PBS and NY Times In House Watchdogs Bark at 'Soft' Wright Coverage

“Mainstream media coverage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has drawn a round of barking from some of their own in-house watchdogs,” FNC's Brit Hume noted in his Monday night “Grapevine” segment. Hume started by highlighting how PBS ombudsman Michael Getler criticized the soft approach of Bill Moyers in his interview with Wright: “Inflammatory, and inaccurate, statements that Moyers himself laid out at the top of the program went largely unchallenged” and “there were not enough questions asked and some that were asked came across as too reserved and too soft.

Hume next turned to New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt's disappointment in the paper for putting a review of Wright's performance in appearances ahead of checking what Wright contended against the reality, scolding his employer: “It was a performance strangely lacking in energy at a potential turning point in the election.”

Hume's lead item in his Monday, May 5 “Grapevine” segment on Special Report wit Brit Hume:
Mainstream media coverage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has drawn a round of barking from some of their own in-house watchdogs. The Bill Moyers interview of Reverend Wright on PBS drew heavy criticism from viewers and network ombudsman Michael Getler wrote, quote: "Inflammatory, and inaccurate, statements that Moyers himself laid out at the top of the program went largely unchallenged...There were not enough questions asked and some that were asked came across as too reserved and [too] soft…This came across to me,” he said, “more as a conversation among theologians than it did as a truly probing interview with a truly controversial person who had said some truly inflammatory things."

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt also was critical of his paper which he said angered some readers by putting a review of Wright's recent appearances on its front page before ever reporting what the reverend actually said in a news story. Hoyt wrote, quote: "It was a performance strangely lacking in energy at a potential turning point in the election."
Getler's May 1 posting: “Too Much Reverence for the Reverend?

Hoyt's May 4 column: “The Preacher’s New Pulpit
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center