Philadelphia City Paper | Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Inquirer will cut its opinion section to one page next month, sources at the paper tell Daniel Denvir. Denvir’s sources tell him the purported move is a reaction to a survey that “found that readers think the Inquirer is ‘biased.’ Cutting down on opinion is the supposed remedy.”
Philly.com, an online portal the Inquirer shares with the Philadelphia Daily News (though both have their own premium sites as well) has a stable of opinion bloggers. Philly.com announced in May that Pennsylvania’s governor would be one of them, but his sole contribution so far appears to be a Q&A with him, his wife and an unidentified questioner.
“The Saturday opinion section was quietly eliminated months ago,” Denvir writes.
Joel Mathis — who writes, perhaps sincerely, that he dreamed of joining the Inky’s opinion staff one day — suggests the section that remains “can probably best serve the public by getting rid of the unsigned editorials, the wire-service columns, and cartoons (OK, maybe not the cartoons) and making it—with rare exception—a place almost entirely for community op-eds and letters to the editor.”
But Mathis nonetheless opposes the move, saying some readers “will always believe that a newspaper is biased.”
Yes, readers have troubles distinguishing between the opinion and news pages and tend to conflate them, to no one’s benefit. But even the most perfectly neutral journalism in the world will be accused of bias, as long as it offers information that contrasts with somebody’s world view. And frankly, you should have that kind of journalism in the paper every day.