Philip Taubman, Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, is responding to reader questions in the paper's editions this week.
Among those he addressed this morning is the one below:
Q. Please tell us your voting record for the past ten years. I want to confirm your liberal bias.
A. I'm always amazed at the certitude with which people make assumptions about journalists and their political views. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have voted for Republicans and Democrats over the years. And I published a book in 2003, Secret Empire: Eisenhower, The CIA, and The Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage (Simon & Schuster), that recounts President Eisenhower's critical leadership role in the development of spy satellites and other breakthroughs in military and intelligence technology during his presidency.
Let's analyze Taubman's response. "I'm sorry to disappoint you" implies a denial, but Taubman never does quite deny being a liberal. Instead, he first offers up the claim that "over the years" he has voted for Republicans and Democrats.
But what does that mean? Did Taubman vote for George Bush, or did he perhaps pull the lever a couple times in the '90s for a next-door neighbor when she was the GOP candidate for town board? Taubman doesn't tell us, rendering his statement less than meaningless.
Continuing, does the fact that Taubman had kind things to say about a Republican president who served over a half-century ago and did, after all, command Allied forces in WWII, prove anything? Ultimately, of course, Taubman's personal predilections are not nearly so important as the bias reflected in the stories that do and do not appear in the Times' pages. And as is documented week in and week out at NewsBusters and elsewhere, the liberal leanings of the Times coverage is hard to deny. Taubman does not even seek to address it.
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