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Report to Readers

Report to Readers: Unfair to Romney! Unfair to Obama! Unfair! Unfair!

Boy, when you get to the end of a close election campaign, readers are on the lookout for any hint of unfairness in our political coverage. Consider these half-dozen complaints I’ve received in recent hours, and see what you think:

*From an Obama fan at the polls in Concord at lunchtime: The Monitor showed its pro-Romney bias by publishing an enormous photograph of the Republican presidential candidate on the morning of the election. A more neutral cover was in order.

The Mitt Romney photograph was taken at his campaign rally in Manchester Monday evening – an event that drew thousands of supporters. It made the front page on Election Day because Romney – unlike President Obama – was in New Hampshire on Monday.

*From a Romney supporter who attended the Manchester event: The Monitor showed its pro-Obama bias by publishing that Romney photo without an accompanying story about the rally.

The Romney rally was held late Monday night. Romney wasn’t even scheduled to start speaking until 11 p.m. That’s pushing it for our staff! Publishing the photo seemed like a good compromise.

*From a Romney supporter in Bow: The Monitor showed its pro-Obama bias in its coverage of the president’s rally with Bill Clinton in Concord over the weekend: three stories and numerous photographs.

No doubt that was big play – but consider the historic nature of the event: It was the biggest crowd for a political event in Concord in recent memory. It was the president of the United States sharing a stage with a former president of the United States. That’s big!

*From a website commenter this morning: The Monitor showed its pro-Democratic bias by covering the early, early voting in Hart’s Location today but not the voting in Dixville Notch.

Frankly, I thought Alexander Cohn’s decision to schlep all the way up north with his camera for the middle-of-the-night action was a little cockamamie – a fun assignment, perhaps, but exhausting on the eve of a long, hard day. Still, we’ve written a lot about Dixville over the years but had never been to Hart’s Location for an election. Plus, Dixville wasn’t even voting in its historic ballot room because the Balsams resort is closed. So, Hart’s Location it was.

For the record: In Hart’s Location, the voters went for Obama for president. In Dixville Notch, the AP reports, Obama and Romney tied at five votes apiece.

*From a group of campaign volunteers from the Lakes Region: The Monitor showed its pro-Republican bias by rejecting their letters to the editor supporting Democratic congressional candidate Carol Shea-Porter.

The letters – along with nearly 100 others – were rejected but only because we had run out of time and space for election letters! The volume of mail over the past several weeks was unprecedented, and we sure have published a ton of them. But once the Opinion pages for the weekend and Monday newspapers were set, we had no choice but to reject the others still pouring in via email. (They’re pouring in still!)

*From a letter-writer from New London: The Monitor is helping President Obama’s campaign by burying news about Sandy and the storm cleanup in New York and New Jersey. (You can read the letter here.)

We’ve published numerous stories about Sandy over the past several days but, yes, after the first couple days they have mostly appeared inside the newspaper rather than on the front page.

Our front-page decisions are driven first and foremost by local news. Our goal is to highlight those stories of greatest interest and concern to Concord-area residents and those stories they won’t find elsewhere. In other words, local news nearly always takes priority. And in the days since Sandy, there has certainly been plenty of local news to keep us busy.

All six of these decisions are subjective, of course. Different editors, different newspapers might have made different decisions.

In any case, the election is now in your hands. If you’ve not yet voted, there’s still time.

To sailorcpo, First and foremost, I am a NH native, I was born here, raised in the NH way and I too am over 50. I also call things as I see them. My job, if it is any of your business requires me to travel and do things and on those trips I am going 10-12 hours per day. I don't blog on company time......NEVER. Either I am off or I schedule my daily work after posting here or before. I make my own schedule and I NEVER use my company's computer. But I am sure that some people do that and yes it is wrong. I can't be concerned about that. But..... I do pay and you do pay the wages of at least two, unprincipled, undisciplined, lazy state employees who did do that, claiming that they did it during breaks, well, the time stamps for posting DON'T show that. Often the time goes on for 90 minutes. If I am paying the bill, I want something done. Over 300-500 posts each. We are in a damned recession, we are in financial trouble and state employees wonder why they are so disliked by the taxpayers. Here is one example. Thank you for your war service, but I can say that I could never be and would never be your "friend". Make sure that you hold yourself to some standards as well, I will be watching. Have a nice day!

Felice, I wish for once that you could find the conscience to employ just a tad of intellectual honesty. As much as you can defend, as much as you can claim that your coverage, placement of stories, choice of photos, slant on news stories do not contain bias, they do. You have a Constitutional right to print whatever you choose on your editorial page, no one can deny you that. However, the opinion of your staff DOES spill over into the news stories. It is obvious that is a steadily increasing and knowingly overlooked trend. Your coverage mirrors the national media trend of bias, you just can't deny that. Beyond that, your unwillingness to cover many stories is stunning. When nepotism was brought up, your reporters covered the story and came to the conclusion that it was an non-issue. You had the opportunity to look into the hiring process at the state level and ask the question of why so many people working for the state are related. Where is that progressive call for "fairness" that we always here about. Is it fair for the good ole boy system to create that exclusive club. When we were looking to cut the state budget you ran a survey asking readers where they would cut the state budget. That was a good initiative and what we certainly need to see more in newspapers. That showed a shadow of reporting and leaving the readers to decide. More troubling is your refusal to ever really criticize or investigate people with similar viewpoints to yours. No criticism of the SEIU/SEA and when two long term state employees blogged on your site at all times of the day during their work day, using state equipment and betraying the public trust you remained mute. So it is difficult to understand why you can't understand or easily dismiss claims of bias, political favoritism or that you have no litmus test when hiring your staff. If your team at the Monitor was on a ship and people had to move to the right or left based on political view, the ship would capsize. You answered an email I sent to you recently and you wrote: "We get it you dislike the Monitor, myself, my staff and my boss". You missed the point, Felice, you just can't admit bias, your politics spilling over into the news stories and the fact that you don't do the investigative reporting if it does not fit into your political view. It is tough to keep you honest but many of us commenting here will continue to do so. If for nothing else, the readers who deserve to read the news and decide for themselves. A little journalistic integrity goes a long way, don't they teach that in college anymore? Sorry Felice, informed citizens don't buy your "subjective" argument. It is understandable in opinion pieces, not in the overall goal and agenda of the Monitor. The bottom line is whether or not the Monitor is a political tool or a newspaper. The jury is out and it does not look very good.

This is where your very wrong. We are informed citizens. We are fully capable of making up our own minds on what is subjective and what is not. Too bad your party lost the main event. Now here is the key, if the people we elected do not sit and work out compromise, then they will get the next boot. For many months conservative posters on here posted lie after lie after lie. These people never even acknowledged that there was major obstructionism from the conservative republicans this last 4 years. Even this morning, Ovid was up there giving his consession speech blaming his loss on the negative ads against him. What about the negative ads against Hassan? Not one word! Oh thats right, he's republican so he can say that with no backlash! The Monitor may be liberal leaning but they are in no way as biased as the Union Leader. And one other point, how many consevative posters also used their worktime at the office to post while on company time? Oh wait..I guess that is ok cause their conservatives.

No, I am not "very wrong". You may be an informed citizen or perceive yourself that way but words, sentence structure and subliminal trickery can change anyone's perception. Newspapers, and the Monitor is no different allow this be a cornerstone of their agenda. You talk about compromise and "obstructionism" but what you do not understand is that whether Romney or Obama took the White House, neither man could really expect to have everything their way. This time, Obama can not be said to have a mandate. He ran a technically astute campaign, not a good campaign. In fact, polls this morning still reveal that 60% of the population thinks we are on the wrong track. The map is pretty red, the election was carried by many cities and large population centers. If you lived in Concord and someone in Montana was going to dictate to you how to live and how they were going to mandate things on your life, how would you feel? Compromise is one thing BUT everyone has to win moving forward, not just ideologues. You mention the Union Leader. Under William Loeb what you write might have been true...today, not so much. Their editorial content does not spill over into their news stories. On posters using their work time to post from the office, that is not my concern. I can do it because I work many hours per week and take home days and work on long trips 6-7 days in a row. I am not working 37 hours per week I work my expected 50 hours plus about 20 more. My concern is that two highly paid, long term state employees posted on MY DIME, YOUR DIME, YOUR KIDS DIME, on state payroll to post things on this site excoriating the legislature, promoting their union, complaining about their jobs, etc. It is disgusting, unethical and shameful. By the way, they got a slap on the wrist and are still on the job in supervisory positions. To conclude, I think that the Monitor has an agenda and every reporter and editor are of the same mindset. They could be so much more than they are but instead they lean left in all things. No balance and they use the newspaper as weapon to push an agenda.

You make my point for me..Whether your paid to work at home or at the workplace, your using company time for personal business. Which is wrong. But as i said in my post..It's okay if conservatives do it. The thing here is you say you don't care if you do it. Your own time, your own dime that simple. I see a conservative tilt to the UL. Anyone who says otherwise has blinders. I will give you this though, the UL isn't quite so conservative leaning as under Loeb. I'm a true native here. I was born in this state and have had constant state citizenship since I was born over 50 years ago. I am also a retired disabled war vet with over 20 years active service. I have always called a spade a spade. And you my friend seem to like to hold people to higher standards than you hold yourself. Have a nice day!

I don't know if it's fair or not but changing the website prior to the election has had an impact on peoples ability to comment. Agree or not with the comments I've learned as much if not more from them as I did from the story itself. There has been a distinct drop off in the " usual suspects " portion of the news, letters, and editorials since the change. Where have all the commenters gone??

I seldom agree with you but in this case, I do. Several new site issues. To log in you have to log in, it takes you to a blank page, then you click back twice to get to a newspaper page and you have to click on something like "Home" and then is shows that you are signed in. Then, if you take too long to post it times you out. I think that the comments have dropped off for several reasons. First and foremost more progressive posters are on today because of the election win. Next, this site is not user friendly at all, the old format was excellent. This is much less user friendly and sophisticated in appearance. I am not sure if this was done to stop people from commenting but it is not just the website, it is the whole website. Every day when you choose a page it will not load half of the time. Why they chose to do it now vs. after a major news cycle, I don't know. There are many things missing and out of order with older news ahead of current news, etc. Good point Left_US_Right

Same here with problems logging on. I log in and it says wrong password. I have written the web master, called etc. The only reason I got on was because I took the advise of take the country back signed in, got the blank page and clicked twice. On some days I get on just fine. So there are issues with this new site. There is a huge drop off in comments here since day one of this new site. I am also not happy that my e mails and phone calls have yet to produce a reponse from the CM.

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