Tuesday :: Oct 12, 2004

Newspapers and Truth

by Duckman GR

I've been generically asking what we can do to put some kind of accountability impulses on the media for quite some time, I think "hurtin'" was my last term, and the Blog Lord here seems to have hit on something that might work on the TV media since, kudo's to him, more than a couple of people have seen this Sinclair issue, maybe some progress might be made.

The Constitution guarantees a free press, but lays no framework for it. No guidelines, no rules. And if there's anything the bush Occupation has taught us, it's that if it isn't proscribed or prohibited, if it profits them, they will take any action they deem necessary to advance their agenda, their slavering thirst for Power. So we must speak truth to that power mad obsession.

Maybe the blog world is starting to break through the haughtier than thou world of pundits and analysts of the media. Maybe the fact that so many people are getting their news from Jon Stewart is starting to register somewhere in the reptillian brains of the media moguls. Maybe the fact that the public is starting to see that CNN and CBS and NYT are not the only sources of news is coming home to the networks and newspapers. They do, after all, talk about us all the time, C-SPAN uses us, bloggers are getting mention, good, bad or otherwise.

Or, maybe not. The past few weeks Atrios has had a link to Howard "Mistah Conflict of Interest" Kurtz' little chatfest, a weekly affair I believe, wherin Howie makes some really stupid, for lack of a less precise word, comments.

A Reader from Yonkers, NY asks: Let's say that Candidate X makes a campaign speech and states that Candidate Y wants to euthanize babies on food tubes because the costs outweigh the benefits.

Does a reporter have an obligation to write the story as stated above even if he knows that Candidate Y has never taken such a position?

And Howie responds: We're not in the business of censoring what candidates say. We are in the business of fact-checking what candidates say. Let me interject here and ask, WHEN, Howard, when is this going to happen? Did you do any real fact checking of the SBLiars? Big Time Dick? bush? Jeebus o'Malley on a frog, when ya gonna start Howie?

And then he added: Besides, if the media simply refused to report exaggerated or irresponsible charges, the size of newspapers and length of broadcasts might shrink dramatically.

Serious, or joking? I let you, the reader decide. But, let me say this, if he's joking, itís pretty damn irresponsible in the context of his column analysing the "media." And if he's serious, then I frankly donít know why he shouldnít be fired on the spot.

Good gravy Howard, if you canít fill the paper with truth and facts, if you need lies and slander (or some less inflammatory version of said lies and slander) to fill the pages then youíve got a problem indeed with the size of the paper! Why donít you just start making it up then, and dispense with the pretense?

Joking or not, and really, I'm sick of their jokes since they aren't funny at all, if I was the Dicktator, heh heh heh, indeed. Want some wood, heh heh heh. I want the judges to vote for me, heh heh heh, what does that say about the state of the news media today? Yeah, we wouldn't want to talk truth, now would we?

And don't think Kurtz is conflicted just because he wants to get some. He works for CNN trashing the media competition, and nobody seems to think that's a conflict of interest either. And it wouldn't be, necessarily, if his track record doesn't suggest that it is a problem

Here's some other excerpts from Kurtz' Oct 4 Talkback piece. They are truly amazing. Amazing in their shallowness, flippancy, and utter lack of understanding. Snipping done for brevity and focus only. Bolds are mine.

Burlington, Iowa: I'm hoping the Republicans underestimate John Edwards as much as the Washington Post's staff writers did today in their lackluster piece on the vice presidential debate coming up.

Describing Edwards as a newcomer with news-anchor hair and a "...political reputation made by theatrical attacks against powerful interests in the courtroom..." shows a bias straight from pages of the Republican playbook.

Howard Kurtz: I don't quite see the problem with noting that Edwards's reputation (not to mention his personal wealth) comes from his skills as a litigator in the courtroom. Then he makes a hair ref, ala Kerry saying we're the ones with good hair. Okay comment. But,

Skills as a litigator is not, as it accepts the quote from the WA PO article as fact, when it's just a slur that denigrates Edwards work representing people horribly maimed by corporations that put profit over their consumers.

Grafton, Wis.: The late decision by MSNBC to not use the services of GOP pollster Frank Luntz to run their post-debate focus groups underscores how conflicted those groups of "independent" voters can be. Networks don't screen the pollsters, and some blog fact checking revealed that at least two participants in focus groups who identified themselves as "independent" voters were in fact in leadership positions in college Republican groups.

Howard Kurtz: But without conducting a full private-eye investigation, it can be difficult to be 100 percent sure that someone who says he or she is undecided is actually a political activist. This is an art, not a science. Even if everyone is truly undecided, what are the odds that 6 or 10 or 12 people in some town will perfectly reflect the views of all Americans who haven't made up their minds?

Luntz continues tag teaming with Kurtz as Atrios notes, but to Kurtz' response, Jesus' General is not a private eye, he just knows how to GOOGLE. And has a little time to spend. Which should be right up a reporters alley, wouldn't you think? And nobody was asking for a perfect reflection of America, just honesty. Nice redirection Howie.

Washington, D.C.: You really think the polls were the deciding factor? When Karl Rove claimed "this is one of the president's finest hours and one of Kerry's worst" Even a reporter for the New York Post (no friend to Democrats) said ( I paraphrase),

"You can say that with a straight face?"

Howard Kurtz: Kerry was going to get good next-day coverage no matter what.

Now, earlier, Kurtz said this: Howard Kurtz: I happened to think the debate was closer than many people did.

If that ain't grounds for termination, for showing a complete lack of qualifications, I don't know what is. Unless you're a partisan hack pretending to be something else.

Okay, enough of this. You get the point. What are we going to do about it, that is the question.

Duckman GR :: 6:50 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!