Amidst all the talk of how blogging is changing the way a story is reported, and how in this brave new media world personality, rather than the elusive quest for neutrality, seems key to building an audience, it is easy to forget that media impartiality wasn't always the mantra it is today. This article by The Wall Street Journal's Cynthia Crossen provides a useful reminder of the media's deeply political roots:
"To profess impartiality here," wrote William Cobbett in his Federalist newspaper, Porcupine's Gazette, "would be as absurd as to profess it in a war between virtue and vice, good and evil, happiness and misery." The motto of the Gazette of the United States, which began publication in 1789, was "He that is not for us is against us."
...a New Jersey printer wrote in 1798, "The times demand decision; there is a right and a wrong, and the printer, who under the specious name of impartiality jumbles both truth and falsehood into the same paper, is either doubtful of his own judgment or is governed by ulterior motives."