I got some pretty, um, let’s say inspired, questions from a few of you. I figured the panelist already knew what the term “illegal” means so I chose not to ask that one.
I did pose this question to one of the directors of our fellowship, Patrick Butler, Vice President of Programs at ICFJ:
“Has there been a correlation between the dwindling of our nation's newspapers subscribers and the general shift towards a more liberal journalistic perspective?”
Butler said newspapers’ struggles are more connected to the Internet, where people can get their news for free. He didn’t think there was a liberal or conservative bias.
Butler noted a Project for Excellence in Journalism study that found election coverage of then-Sen. Obama, a Democrat, had been more positive than negative and coverage of Sen. McCain, a Republican, had been “heavily unfavorable.”
He thought the positive coverage had more to do with Obama being a new face and that we’ll now see more critical coverage of his administration.
“Obama is not necessarily going to be praising media coverage of his presidency in the same way that Clinton wasn’t,” he said.
He said newspapers have long been criticized on both sides of the political spectrum. Some newspapers have taken flak for immigration coverage deemed too liberal, but they’ve also taken heat for being too conservative when it has to do with national security reporting, such as the buildup to the war in Iraq.
“Regarding immigration, I do think -- and this is strictly opinion -- that journalists tend to be open and interested in hearing stories of those who are perhaps less powerful. Journalists often see our role of giving voice to the voiceless….We’re telling immigrant stories and doing it in a way that is perhaps empathetic or perhaps sympathetic. That leads to criticism that we’re on their side.”