Journalistic Issues

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?

By Matt Vespa | July 18, 2013 | 3:15 PM EDT

Imagine if you will a conservative Republican mayor used public employees' work time to advocate stricter state-level abortion regulations throughout the country? The Left would, and to an extent rightfully so, raise a fit, and the liberal media would, again, rightly so, beat the drums and make the abuse of power a major national story.

But when it's liberal independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg doing the same thing to push a gun control agenda, the media are not-so-strangely silent, given the media's push for ever-more-restrictive gun laws.

By Matthew Sheffield | July 17, 2013 | 5:00 PM EDT

The Associated Press, the most powerful and widely used wire service in the world, decided last week to lend its support to the extremist views of Texas state senator Wendy Davis by utlizing a Twitter hashtag #StandWithWendy used by her supporters.

After pro-life bloggers called attention to the tweet, AP deleted the tweet from its official timeline but the wire service has still not apologized for its action.

By Matt Vespa | July 17, 2013 | 8:49 AM EDT

With the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act last month, you know that ABC’s “What Would You Do?” just had to produce a segment on gay marriage – again.  In the July 12 broadcast, the show decided to pick the liberal state of New Jersey -- a blue state for a change -- in order to find these nasty, homophobic Americans.  The scenario was simple.  Two lesbians walk into a local bakery picking out their future wedding cake.  The baker is a homophobe.  He hurls insults.  What would you do?

To no one’s surprise, the vast majority of the bystanders were appalled by the baker’s remarks.  Some offered their apologies, while others coaxed the couple, played by actors, to leave the store for a friendlier baking establishment.  Again, save for a few customers, most of the people caught on camera offered empathy and support for the discriminated couple.  Then again, in a state where 60% support gay marriage, you’d be hard-pressed to find Westboro Baptist types lingering around a bakery ready to gay-bash at the drop of a hat.

By Andrew Lautz | July 16, 2013 | 4:19 PM EDT

New York Times Magazine correspondent Mark Leibovich has made waves in Washington, D.C. recently with the release of This Town, his tell-all account of the “universally disliked” culture in our nation’s capital. Leibovich appeared on Tuesday’s Morning Joe to promote his controversial book, and to discuss the breakdown of Washington journalism with co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Leibovich suggested he wrote This Town to “hold a mirror to the culture” of the nation’s capital, and that the ultimate takeaway of his work is that “everyone fundamentally is disappointed with Washington.” But Leibovich’s history of partisanship, as documented by NewsBusters, suggests that the reporter is very much a part of the dysfunction inside the Beltway. Leibovich has a history of praising Democrats and bashing Republicans, all in a day’s work at the left-wing New York Times.

By Matthew Sheffield | July 14, 2013 | 6:47 PM EDT

Now that he has successfully defended himself from criminal charges brought against him by the state of Florida for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman is going to resume a lawsuit he filed several months earlier against NBC News.

Launched in the midst of the state prosecution against him by a separate civil team, the lawsuit is a defamation claim alleging that NBC deliberately altered an audio recording so as to make Zimmerman appear to be racist.

By Matt Vespa | July 10, 2013 | 3:37 PM EDT

In Texas, it’s only a matter of hours until abortions are banned at 20 weeks.  It’s a popular bill amongst those residing in The Lone Star State – with 62 percent supporting the law.  Nationally, 50 percent of women and 52 percent of Millennials also want abortions to be banned at 20 weeks.  Overall, only 14 percent of Americans support late-term abortions.  The public is not with them, so pro-aborts vent their rage.

How do they do that?  By salivating over women who don’t care they had them in the first place – and celebrating their courage in carrying out the dirty deed.  On Tuesday, MSNBC featured New York Times op-ed contributor Beth Matusoff Merfish, who was “incredibly proud” of her mother’s abortion.  Today, Jessica Grose of the Washington Post-affiliated Slate news site, who now writes a monthly column for the "Motherlode" blog at the New York Times, wrote that we need to hear more unapologetic voices for abortion because that’ll influence the fight “leftward.” 

By Matt Vespa | July 9, 2013 | 5:11 PM EDT

The July 9 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner wouldn’t be complete without a panel discussing Texas State Senator Wendy Davis – and the abortion battle in Texas. Yet, it reached a new level with New York Times op-ed contributor Beth Matusoff Merfish declaring that she was “proud” her mother underwent an abortion since “she had the wisdom and the courage to know that her own potential would be cut short by a pregnancy and to terminate that pregnancy and I think many of our mothers have similar stories and it is really important to talk about that.”

The MSNBC network is known for two things: A lack of dissent and touting the official Obama line. So, it's not surprising that the show's panel included Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary from Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Karen Finney, former DNC Communications Director and board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

By Matthew Sheffield | July 8, 2013 | 5:40 PM EDT

In addition to trying to redefine the Second Amendment as not protecting anyone's right to bear arms, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is now excited about how to redefine the First Amendment.

As with guns, Durbin is trying to limit constitutional freedoms so that they cannot be used by people of whom he disapproves. In an opinion essay published in the Chicago Sun Times last week, Durbin argued it was "time to say who's a real reporter," so that no one else can be given First Amendment protections.

By Matt Vespa | July 3, 2013 | 11:01 AM EDT

As Texas State Senator Wendy Davis continues to be fawned over by liberals for her filibuster of SB 5, Texas’ latest abortion law, the media have also given her political cover by omitting key details about the bill. It would have banned abortions at 20-weeks and forced clinics to undergo modifications to be reclassified as a surgical centers. After all, a late term abortion is surgery at that point. 

Instead, ABC and NBC decided to focus on how this bill will shut down abortion clinics. CBS opted to settle with Davis’ opinion about the bill’s impact on women’s health. You can guess how she thought about that angle.

By Matt Vespa | July 1, 2013 | 3:05 PM EDT

Well, it’s Washington Post official: the sequestration wasn’t all that bad after all.  In fact, you could classify it as a dud, according to none other than Ezra Klein, a favored pet pundit of many a liberal MSNBC panel.

In a June 30 item at his Wonkblog, Klein concluded that the experts were “mostly wrong” concerning the impact of the cuts.  At the same time, conservatives saw from the beginning that the actual amount of cutbacks, which was only $44 billion, would have a de minimis impact on the economy. However, government spending increased over the past year, just at a lower rate of growth than originally planned, so in real terms, there were no real cuts to speak of in real terms.

By Matt Vespa | June 30, 2013 | 5:10 PM EDT

The June 28 broadcast of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports wouldn’t be complete without some mentioning of abortion and the 11-hour filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis on Tuesday.  Davis, who worked herself through Harvard Law despite having had the hardship of being a teenage single mother, temporarily killed the bill which would have made it illegal to conduct an abortion after 20 weeks in a pregnancy. Yet, as with other broadcast networks, they excised that critical detail.

Mitchell asked the former Republican governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, about this development.  Pawlenty admitted he didn’t know the details of the bill. For her part, Mitchell simply insisted that the bill violated Roe v. Wade and would close down virtually all "abortion services" in the Lone Star State. Of course, Mitchell failed to go into specific provisions of the bill, which, among other things, requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in the event that something horrible goes wrong and the patient needs to be admitted.