Journalistic Issues

By Matt Vespa | August 8, 2013 | 11:37 AM EDT

It's not just conservatives who think it's a horrible idea for NBC to run a Hillary Clinton miniseries before the 2016 election. Network anchor Chuck Todd worries about the perception of bias, even as he insists that there's a tall wall of separation between his network's news  and entertainment divisions.

Reported the Washington Post's Aaron Blake in an August 8 Post Politics entry:

By Mark Finkelstein | August 8, 2013 | 9:11 AM EDT

Mika to the barricades! Move over, Reverend Al.  You're not the only MSNBC host who moonlights as a liberal activist. On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski announced that she will be not merely be covering a pay protest by fast-food workers in Detroit on August 29th--she'll be an active participant in it.

Joe Scarborough tried—in vain—to school Mika on Econ 101.  But she did the equivalent of covering her ears and nattering "nah, nah, nah: can't hear you!"  Scarborough said he'd also be at the protest--on the sidelines, with a bullhorn. View the video after the jump.

By Matt Vespa | August 7, 2013 | 1:37 PM EDT

George W. Bush should’ve waited to have a heart attack, hints Daily Beast contributor Kent Sepkowitz, in a story exploiting the 43rd president's emergency procedure yesterday to insert a stent in his coronary artery.

After a few paragraphs replete with medical jargon, Sepkowitz argued that Bush probably should’ve waited a while before having the procedure, and held out the quick treatment for the blockage as a prime example of how our health care system in America is "broken." Providing prompt preventative heart care for a 67-year-old man is evidence of a "broken" system?!   Only a depraved anti-Bush liberal could use a possibly life threatening health condition as a commentary on health care politics – and sequestration, and that's precisely where Sepkowitz ran with his screed:

By Matt Vespa | August 6, 2013 | 3:00 PM EDT

Well, the Washington Post is back to their usual tricks in distorting the facts about guns and background checks.  On page A2 of today's print edition, staff writer Philip Rucker gave readers a story, which read pretty much like a press release for a left-wing pro-gun control group, calling itself Third Way.  Rucker harped on the misleading “gun show loophole” and how, according to Third Way, criminals are taking to the Internet to arm themselves for murder and mayhem.

That's far from the truth, as Rucker's colleague Brad Plumer noted in an August 5 Wonkblog post which cut against Rucker's Wild West narrative on online gun sales. Of course, Plumer's item didn't make it into print while Rucker's did, on page A2.

By Matt Vespa | August 5, 2013 | 1:00 PM EDT

In his August 2 article, Theory On Pain Is Driving Rules For Abortion, New York Times's Erik Eckholm set about to critique how the "theory" of fetal pain is driving a push by pro-lifers for state laws tightening up abortion restrictions. Yet, in trying to convince readers that "fetal pain" is a fringe medical theory, he failed to cite any mainstream medical journal that explicitly rules out the probability that unborn children feel pain in the womb.

“[M]ost scientists and medical associations say that perception of pain is impossible without brain developments that occur well after 20 weeks,” Eckholm insisted, overlooking a 1999 British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology study finding:

By Matt Vespa | August 1, 2013 | 5:36 PM EDT

The one thing we can say safely about liberals is that they lack self-awareness, especially when one of their own acts badly.  The Chronicles of Carlos Danger, the exploits of San Diego Mayor Bob “filthy” Filner, and the sexual proclivities of Eliot Spitzer have made the political scene a national joke.   Yet, this lack of respect – and creepiness – is not treated by the liberal media as an indictment on the larger Democratic Party in much the same way as the media have helped Democrats use Republican skeezeballs like Mark Foley to lambaste the entire party.

Republicans have been quick to take the trio of Democrats behaving badly to turn the liberal Democratic/liberal media "war on women" meme on its head. Apparently it's having some success as MSNBC's Chris Jansing dutifully took to the air on her August 1 Jansing & Co. program to offer a rebuttal. The "war on women" is about "policy," not inappropriate sexual behavior, Jansing and her guests insisted. Apparently since MSNBC helped write the "war on women" meme, they're pretty defensive about when it's used to bludgeon their friends in the Democratic Party. Here's the relevant exchange between Jansing, TIME magazine's Eliza Gray, and veteran Obama-defender scribe Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times:

By Matt Vespa | August 1, 2013 | 11:14 AM EDT

Al Kamen’s In The Loop blog on the Washington Post’s website needs to be renamed.  It’s become unhinged. Emily Heil’s July 31 post for the feature literally blamed sequestration for the Snowden fiasco.  Yes, according to Heil, because of that horrible, debilitating fiscal hatchet that Congress dealt last spring, Snowden was able to spill the beans on the NSA’s surveillance operations.

Despite the evidence that the effects of the sequester were minimal at best, Heil pressed in her post that Snowden just would’ve been a normal government contractor collecting paychecks if such a policy hadn’t been executed.  Right, because the editorial board at the Washington Post has a magic crystal ball that nobody knows about. Did I mention the main source for such a claim is none other than... Snowden’s father?!:

By Matt Vespa | July 28, 2013 | 11:54 PM EDT

If you want to see what a buried lede looks like, look no further than the Washington Post’s story about juror B29 in the George Zimmerman case.   The headline of the July 25 piece blares what the left-wing commentators have been screaming for days: "Zimmerman got away with murder.” It’s juicy.  It’s eye-catching, but it paints a two-dimensional portrait of how the juror, who calls herself Maddy, feels about the case.

In fact, Maddy, a mother of eight of Puerto Rican heritage -- bursting once and for all the "all-white jury" meme in the liberal media -- said in a televised interview that she thought the trial was a “publicity stunt,” and probably shouldn’t have been convened in the first place.  Additionally, she noted “You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty.”  Translation: there was reasonable doubt (or some would say innocence) – and if that’s the case, you cannot send someone to prison.

By Joe Newby | July 27, 2013 | 6:20 AM EDT

According to all reports, Juror B29, the sole nonwhite juror on the George Zimmerman trial, said the neighborhood watch volunteer got away with murder. But Slate's William Saletan says not so fast, and accused the network on Friday of deceptive editing and manipulation to get the answers they wanted.

According to Saletan, the juror -- identified only by her first name, Maddy -- has "been framed as the woman who was bullied out of voting to convict Zimmerman."

By Matt Vespa | July 26, 2013 | 2:48 PM EDT

A recent poll shows that more than eight out of ten non-white voters are fine with their state government requiring a photo ID at polling places. Yet, that fact was completely omitted from a front-page Friday New York Times story by Charlie Savage and Adam Liptak which dutifully praised Obama Attorney General Eric Holder's push to gum up Texas's voter ID law in federal courts.

Additionally, it seems that the MSNBC crowd is on board with voter integrity laws as well.  Sixty-five percent of respondents, who described themselves as "very liberal to liberal," thought that showing an ID before voting was a "good thing."  So, this isn't a legitimate issue.  It's only relevant in the liberal boardrooms of America's news media.

By Matt Vespa | July 24, 2013 | 1:20 PM EDT

Yesterday, Slate promoted to their front page a July 19 article promising a look at “what fracking really looks like.”  David Rosenberg's piece about the photos taken by New York-based documentary photographer Nina Berman seems to rehash the frivolous narrative that fracking will turn your bathroom into the devil's water closet, complete with fountains of flame! 

Liberals – and their allies on the environmental left – must’ve missed the EPA report showing that fracking doesn’t pollute surrounding groundwater.  But why go with facts when fiction is so much more melodramatic, particularly with the new release of Josh Fox’s latest anti-fracking documentary Gasland Part II.

By Matt Vespa | July 22, 2013 | 5:32 PM EDT

The July 19 broadcast of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” at first seemed to be devoid of any racial themes that usually plague the overly-contrived ABC "News" show.  Yet, they needed to insert a racial element to see if bystanders would stop a would-be thief in broad daylight. A man named Uvall is an actor playing your everyday American commuting to work.  He parks his car along the front of New York Panini in Huntington, New York.  His car has over $10,000 in valuables, which Kevin, another actor who happens to be a white guy will try to steal. He’s mostly successful.  Yet, he’s stopped by a naval officer -- a real person, not an actor -- and placed under a citizen’s arrest. Nevertheless, ABC had to play the race game to see if there’s more to Kevin’s success.

During the second go-around in this scenario, Gabriel replaces Kevin.  He’s another actor, and he happens to be black.  He’s caught every time, and also placed under citizen’s arrest.  Yet, is this racism, or more perceptive bystanders, the folks at ABC ask?