The Dallas Morning News’ Conservative/Liberal Spreadsheet

DMN editorial page editor Keven Ann Willey said something interesting today at the Julia Sweeney talk series at Maggiano’s at NorthPark Center: that the Morning News tracks its opinion columns to be certain the editorial section maintains a 50-50 balance of liberal and conservative views. After she finished speaking, I asked Keven exactly how they do that — after all, it’s not always easy to categorize ideologies in such black-and-white terms. Her answer: the Morning News looks at a person’s overall philosophy and published works to make that call. That’s one spreadsheet I’d like to take a gander at.


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14 responses to “The Dallas Morning News’ Conservative/Liberal Spreadsheet”

  1. Sorry reader says:

    The Dallas Morning News editorial page is a compilation of the obvious restated and opinion not backed by research or facts. If the idea is to get people to read it only to shout over the breakfast table “these idiots don’t have any idea what they are talking about” then they are meeting their goals. It is not enough to just be politically correct. You also have to be factually correct and have some understanding of what you are talking about. It is little wonder that they have resorted to giving the newspaper away in order to get more readers.

  2. José says:

    Pity that they strive for political balance instead of things like accuracy and relevance. No politician, left or right, should be guaranteed a free pass in the name of political balance. And when a pol cries foul, claiming that the media are picking on him/her, we should ask “OK, but was the article correct?”

  3. Kirk says:

    “…[T]he Morning News tracks its opinion columns to be certain the editorial section maintains a 50-50 balance of liberal and conservative views.”

    Does being wrong twice mean that you’ve done your job? I guess its the only solution when you can’t use critical thought to come to a reasoned and defensible position.

  4. buck says:

    The problem is that Mark Davis counts as “conservative” instead of “radio showman.”

  5. Snotty-tot says:

    In which column do they tally relentless bias against the hometown school system?

  6. publicnewsense says:

    “Balance” is bad in journalism. Fair is better. Balanced means you’re selecting portions instead of reflecting accurately the facts of a story.
    To quote the late, great columnist Jim Bishop, “Some stories just have one side.”
    If you balance a story, then you write, “Bonnie and Clyde held up the bank, but looked good doing it and didn’t kill everybody in the bank, just a few. The people who were dead did not speak up against them in a post-robbery press conference.”
    There’s balance for you….

  7. Grumpy says:

    This is terrible to say, I’m certain Keven Willey is a fine lady. Here goes: The picture featured here on the blog is an improvement. Compared to what you ask? The billboard I see everyday driving south on the tollway towards downtown. That billboard…that picture; it gets me everytime. I thought Belo had a picture of the grandchild of a Munchkin from the Wizard of Oz. I’m sorry Keven…

  8. TruthTeller says:

    The papers Southern Dallas initiative is a joke. They listed ten items they considered important only to report that most of them hadn’t been fixed or could not be fixed. They have beaten up on the owners of a fast food restaurant for not having inside seating without ever asking the owner why. They boil the complex issue of why Southern Dallas has not reached its full potential down to a few simplistic ideas that have no historical perspective and no context. Then as they apply for some journalism prize they ask themselves why fewer and fewer people are reading the newspaper.

  9. Truth Jr. says:

    TruthTeller, you really did on that ridiculous “project.” Be fair, though. It’s not the whole newspaper, just the Editorial Board, run by two very liberal women and staffed by moderate-to-liberal sheep, with maybe a couple of exceptions. One of those very liberal women is the project manager, and I’ve heard her use the words “social justice” to explain the central thrust. This is doomed to fail. Every other attempt at “social justice” has led us further and further to the point that Tim O’Hare has more people agreeing with him than disagreeing when he takes a cheap shot. Ask the project manager why “social justice” only covers black people, not us Mexicans.

  10. St. Benedictine says:

    I’d like to see that spreadsheet, too, but for an obvious reason that no one has asked: Who the hell of any weight counts as a liberal on the editorial staff? Of the listed columnists, Hash, Dreher, Davis, Willey and Grigsby are all conservatives of various stripes with Davis the most rabidly over the edge. Kruh tabulates the opinions of others, Leubsdorf is mostly just the typical bureau chief, giving some chin-stroking, backstage analysis. McKenzie, if he is a liberal, is so middle-of-the-road-and-wrapped-up-in-careful-hometown-religious-considerations that he makes Mike Shields look like a bomb-thrower. That leaves Rodger Jones, a glorified reporter, and Laundauer, an editor, plus, finally, Colleen Nelson, who rarely appears with a bylined column.

    So, again, where are any truly left-wing voices? The only ones I see in print on the op-ed pages have names like Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins or it will be the earnest professor or non-prof administrator they’ve dusted off and asked to ramble on in high-minded, numbing fashion. Not a single firebrand who might actually challenge the pro-torture rantings of Davis or the apocalyptic, medieval-Christian nostalgia of Dreher.

  11. Sharon says:

    St. Benedictine, are you serious?

    Dreher is socially conservative, fiscally moderate.
    Hash is libertarian
    Wiley is moderate liberal
    Grigsby is very liberal
    Landauer used to be moderate conservative but has gone to the other side.
    Jim Mitchell moderate Liberal
    Bill McKenzie – conservative
    Roger Jones – very liberal

    If anything TDMN is moderately liberal. There is one voice that could be argued to be true conservative on the paper.

    Do you read the paper?

  12. St. Benedictine says:

    I read the paper; you seem to inspect the blogs carefully. Many of the people you cited do not write any op-ed columns in the paper — or so rarely, they barely appear (My comment cites only the paper’s ‘listed columnists.’)

    I’d also disagree with some of your characterizations. Dreher isn’t ‘fiscally moderate’; he’s fiscally loony with his back-to-the-monastery farming and mead-tasting. Hash is ‘libertarian’ where libertarian turns into the hard right. Early on at the paper, Wiley publicly described her own politics as ‘crunchy con’ — admiring Dreher’s self-terminology. Many of the liberals you cite are what I term invisi-liberal. They might be liberal but not so anyone could really tell; the DMN either picked them for their wallflower opinions or they’ve had any outspokenness frightened out of them. There’s hardly a single one of them as rabid as Dreher or Davis or the frequent visitors like Trey Garrison. Point to a single opinion column by one of the ‘liberals’ that’s, say, ardently pro-choice. The biggest ‘liberal’ thing the editorial pages have done in the past several years are two stands: The paper’s change on the death penalty and it’s bland defense of equal rights for women or gays.

    If the DMN is so liberal, then why hasn’t it endorsed a single Democrat for U. S. senate or the White House since woolly mammoths roamed these parts? The DMN is middle-of-the-road, establishment-pro-business conservative. Hell, even FrontBurner generally recognizes that.

  13. Hogdude24 says:

    Used to have Texas/Dallas connections, but not much lately. Thought it was a conservative part of the U.S. Will be interesting to see whether the Dallas Morning News can attain and maintain a semblance of balance between these philosophies in the South.