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A test of media objectivity

December 29, 1992



The Opinion page column "Attentive Voters, Biased Reporters," Dec. 15, is timely and thoughtful. The problem with bias in reporting goes well beyond this one issue.

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For example, I recently surveyed my local newspaper for 90 days and concluded that it would not print a story about legitimate self-defense use of firearms unless the events depicted in the story occurred in a place where the paper's readership would know about the incidents from other sources.

But the newspaper would go anywhere in the world for a story about a criminal abusing a firearm. During the survey period, there were four articles about self-defense that described events an average of 40 miles from the point of publication. There were 55 articles about firearms abuse, and the average distance was 26 times as far as the average for self-defense stories.

In the area of media objectivity, there is clearly much room for improvement. William G. Dennis, Keslo, Wash.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.