Thursday, May 26, 2005

Top Four Reasons I'm Disgusted with the MSM

1. Annonymous sources! - It seems obvious that anyone coming to you who says "Don't use my name, but ..." is hiding for a reason. Maybe he's ratting out a member of the mafia and is in fear of losing his life. Maybe he's being a good citizen and is simply giving you a heads up on something that might be worth investigating. Or maybe he's using you to grind his axe? Regardless of the motivation, it would be a good idea to get confirmation from independant sources before you run with it and risk your reputation.

2. Overuse of the word "allegedly" - Some things are alleged. Some things just are. Hillary Clinton allegedly had Vince Foster killed. That is an allegation. Nobody saw it happen, there is no proof that it happened, but some people insist that it has happened. On the other hand, take a look at this from the Washington Post: "Nichols, who was on trial for rape and on the run from allegedly killing a judge, two law enforcement officers and a court reporter, shoved Smith into her own apartment in suburban Atlanta at 2 a.m., tied her up and held her at gunpoint." Now, the rape might have been "allegedly" committed by Nichols. That's kinda what the trial was about. It could be said that Nichols "allegedly" shoved Smith into her own apartment, tied her up, and held her at gunpoint. There isn't any incontrovertable proof that he did any of these things. However, there is NO doubt that Nichols killed a judge, two law enforcement officers, and a court reporter. These people ARE dead. Nichols killed them. The initial assault on his security escort was even caught on camera. There is NO doubt that the people who are dead are dead because Nichols took their lives.

3. Repeated denials of bias - This would actually be funny if it weren't so frustrating. Let's take a fictional story in the New York Times Sports Section (fictional, as in it is made up by me, not The Times). In a single week there are five stories about how steroids are running rampant through the locker rooms of the Mets players. Then there is one story about the manager of the Yankees, and how he plans to win another title. In the final paragraph of the Yankees article, there is doubt expressed that they will actually be able to succeed in their quest. Now a question. Is the Times being fair and balanced?

This is true however; The New York Times posted a story on their website following the death of Pope John Paul II which read in part:

Even as his own voice faded away, his views on the sanctity of all human life echoed unambiguously among Catholics and Christian evangelicals in the United States on issues from abortion to the end of life.

need some quote from supporter

John Paul II's admirers were as passionate as his detractors, for whom his long illness served as a symbol for what they said was a decrepit, tradition-bound papacy in need of rejuvenation and a bolder connection with modern life.

Is it that hard to find someone to say something nice about the Pope?

4. Inability to learn - How many scandals does it take before the MSM actually realizes that it is important to do their job, and that part of their job entails ensuring the acuracy of what they report. Here is a list of major faux pas (and it is far from complete):

Dan Rather (1963); CBS

Rather interviewed a local minister and reported that children at Dallas's University Park Elementary School had cheered when told of the president's death. The children were never told of the president’s death. They cheered when they were told they were going home early.

Janet Cooke (1980-1981); Washington Post, “Jimmy’s World”

Story about an 8 year old heroin addict, sparked a frenzied 17-day scouring of Washington, DC. Cooke confessed that "Jimmy" was a fabrication, claiming that he was a composite of several child addicts.

NBC (1992); "Waiting to Explode"

Story on Dateline showed a General Motors truck exploding after a low-speed side collision with another car. The explosion was actually generated by hidden remote-controlled incendiary devices.

Stephen Glass (1998); The New Republic; "Hack Heaven"

Story about a 15-year-old computer hacker who breaks into a large company's computer system and is then offered a job by the company. After an internal investigation determined that 27 of 41 articles he had written for the magazine contained fabricated material, Glass was fired.

Patricia Smith (1998); The Boston Globe

Smith, who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist that year, admitted to fabricating quotations and resigned.

CNN (1998); “Operation Tailwind”

On the June 7 edition of NewsStand, CNN reported that the US used nerve gas in Laos to kill American defectors during the Vietnam War. It retracted this statement on July 2.

Mike Barnicle (1998); The Boston Globe

Barnicle was accused of violating several rules of reporting, but was removed from the Globe when it was discovered he fabricated quotes from parents of a sick child.

Rigoberta Menchú (1999); “I, Rigoberta Menchú”

Her 1983 book was largely responsible for her Nobel Peace Prize. Several years later anthropologist David Stoll, while working on a follow-up book, discovered that her account was largely fabricated. Specifically, Menchú was not self-taught (she received a middle-school education) and the land dispute in which her father was killed was with family members, not the government. No steps have been taken by the Nobel Committee to revoke Menchú's award, though.

Houston Chronicle (2002)

Accidentally posted an internal executive memorandum to its website outlining a plan for intentionally slanted reporting that promoted a pending bond referendum in Houston.

James Forlong (2003); Sky News

Report included scenes of submarine crew members giving instructions related to the launch of the missile and included a sequence in which a crew member pressed a large red button marked with the word "FIRE" and accompanied by a sequence of a missile breaking the surface of the water and launching into the air. The report was a fabrication, with the crew acting along for the benefit of the cameras. The Sky News team did not accompany the submarine when it left port and the scenes were actually recorded whilst the vessel was docked. The shot of the missile breaking the surface has been obtained from stock footage.

Jayson Blair (2003); The New York Times

Blair resigned after being confronted with evidence of fabricating quotes and details in at least 36 articles.

Jack Kelley (2004); USA Today

Kelley had been fabricating stories or parts of stories since at least 1991.

The Boston Globe (2004)

The Globe published photographs it alleged were of United States soldiers abusing and raping women in Iraq. These photographs were commercially-produced pornography that were originally published on a web site named "Sex in War”.

Dan Rather (2004); CBS

Rather used forged documents during a report on George W. Bush’s Vietnam era service record.

Barry Schweid (2005); Associated Press

Reported that John Bolton, nominee for ambassador of the United States to the United Nations had said "that the world body had 'gone off track' at times but that he was committed to its mission". This article was filed more than an hour before the beginning of the hearing session at which Mr. Bolton allegedly made these remarks.

Barbara Stewart (2005); The Boston Globe

Story describing the events of a seal hunt near Halifax, Nova Scotia that took place on April 12, 2005. The article described the specific number of boats involved in the hunt and graphically described the killing of seals and the protests that accompanied it. The reality is that weather had delayed the hunt, which had not even begun by the day the story had been filed.


Blogger Norma said...

This is excellent. I'm linking to it.

6:50 AM  

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