The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

04 March 2005

MA: Globe Reporter Rebuked

Here's a strange story involving a Boston Globe political reporter, under fire for opinions posted on the Internet many months ago. What's odd is that Hiawatha Bray somehow got the position in the first place without being outed as a possible conservative.

Secondly, after Bray posted pro-Bush messages on a web site, it was discovered by a liberal advocacy group and Bray faced an internal rebuke over the matter.

Finally, what's also peculiar is that this wasn't revealed to the general public until now. What were they waiting for?

It certainly isn't customary for a reporter assigned to national campaign reporting to post opinions about domestic politics, but maybe it isn't such a bad idea. Pretending that reporters aren't biased is absurd and we can determine that slant by reading political coverage anyway. Readers aren't stupid.

I'm not sure it was smart for Bray to admit his feelings about the race while covering it but his fellow travellers on the trail had their own ways of letting feelings be known.

So what's wrong with letting these people express themselves on the Internet? It's more open and honest, even if it isn't journalistic standard practice at this time.

(Boston Herald)

A Boston Globe reporter who covered aspects of the presidential campaign was rebuked by his editors after criticizing Sen. John F. Kerry [related, bio] and promoting President Bush [related, bio] on Internet Web logs.
Globe editor Martin Baron issued a statement yesterday saying technology reporter Hiawatha Bray had been told in November his postings were ``inappropriate and in violation of our standards.''
Bray's postings were revealed by Media Matters for America, a liberal group which employs ex-Democratic staffers.
Bray, who did not return calls yesterday, wrote a handful of technology-related stories for the Globe - including an August story about hackers altering the online cover of an anti-Kerry book by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group.
Two weeks later, Bray posted an item under his own name on a blog hosted by the San Jose Mercury News dismissing Kerry's strategy of promoting his Vietnam service record as ``moronic.''
Bray promoted many of the Swift Boat attacks on Kerry - some of which were proven false. He questioned his own paper's work, dismissing probes of Bush's National Guard service as ``innuendo.''
And in another Web forum after the election, Bray identified himself as a ``Bush supporter'' and said he's ``feeling pretty good now.''
The Globe statement said editors learned of the postings in November. Since then, Baron said, Bray hasn't posted politically related items and has not written about either Bush or Kerry.


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