Journalistic Issues

By Kyle Drennen | September 29, 2014 | 5:10 PM EDT

In an interview with Ben Affleck on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer observed that the actor's new murder mystery thriller Gone Girl was "a little hostile to the institution of the media." Affleck agreed but reassured Lauer: "Yeah, it's not media broadly. It's not you guys or The New York Times or even the news. It's about that stripe of media that's the sort of the cable, 24-hour, 'Who killed somebody today?,' you know, kind of hustle."

Affleck – who plays a husband suspected of murdering his wife amid a media frenzy in the film – listed various real-life murder cases the press became obsessed with: "...Scott Peterson or Laci Peterson or whatever, Amanda Knox, or that girl whose daughter died. You know, whatever horrible thing happens, there's somebody kind of really sanctimonious running a show twenty four hours a day trying to make money off of it..." Of course NBC was saturated with sensational coverage of all of those stories as well.

By Kyle Drennen | September 17, 2014 | 4:19 PM EDT

As reported by Politico, recently dumped Meet the Press moderator David Gregory moderated a panel for the No Labels Strategic Agenda conference in Washington on Wednesday and lectured his media colleagues: "[I]n Washington political journalism the narrative gets set, and it gets set early and built on. And things that fight the narrative get harder to report out, I think, often because of laziness in media."

Given that Meet the Press on his watch was routinely a place to promote the conventional wisdom of Washington, Gregory is hardly one to accuse other journalists of lazily accepting inside-the-beltway spin in political coverage.

By Mark Finkelstein | September 15, 2014 | 6:12 PM EDT

Can Touré Neblett not see the incandescent irony of his statement?  His show-ending rant on The Cycle today condemned the censorship of the shocking images of war. Railed Touré: "we're blocked from seeing so much of the cost of war, of the evil of war as if we are too sensitive or squeamish or unable to handle the graphic truth."

Touré focused on one particular photo, taken by photo-journalist Kenneth Jarecke during the first Gulf War, deploring the fact that AP refused to publish it. Incredibly, Touré  then proceeded to . . . censor the photo himself, declaring that it's "so graphic I can't show it to you now."  Hello?

By Seton Motley | August 18, 2014 | 8:52 AM EDT

It takes a special man to cram so much wrong into a mere 342 words.  Or an Old Grey Lady.

The New York Times utterly ridiculous Editorial Board recently as one addressed Title II Internet regulatory Reclassification and Network Neutrality - and they did so in utterly ridiculous fashion. 

They either have absolutely no idea what any of this is - or they are lying through their printing presses.

By Tom Johnson | August 16, 2014 | 7:01 AM EDT

This week, three of the most prominent liberal bloggers agreed that when it comes to criticizing presidents of either party about their vacations, people really need to, as one of the bloggers put it, “STFU.”

Do they have a point, or should the appropriateness of presidential vacations be evaluated on a POTUS-by-POTUS basis? Check out their thoughts and comment if you’d like.

By Seton Motley | June 16, 2014 | 9:09 AM EDT

So it turns out there that something doesn't have to be true to be funny.

Many a thinking American - who knows media bias - finds the following perversely appropriate.

Young Get News From Comedy Central

Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather ... and Jon Stewart?

Readers over 30 might scoff at Stewart's inclusion - assuming they know who he is. For many under 30, the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" is, improbably, a source for news.

By Seton Motley | May 19, 2014 | 8:44 AM EDT

What at times is worse than the Jurassic Press not covering something?  The Jurassic Press covering something.

The all-encompassing government-Internet-power-grab that is Network Neutrality rarely gets outside-the-Tech-World media attention.  But Thursday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in Democrat Party-line fashion to begin its process of imposing it.  This was a big enough deal that it garnered over-the-weekend Big Media coverage from ABC (with a Bloomberg assist) and PBS (with a Washington Post assist). 

By Tom Johnson | May 9, 2014 | 2:40 PM EDT

One of the Indiana University professors who recently found that almost four times as many journalists self-identify as Democrats than as Republicans doesn't believe that that imbalance causes biased reporting.

IU's Lars Willnat remarked to Salon magazine that "we don’t think that our findings reflect a ‘liberal media bias’...Journalists’ political preferences don’t usually translate into political bias in news coverage unless they are working for openly partisan news media. Their professional norms and values, as well as market pressures, prevent most of them from being biased politically.”

By Paul Bremmer | May 3, 2014 | 11:50 AM EDT

You may have seen Bret Baier’s interview with former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Fox News Thursday evening. The conversation dealt with the Benghazi attack, and it was combative at times. Vietor spun hard for the administration, even smugly calling Baier “dude” at one point. But Baier appeared to be well-prepared for Vietor’s spin with a wide array of relevant video clips and sound bites.

On Friday, Baier went on Mornings on the Mall, a Washington, D.C. radio program, to talk about the Vietor interview. [See YouTube video embedded below.] He explained to the hosts how he prepared so well:

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By Paul Bremmer | May 1, 2014 | 11:48 AM EDT

Kenneth P. Vogel called attention to an important issue in a Wednesday Politico article – namely, the inherent hypocrisy of super-rich liberal donors who give big bucks to a Democratic party that repeatedly slams wealthy conservative donors like the Koch brothers.

Vogel’s article focused on this week’s annual spring meeting in Chicago of the Democracy Alliance, a club of wealthy Democratic donors. The political journalist apparently tried to ask several attendees about the irony of the Democrats’ position on campaign finance, but he was mostly stonewalled. Here's how Vogel opened his April 30 story:

By Kristine Marsh | April 24, 2014 | 12:30 PM EDT

“I’ll take ‘Explicit Media Bias” for $500, Alex.” On the April 23 “Jeopardy,” a reporter for The New York Times actually admitted that it was part of his job to “annoy” Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

The admission came as a question under the category “Man of the House” about House Representatives. In the video question, New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau introduces himself and asks:

By Christian Robey | April 17, 2014 | 5:11 PM EDT

In 1996, the  Society of Professional Journalists removed a stipulation in its ethics code holding that “News reports should be free of opinion or bias.” Earlier this year, theSPJ’s Ethics Committee released its draft of a revised ethics code which, alas, does not restore the bright-line rule against opinion and bias in news stories that was removed in 1996

The rule, was on the books for some 70 years before being scotched. What’s more, the 1973version of the code, went on to insist that news reports should “represent all sides of an issue.” That revision of the code  also contained language which emphasized the preeminence of truth and objectivity in the practice of journalism “Truth is our ultimate goal” with “Objectivity in reporting the news”another goal in service of that aim.