When the signature publication of the nation’s most elite journalism school hosts a panel discussion on how reporters cover the gay marriage debate, you’d expect the same level of thoughtful balance the media generally gives the topic. Which is to say none at all. And the June 12 Newseum event hosted by the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) and sponsored by the ACLU didn’t disappoint.
Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism is America’s most prestigious journalism school, and its graduates can be found throughout the establishment and left-wing media. Columbia established the CJR in 1961 to “encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society.” The publication “monitors and supports the press as it works across all platforms.”
The ongoing controversy surrounding the actions of two members of the New Black Panther Party at a Philadelphia polling place during the last presidential election has become increasingly less about facts and more about opinions. The mainstream media ignored the story for so long, basically giving Fox News exclusive rights to deliver the story to a mass audience and now they’re incensed over Fox’s coverage.
On Sunday Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote “Indeed, until Thursday’s story, The Post had written no news stories about the controversy this year. In 2009, there were passing references to it in only three stories” and “For months, readers have contacted the ombudsman wondering why The Post hasn't been covering the case.” Alexander’s column prompted a response by Joel Meares in the Columbia Journalism Review. His point was that Fox News’ coverage cannot be trusted because of the channel’s alleged conservatism and, in a nice example of ideological bigotry, that the story is not worth being covered because conservatives are interested in seeing it covered.
He wrote “The story has been mostly told online and on TV by those whose political shadings have dictated the angle, and the content” and questions The Post’s motivation in publishing something its readers apparently want to read:
"The imagery is clear in the 60 Minutes segment that aired May 3, 2009," Hamilton wrote. "The problem is the facts aren't. There is no way to tell watching and listening to 60 Minutes production ‘Amazon Crude' where or whose responsibility most of the apparently polluted sites are. Although the segment mentions that Texaco left the area in 1992, scant attention is focused on state-owned Petroecuador, which has been the sole operator of former Texaco sites for the past twenty years."
Salon columnist Max Blumenthal continues to get flak for his slanderous, factually-challenged hit piece on conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe last week. The column, premised on a host of omissions and baseless assumptions, contended that O'Keefe's is a racist.
Blumenthal's latest critic is Columbia Journalism Review, Old Media's paragon of journalistic elitism. CJR has requested that he correct but one of the many errors that comprise his column.
But CJR really has a problem, it seems, that Blumenthal has given ammunition to critics who claim Old Media is rife with liberal bias. CJR contributor Greg Marx lamented that Blumenthal and other quasi-journalists, in ignoring facts to support their agendas,give "ready-made ammunition for that broader campaign."
Bemoaning the decline in advertising for newspapers, two leading media figures, in a report from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, the bastion of establishment liberal journalism, call for taxpayer spending on the news media, advocating that public radio and television be “substantially reoriented” to “provide significant local news reporting” and for the creation of a “a national Fund for Local News” paid by “fees the Federal Communications Commission collects from or could impose on telecom users, broadcast licensees or Internet service providers.”
American society must now take some collective responsibility for supporting news reporting -- as society has, at much greater expense, for public education, health care, scientific advancement and cultural preservation, through varying combinations of philanthropy, subsidy and government policy. It may not be essential to save or promote any particular news medium, including print newspapers. What is paramount is preserving independent, original, credible reporting, whether or not it is profitable, and regardless of the medium in which it appears.
In May 2007, Matt Mabe was a junior Army officer who had done two tours of duty in Iraq and was leaving the service for good to pursue a career in journalism -- or so he thought.
In "One of Us," which appears in the new issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, Mabe reveals that of his journalism school colleagues, "most, it seemed, had never met a veteran," although that didn't stop them and their teachers and lecturers from hostile stereotyping of military members as troubled, poor, scheming, and stupid.
CJR's Trudy Lieberman announced it was "ominous news" that a government health insurance plan might be delayed:
"Ezra Klein over at The American Prospect’s blog was right on point last week when he sent along some ominous news. Klein, quoting a story in Congressional Quarterly, said that John McDonough, the former head of a Massachusetts advocacy group who now works for Ted Kennedy, seemed to be backpedaling on the public option..."
On the other side, Lieberman warned, "right-wing think tanks" are "on the march," illuminating problems with a government-controlled approach to medicine. She noted The Heritage Foundation's criticism of a federal health board, a top idea of Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle. Lieberman's warning:
Is the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) politically picky when taking umbrage with topics pursued by the media? Could be. After Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report posted the "Obama Wife Slams Hillary" headline across his site, CJR ran an article complaining Drudge Barks, TV News Bites.
It seems the CJR is upset that Drudge's headline sparked a media feeding frenzy in which the major news sources all picked up both on the original story in the Chicago Sun-Times and on the interpretation that Michelle Obama's remark constituted an attack on Senator Hillary Clinton. Now for anyone who read the original story, there seems little doubt that Mrs. Obama's remark really was a thinly disguised dig at Hillary. The Sun-Times wrote:
Based on his explanation, it appears he said he wasn't calling milbloggers chickenhawks, he was calling bloggers like Hugh Hewitt chickenhawks and “didn't take the time to clearly define what (he) was talking about.”
He also fell back on popular lefty tactics that are designed to eliminate opposing opinions. In addition to the chickenhawk gambit, McLeary insisted that writers should physically set foot in Iraq and Afghanistan, limiting discussion to only those reporters and bloggers who have been to those countries, unless, of course, the writer has an anti-military or anti-war position. Good thing that NewsBusters' Mark Finklestein has been to Iraq!
Here is the portion of McLeary's email that Q and O posted (bold mine):
The Columbia Journalism Review hit a new low with Paul McLeary's latest article when apparently claimed milbloggers didn't serve in the military. Outraged that milbloggers and the right dared to question the veracity of Scott Beauchamp's fantastical writings which claimed US soldiers in Iraq played with the skulls of Iraqi children, McCleary asked “Why do conservatives hate the troops” and pretended to take the side of those beleaguered “troops.” In response to the legitimate discussion of Beauchamp's liberal activism in college, McLeary cattily huffed (bold mine throughout):
How dare a college grad and engaged citizen volunteer to join the Army to fight for his country! (Which is something that most of the brave souls who inhabit the milblog community prefers to leave to others.)