The Globe Spins

Not too long ago, a blanket restriction prohibited Times employees from appearing frequently enough to be considered a regular contributor. Now, however, the Times hosts its own nightly program on New York 1, on which virtually everyone works for the Times. Thus, the memo makes an exception for "specific broadcast arrangements made with the consent of senior editors at The Times." In other words: it's arbitrary, and if you suck up to the right people you might get to host a show on the tube.

Meanwhile, a Times writer is required to notify management in advance of all book publicity appearances--even if the book has nothing to do with the person's work for the paper. If any item provokes grumbling from the Newspaper Guild, it'll probably be this one.

Write-Wing

The researchers at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) have produced a study that might help crumble one of the most lasting media myths of this generation: namely, that the press is consumed by a liberal-left bias. Studies that have reached this conclusion have focused on hot-button conservative topics (finding, for example, that a huge proportion of political reporters supports some form of abortion rights and opposes prayer in school). So FAIR decided to explore economic affairs.

Their survey on nine key issues--including Medicare and Social Security, taxation, the impact of NAFTA, concentration of economic power, etc.--found that members of the media almost always express opinions to the right of the public's. (The sole exception concerned the need for environmental regulation.)

There are myriad methodological pitfalls in a study like this (notably, journalists' views gathered this year are contrasted with public opinion polls taken as far back as five years ago). And FAIR continues to argue that the media's political tilt is best gauged by looking at public performance, rather than reporters' private views. Still, the numbers are in many cases striking, such as the finding that almost three times as many journalists describe themselves as "left" socially (30 per cent) as describe themselves "left" economically (11 per cent). A complete copy of the study can be read at www.fair.org.

Clipboard

Columbia journalism student Alison Bologna claims to have done much of the legwork on last Tuesday's Daily News front-page story, "DIANE'S HEARTACHE," on Diane Sawyer's attachment to a girl whom the city, charging neglect, has now taken away from her parents. But Bologna was so disturbed by the News's Sawyer-lionizing spin that she took her name off the story. According to Bologna, it was Sawyer's involvement in the girl's situation that prompted press-sensitive city officials to take the family's children away, even though they'd known about the girl's situation for more than a year. The News, to its credit, ran a follow-up story Friday that included this perspective, but it was played much more quietly than the initial splash. News reporter David Lewis said he couldn't comment, and the News publicist never phoned back. . . .

Disgraced consultant-turned­Murdoch pundit Dick Morris called at least one magazine last week, eagerly trying to locate disgraced New Republicwriter-turned­Windy City exile Stephen Glass. Apparently, Morris is reaching out to those who've experienced public shame akin to his. . . .

Never really noticed before, but the June issues of young women's magazines appear to compete to see who can publish the most preposterous daddy story (presumably pegged to Father's Day). Mademoiselle's account of a 22-year-old who's found out her pop is a serial adulterer seems pretty tame, compared to this year's two top contenders: Jane's first-person account of a 22-year-old who accompanied her dad to his sex-change operation (pull quote: "Once my dad left that building, it would really, truly be over--her penis would be gone"), and Teen's moving "My Dad is in the Militia."

Research: Leila Abboud

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