Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Party Animals?

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Party Animals?

Article excerpt

"Whispers and Screams: The Partisan Nature of Editorial Pages" by Michael Tomasky, Research Paper R-25 (July 2003), Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Univ., 79 JFK St., 2nd floor Taubman, Cambridge, Mass. 02138.

Partisanship is no stranger on the editorial pages of the nation's newspapers. But there's a significant difference in the way liberal and conservative papers handle it, argues Tomasky, a former fellow at the Shorenstein Center who was recently named executive editor of The American Prospect, a liberal biweekly.

Tomasky examined 510 editorials from the liberal New York Times and Washington Post and the conservative Wall Street Journal and Washington Times. The editorials dealt with 10 pairs of "roughly comparable" issues during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The newspapers were about equally partisan in their treatment of "the other side" on matters of public policy, Tomasky writes. "For example, The New York Times opposed the [2001] Bush tax cut about as often, and about as strongly, as The Wall Street Journal opposed the [1993] Clinton stimulus package."

But the papers' treatment of "their own side" was markedly different, he says. …

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