New York Times Reporter Admits to Bias in the Times…

February 28th, 2006 1:22 PM

Or, to be accurate, the “right-wing bias” that the Los Angeles Times apparently held before the “provincial” paper moved to the left and garnered “respect.”

NY Times Obituary writer Jonathan Kandell remembers Los Angeles Times Publisher Otis Chandler in Tuesday's edition.

“Otis Chandler, who inherited The Los Angeles Times from his parents and then, as its publisher, transformed it into one of the most respected, widely read and profitable newspapers in the United States, died yesterday at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 78 years old.”

Kandell discovers political bias in the media, as Chandler guided the paper from "right-wing bias" to respectability.

“But he shed that [shallow] image as publisher as he set about remaking what was then a provincial, lightly regarded daily. Almost immediately he angered family members and local Republicans by shifting the paper from its right-wing bias to a more centrist outlook.”

If “provincial” sounds familiar, the same word was used in the initial Associated Press filing on Chandler’s death Monday afternoon. AP reporter Greg Gentile also linked the negative connotations of the word “provincial” with the paper’s conservative politics:

“Otis Chandler, the former publisher of the Los Angeles Times who transformed his family's provincial, conservative newspaper into a respected national media voice, died early Monday. He was 78.”

(One of the definitions for “provincial” in my American Heritage Dictionary is “limited in perspective; narrow and self-centered.” Another is “not fashionable or sophisticated.”)

He writes: “Soon after taking over as publisher, Otis Chandler vowed to raise the stature of the paper.”

Raising the stature of the paper translates in NYT-speak as being nicer to a Democratic hero:

“The daily's new course was evident in the 1960 presidential election. While the editorial page, as expected, backed Mr. Nixon, who was then vice president, news articles gave balanced coverage to his opponent, Senator John F. Kennedy. Two years later, the paper again demonstrated impartiality while covering Mr. Nixon's losing gubernatorial campaign against Pat Brown. It was a reporter from The Los Angeles Times who was the chief target of Mr. Nixon's sour post-election statement in which he declared: ‘You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.’”

For more examples of Times bias, visit TimesWatch.