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Media Notes by Howard Kurtz: Politico Tries to Balance Speed and Depth

Tilting Left?

MSNBC's David Shuster is an aggressive career reporter who has never been positioned as one of the channel's left-leaning commentators. But in his "Hypocrisy Watch" segments this year, the conservative Media Research Center points out, 34 of the targets have been Republicans or conservatives -- including Rush Limbaugh twice and Karl Rove five times -- and only four have been Democrats or liberals.

Shuster says the group "is funded and run by die-hard conservatives with a clear partisan agenda" and that his work on the now-defunct program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" "was hard hitting on both parties."

Family Matter

When the New York Times published a March 21 op-ed column sympathetic to a "quintessential nice guy" -- stock swindler Bernie Madoff -- contributing writer Daphne Merkin noted that she had "a sibling who did business with him."

That turned out to be J. Ezra Merkin, former chairman of GMAC, now accused by New York authorities of defrauding clients by funneling more than $2 billion of their money to Madoff. Was the vague "sibling" reference really enough?

Ombudsman Clark Hoyt wrote yesterday that many readers thought "the disclosure was so limited as to be disingenuous," but Op-Ed Editor David Shipley defended it, saying that the paper approached Merkin "in some respect because of her brother."


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