we know it’s biased.

Local newspapers localize national stories. I’m not sure what is so “DN” about that, or what exactly dismissing a paper as “the DN” means, considering that lowly student paper has scooped both its corporate competitors on several big stories over the past few years.

There’s no doubt that some questionable decisions are made considering placement and whatnot. Often times, decisions like that are made based upon other stories falling through, having to be held, or photos falling through.

To blindly dismiss everything as bias is hardly taking some intellectual high road.

Mr. Wilson April 20, 2006 at 4:50pm

I had a hunch you’d show up, Neal.

First off, where exactly is the bias in writing a story about how budget cuts are going to affect local agencies?

I see two types of bias. The first is the bias of perspective. Ms. Young is writing with a particular perspective in mind. I’m not assigning value to her bias, but it is a bias. The second is the bias of exclusion. I would have liked to have seen some quotes from some folks willing to defend the cuts, other than just the White House mouthpiece relegated to the last three paragraphs, and especially local or state individuals.

<em>Is it somehow more responsible to pretend that people won

Neal April 20, 2006 at 5:08pm

<i>Ms. Young is writing with a particular perspective in mind. I

Mr. T April 20, 2006 at 5:51pm

<i>But that

Dave K April 20, 2006 at 6:28pm

“So what is this perspective, in your analysis? And what about this perspective is journalistically dishonest or incredible?”

The lead paragraph in the article is where the bias is presented.  The implication is made that without the Iraq War and ‘a constituency clamoring for tax relief’, then social programs would receive regular funding. In other words, without the Iraq War and ‘tax cuts for the rich’, then everything would be okay for Lincoln Action Program. Readers are meant to associate these decreases in spending with the Iraq War, an incredibly divisive issue.  Because the author does this, her article becomes more influential. 

If you still don’t understand the bias in that, then I’ll suggest another opening paragraph:

“How do you give more economical freedom and lower the tax burden on American citizens?  If you’re President George W. Bush crafting the 2007 budget, you decrease funding to socialist programs that are neither getting results nor fulfilling essential priorities.”

Mr. Wilson April 20, 2006 at 6:46pm

And what about this perspective is journalistically dishonest or incredible? [emphasis added]

What part of “I

Mr. Wilson April 20, 2006 at 6:51pm

<em>If you

Plain Patriot April 20, 2006 at 8:33pm

Mr. Wilson,

I hate to see you back down so easily…there goes your vote for mayor…ha ha.  I was with you until you totally gave up on every point you were trying to make.  I wish you would have continued making the argument…because I think it was a good one. 

As for alternative “biases”/“viewpoints”, I think the one thing we can all agree on is the need for more of them in the Lincoln Journalistic community.  This is why I tune into Lincolnite everyday…a fresh voice and perspective.  Hopefully that is the role it will fill.

I agree that no bias in a newspaper is impossible, but I do believe there is a real un-biased ideal for a news organization and I believe a news organizations goal should be to strive for that objective.  Something that often goes unscrutinized by the Journal Star’s editors.  Is it worse than any other newspaper…I’m not sure.  There is a place for opinion, and that is in the Op-Ed section of the newspaper. 

Having said all of this, I think the new model will be something like what existed in Early America…rather than a model of un-biased news.  I think we are moving towards a wide-range of news/journalistic sources with varying degrees of bias.  A intent observer and opinion-maker can wade through these opinions and come through the much with something close to the truth. 

Call me a dreamer….

Mr. T April 20, 2006 at 11:34pm

I miss finding real news and intellectual stimulation in my newspaper

What do you expect Umberto Eco? LOL, it

Neal April 21, 2006 at 12:00am

Based on Dave’s idea of an unbiased lede, I can see why he might think the story is biased.

You’re right, the Iraq War is a divisive issue. But would you have people pretend that there is not a direct relationship between the Iraq War and the skyrocketing defense costs that have necessitated drastic cuts? Should we just pretend that defense costs naturally increase by hundreds of billions, so as not to offend our readers who like Iraq Wars, so we don’t make them think we’re biased?

Maybe one could argue that the story is biased because it could be seen as challenging the notion that these programs are not “getting results” or “fulfilling essential priorities,” however those might be conveniently defined.

No, apparently the unbiased road is to accept such administration generalities at their face value, and the lazy way is to report and show the audience just how credible such accusations are.

After all, it certainly is much easier to hear these things called ineffective failures when you don’t have to know anything about what they actually do accomplish.

Maybe one could justify the bias accusation on that, but as far as I can see here, no one has.

Dave K April 21, 2006 at 1:44am

“Based on Dave

Plain Patriot April 21, 2006 at 5:23pm


Quite frankly your defense, while hearty, is a bit hypocritical considering most of your cartoon work winds up on the Op-Ed page.  I think we might call your opinion in this debate a bit conflicted.

Neal April 21, 2006 at 6:11pm

I can see why you’d think I have a stake in this, which is why I acknowledged from the beginning that I might be dismissed for my perceived bias.

I think my relationship to the paper is worth considering. However, I don’t see how that makes anything I’ve said hypocritical.

Plain Patriot April 21, 2006 at 9:21pm

As the author of the aforementioned Journal Star article does…I choose to dismiss your opinion.  Y The Journalistic monopoly that the LJS has in this town and your connections to said organization obviously make your opinion worthless…I choose to filter your opinion through my bias and I propose that the Honorable Mr. Wilson ban your from the comment boards.  The fact that you did not clearly identify your connections and interests in the LJS show what a seedy undertaking this is.  You were clearly trying to influence public opinion on this issue in a clandestine fashion. 

Reference:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100587.html

I hope my sarcasm is not lost. 

P.S.- The hypocritcal claim related to the fact that you provide obviously biased coverage (via your cartoons) but that your cartoons wind up on the Op-Ed page of the LJS.  Maybe they ought to consider this for more of their “news” articles.

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