Bias in photo selection?

Question: Nice picture of the back of the President's head. Your left wing politics is so apparent and you are in good company with CBS who are also shamefully left in their politics instead of just reporting news. Your front page picture is just another reason that I avoid buying your paper. I used to be a loyal customer for many years until I got wise. Shame on you! Don't you know we are at war and should put these childlike behaviors aside and unite as a nation behind our leader and commander in chief. I bet if Bill Clinton or Hillary came to town, you would get the picture right as you did with John Kerry. I will continue to sound the alarm to my friends to stay away from your biased newspaper. -- Mark Maye

Answer 1: I'm disappointed that you have managed to read something sinister into our extensive coverage of President Bush's visit last week. You could not be more wrong in assigning some left wing political motivation behind the selection of our front-page photo of the president. I thought it was an excellent photo that captured the obvious excitement of the adoring crowd. We thought the photo was especially compelling and appropriate because the joy of several people from the region was clearly evident. The photo in question was very reflective of the warm reception the president was receiving as he worked the crowd. I noticed in your note that you did not acknowledge the three other photos we published that clearly showed President Bush at various stages of his visit. I might add that one of the photos showing the president with George Nethercutt was on the front page. -- Gary Graham, managing editor

Answer 2: Our photo editors look for display photographs that capture the essence of an event. The lead picture for the report of President Bush's visit captured the wild enthusiasm of the local crowd, which was enthralled by the president and thrilled by his visit. It was a positive photo in every way and captured the essence of a presidential visit to a community. The secondary photo showed the president in full-frame, and the inside coverage, in color, certainly was complete and respectful. We continue to hear from political partisans whose concept of fair coverage is coverage that reflects their own personal political passions. I have to place this communication in that category. -- Steve Smith, editor

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