Journalistic Issues

By Matthew Sheffield | October 25, 2013 | 7:05 PM EDT

The media world is abuzz today with an inside-baseball story about a reporter claiming that Fox News deliberately tried to embarrass him by feeding him a false story which he then went ahead and published based on a single unverified source.

Yet somehow instead of the incident being an indictment of the reporter, Matthew Flamm of Crain’s New York Business, the media critic world is spinning it as an indictment of FNC--even though the basis of doing so appears to be on a single anonymous source of another reporter. Click past the break to travel down the rabbit hole.

By Paul Bremmer | August 29, 2013 | 4:10 PM EDT

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski vehemently criticized Miley Cyrus’s lewd display during Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” at the MTV Video Music Awards, but Brzezinski herself has blurred the lines between morning show anchor and social activist. On today’s Morning Joe, broadcast from a Ford assembly line near Detroit, the co-host openly declared her support for the nationwide fast food workers’ strike that was planned for today, even threatening to join the protesting workers.

Brzezinski introduced the story about halfway through the show, and she just couldn’t manage to hide her opinion: “Thousands of workers are set to stage walkouts in 35 cities around the country, including Detroit. As part of a push to get chains such as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Wendy's to increase their pay, as they should.

By Seton Motley | August 20, 2013 | 11:11 AM EDT

The Gray Lady on Sunday packed a tremendous amount of bias into the opening sentence of their “Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In.” 

Brace yourself - here goes:

By Matt Vespa | August 13, 2013 | 3:52 PM EDT

While NewsBusters really doesn’t target op-eds, especially ones that are printed in the New York Times, egregiously absurd arguments merit exposure and ridicule. Enter Frank Bruni's August 14 column, wherein the Times scribe discussed how our culture facilitates the objectification of women. 

Curiously, Bruni buried longtime Democratic politician Bob Filner, who saw women as objects he could grope, towards the end of his column.  The decay occurring in our popular culture is a valid point Bruni makes, but he hurtled off the rails when he had this to say about ultrasound laws:

By Matt Vespa | August 11, 2013 | 7:46 PM EDT

The Washington Post’s August 9 front-page story about the brutal murder of Vanessa Pham is missing a critical detail.  The young woman's alleged murderer is an illegal immigrant; a fact that is omitted entirely from Justin Jouvenal's story, even as Jouvenal mentioned Julio Miguel Blanco Garcia has a prior criminal record. It's not like Jouvenal was unaware of Garcia's being in the country illegally. This has been covered in other local news outlets previously.

What makes the story particularly of interest is that Pham was being a good Samaritan, giving Garcia and his infant daughter a ride to the hospital when Garcia allegedly flipped out and murdered her in cold blood in a fit of paranoia induced from PCP:

By Matt Vespa | August 9, 2013 | 9:32 AM EDT

The Washington Post’s Josh Hicks can’t be living under a rock, so his piece of the IRS’ postponement of their August furlough day is probably just fluff to fill space on the website.  His August 8 story had no mention of the fact that the agency is under a congressional microscope from its past activities of targeting both conservative and progressive groups.  This, along with the analysis done by NewsBusters’ Geoff Dickens, is another example of the news media giving the agency political cover.

Frankly, any interesting piece of news coming from the IRS should be about the scandal, especially since Hicks quotes Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, who has a tenuous connection to the scandal itself.  Last May, Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator wrote that Kelley could be the “smoking gun” in the IRS scandal.  She met with the president on March 31, 2010, and the alleged targeting began the next day.   As Lord noted:

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: