Speculative reporting

Speculative reporting

PE Bias Grade : F

By: Allen Nitschelm on April 1, 2020 | Article Review

This is a review of the following Boston Globe Article:
Article Title Behind Trump’s move to extend virus guidelines
Date 03/31/2020
Article Link Boston Globe ( Page A5 )
Syndicated From New York Times
Journalist Maggie Haberman
Peter Baker
Article Summary

Boston Globe alleges that President Trump is being cautious with the Coronavirus just because of polling data.

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The Boston Globe and New York Times enjoys speculating on President Donald Trump’s motivations. Of course, this isn’t real news reporting, it is opinion journalism, but it appears on the news pages nonetheless.

Everyone knows Trump is not a politician. Politicians love to consult polls before making decisions. This isn’t because they want to gauge sentiment, it is because they want to remain popular. At least that’s the conventional wisdom.

So the media constantly attacks Trump for being unconventional. But today’s story is that polls are showing the public wants to be cautious about opening up until the virus is past the peak, and suddenly Trump is just a typical politician, using polls (and not science, and not listening to the medical experts) to make his decisions. So when Trump goes with his gut, he is being reckless and dangerous. When he goes with his advisers, he is just using polls to make decisions. So the bottom line is that Trump can’t do anything right according to the media.

Trump started out cautiously optimistic, hoping that the outbreak would subside quickly. That was certainly one possible scenario. He delayed implementing stricter quarantine guidelines in the hope that the Coronavirus would dissipate quickly. That was overly optimistic, not a mistake, not an error in judgment. And then when it looked like things could get much worse, he asked that people exercise extreme caution until the worst of the outbreak has been contained. Sounds like a reasonable approach which is easy to nitpick in hindsight.

Obviously, Trump is balancing the economic fallout, the health risks, and the public’s long-term tolerance for “shelter in place” orders. But the Boston Globe is never, ever going to give him credit for anything no matter what.


Allen Nitschelm is publisher of PublicEditorMA.com. He critiques the Boston Globe, mostly focusing on the bias in their news reporting. News articles are graded for bias, and the website has a listing of the average bias ratings for all reporters reviewed. See our website for more information and the four categories of articles we publish.

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Grading articles for bias is subjective. We hope that with widespread participation, we can give the reporters and editors at the Boston Globe valuable feedback on their professional work. Here are our suggestions for grading news articles for bias. (We do not rate editorial opinion columns for bias. But we do analyze the Boston Globe for overall editorial balance.)

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