The media's post-election truth leaks are in full swing now as the Washington Post will publish an admission from its ombudsman Sunday that it was clearly biased towards Barack Obama in its coverage of the just-concluded presidential campaign.
Isn't the truth great when it doesn't hurt your agenda?
Although Deborah Howell's piece "An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage" will appear in Sunday's print edition, it was published at the Post's website Saturday, and revealed quite frankly what most media observers have known for months (emphasis added, photo courtesy Newsday):
The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces (58) about McCain than there were about Obama (32), and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement. The Post has several conservative columnists, but not all were gung-ho about McCain.
Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Post reporters, photographers and editors -- like most of the national news media -- found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic.
Aside from the numbers, the omissions were really what drove most media analysts wild. Howell agreed:
Obama deserved tougher scrutiny than he got, especially of his undergraduate years, his start in Chicago and his relationship with Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who was convicted this year of influence-peddling in Chicago. The Post did nothing on Obama's acknowledged drug use as a teenager.
Oddly, Howell didn't address the Post's coverage of William Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Nor did she discuss how the presidential candidate's wives were treated. I wonder why.
However, she did address the difference in vice presidential candidate coverage:
One gaping hole in coverage involved Joe Biden, Obama's running mate. When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission.
In the end, mea culpas are wonderful because they assuage a guilty conscience.
However, likely the least-qualified presidential candidate in the modern era was aided and abetted by Obama-loving press outlets like the Post, and admitting this after the fact doesn't lessen the injustice or the lack of journalistic integrity.
The press behaved disgracefully during this campaign, and America will likely be damaged by it for years to come.
As such, media outlets that actually recognize their failures should not just admit them, but also inform the public what they'll do to prevent such negligence in the future.
Anything less is just good marketing.