Friday, October 20, 2006

Kudos To Herhold For Admitting Bias

Yesterday's article by Scott Herhold deserves a second look. In it, he did a fair job of assessing a number of the key issues that face voters when determining which candidate will best lead San Jose.

But what is also worth recognizing is Herhold's admission of his bias in Reed's favor.

"Full disclosure: I lean toward Reed."

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those of us who have followed the election closely. We discussed his baseless attacks against Cindy about a month ago. Our only question is why wasn't this admitted in previous articles? Why wasn't it disclosed last week, for example, when Herhold "covered" Chuck Reed's attack mailer against Chavez? That mailer, of course, happened to be one of the most unfounded attacks on Chavez yet. It featured Cindy and Ron rolling a giant die from downtown's giant monopoly board. The insinuation was that Chavez is pro-gambling --- even though Reed has admitted that he is not aware of any differences between him and his opponent with respect to casinos. What was Herhold's response? Would he provide the same level of scrutiny to Reed's attacks that he applied to Chavez's attacks in September?

Nope. Instead, Herhold merely summarized how the Reed team found the picture of Ron and Cindy. So instead of applying some much-needed questioning of Reed's newest smear campaign, he instead gave it free airplay. He even provided a link to the "incriminating" picture of Ron and Cindy!

Everyone has their biases. We've admitted ours. We give kudos to Herhold for finally disclosing his. Biases and partiality are inexorable consequences of intelligence coupled with observations. The danger comes when journalists wield their enormous amounts of influence and access without disclosing their "angle". Our only question is --- who else at the Merc has some disclosing to do?

Meanwhile, we continue to wait for Phil Yost to step up to the plate and attack line-by-line this mailer like he did to Chavez's well-known letter providing her explanation for her role in Norcal. Maybe we'll get a similar admission from Yost three weeks after the election passes.

Mr. Yost and Mr. Herhold: You cannot in one instance criticize and scrutinize the message of one candidate and then pretend to be laissez-faire when the other returns fire. You can't have it both ways.


At 11:36 AM, Anonymous d.h.k. said...

having it both ways, eh?

sounds like mr. chuck - democrat AND a republican!

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous mr mortar said...

Reed didn't disclose his conflict of interest before voting to materially benefit his client, Los Esteros...

So why should Merc writers have to disclose their biases??


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