Friday, October 14, 2005

Times reporter responds

Yesterday I commented on how the Seattle Times had printed up a terrific story in Sunday's paper about Global Warming, the public's perception of it, and the role the media plays in the discussion. Then, in yesterday's paper the Seattle Times re-printed a story from the Washington post on warming in the oceans only to include a comment from one of the skeptics that was exposed and debunked in the earlier story in the Times. I sent an email pointing out the discrepency to the editor, Michael Fancher, and the original story's author, Sandi Doughton, and promised to convey any response from them or anyone else at the paper here. I got this email from Ms. Doughton this afternoon:

Thanks so much for the note. I skimmed the Washington Post story yesterday, but didn't notice the quote from George Taylor. Most newspaper still feel obligated to include something from the skeptic side, to give their stories "balance." There's a lot of compartmentalization here, and it's possible the editor who handled the Post story hadn't read our earlier global warming piece.
I appreciate you pointing this out.
With best regards,

Of course, "balance" was the exact complaint I had. It's the question hidden in her original article: when does balance triumph over ethics? Or put another way, when is the public served by "balance" if the so-called "balance" presented stems from a compromised source and is possibly deceitful? I've sent a follow-up letter to Ms. Doughton asking many of these questions. I doubt that I will receive a reply, but it I do I'll be happy to share it here.

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