Media Coverage: Unbalanced Sourcing, 101

Take note, education writers out there. The bloggers are watching you - closely.

In this recent post (NY Times Mistakes Front Page for Editorial Section?), blogger Jim Horn takes the New York Times to task for unbalanced sourcing.

Overheated rhetoric aside, does he have a point?


In particular, Horn cites a recent Sam Dillon cover story as "a prime example of how opinion can be masked by simply choosing sources who offer information that presents the preferred facts, such as they are."

To be sure, the rhetoric is way over the top and the anti-NCLB agenda is pretty explicit. I'm not at all sure this is the worst example of selective sourcing I've ever seen. (And Horn is elsewhere jumping the shark -- again? -- by joining Jerry Bracey in calling for Brent Staples to be removed from the paper as a columnist: Join Bracey in Calling for Staples to Stand Down).

But, as I've detailed before, journalists and editors often make sloppy, lazy, and even biased decisions when it comes to who they call for comments, and who they include: How Fringe Is FairTest? Very.

And the NYT is sometimes remarkably sloppy when it comes to its education reporting: The NYT Misses Badly on Education Funding Story (Media Coverage)


Anonymous KDeRosa said...

Horn is a jackass pure and simple.

Apparently, he never read the NYT during the Rothstein era.

His point is weak. He takes the cheapshot approach by alluding to the potential bias of the committee members and then fails to follow up with a showing of actual bias.

Ironically, he does this after he just used his own stack of "potially biased" experts (i.e., hacks), Bracey et al., to criticize the NYTS as you've pointed out.

There exists valid criticism of the Ed reforms and reformers, but Horn's criticism consistently fails to fall into this category.

11:17 AM  

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