Journalistic Issues

By Warner Todd Huston | October 23, 2008 | 2:25 AM EDT

As if we didn't know already by the evidence of the left-wing media establishment's work, Pew Research unveiled a new survey that showed that John McCain has been on the receiving end of "heavily unfavorable" coverage. In fact, according to Pew, McCain's media coverage has become more negative over time with unfavorable stories about him outweighing favorable ones "by a factor of more than three-to-one." Pew finds that McCain's negative stories are the highest from among all four major candidates.

First of all, we should remember that the Pew survey was drawn from news coverage -- opinion pieces were not included. So, if we were to add all the opinion editorials emanating from the Old Media, the unfavorables for McCain and Palin would soar to unprecedented heights. But, Op-Eds aside and with the fact that we are talking "news," it is still amazing to note the highly negative tone leveled at McCain.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 22, 2008 | 2:26 AM EDT

While the unsubstantiated reports of nasty remarks and advocacy of violence from attendees at McCain's rallies remains the buzz from the Old Media establishment and as the Old Media points its accusing finger at Gov. Palin, constantly calling her a racist, real violence has been perpetrated on a McCain supporter at the hands of an Obamaton. Yet, strangely enough, the media has remained silent on the incident.

Oleg Atbashian informs us that the District Attorney of New York has indicted an Obama supporter that ripped a McCain sign out of the hands of a McCain supporter and beat her in the face with the wooden stick to which the sign was attached.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 22, 2008 | 1:30 AM EDT

On October 13, The New York Times gravely informed us that the economy was causing stress for travelers. Not just the economy in general, but specifically that the "crisis on Wall Street was the No. 1 cause of anxiety" for travelers. And, they had a survey to prove it, too. Or so NYT writer Paul Burnham Finney claimed. But, on October 21 the Times was forced to issue a little correction to Finney's tall tale. You see, it turns out writer Finney outright lied about some of his claims and quotes.

In fact, it turns out that freelancer Finney made up quite a few "facts" for his story. Finney claimed the survey he was citing proved that travelers saw the Wall Street crisis as the "no. 1" worry and claimed that the survey participants felt vulnerable "in the office and on a business trip." However, the survey did not ask such questions of participants, so Finney could not have gleaned any such thing from it. Finney also quoted Nancy Molitor, a psychologist in Wilmette, Ill., as saying that she had "never seen such anxiety" from among her "banking and business patients." But, the paper discovered that Dr. Molitor never made such a statement to Finney.

In other words, it appears that Paul Burnham Finney simply made up these "facts" to fit the theme he wanted to push in his story. Real anxiety wasn't enough for Finney. Instead, Finney massaged the story to fit the day's headlines about Wall Street in order to make his story more sensational.

By Seton Motley | October 21, 2008 | 3:34 PM EDT

Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen | Media Research CenterWe are almost at halftime of Round Three of the MRC's Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Media Bias Tournament.

Only the Infatuated Four remain. If you haven't yet voted, by all means do so now.

And if you have, check back often to see how your selections are faring.

And as biased as they all are, much like the 1980's cinematic classic says, "There can be only one."

No, not that one.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 21, 2008 | 4:44 AM EDT

The CBS News blog "From the Road" suddenly realized that Joe Biden was not giving the media any access and that he hasn't held a press conference for well over a month. Even with this report, though, the media at large has been strangely quite on this disappearing act of Biden's, especially in light of the drubbing they handed out to Sarah Palin when she was not so forthcoming with the press as they'd have liked after her debut on the national stage.

Remember all the pained cries from the media that Palin was "hiding" from them? Remember how they agonized over her distance from them in the month following her addition to the McCain ticket? Yet, Biden is not only refusing any interaction with the press, he is, for the most part, not even taking any questions from voters during his campaign stops.

Still, the media seems unconcerned with scolding Biden as much as they did Palin.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 21, 2008 | 3:38 AM EDT

An Arkansas TV reporter that had a bit part in Oliver Stone's movie "W" was found beaten unconscious in her Little Rock home on October 20 and in its report on the crime the Associated Press seemed to decide that she was beaten merely because she had appeared in the movie though this impression the AP seems to have is not supported by the police. One wonders why the AP decided to spend almost half its story focusing on her movie role when reporting this crime? Is the AP trying to say her connection with George W. Bush got her attacked? It sure seems like the AP is seized by another bout of Bush Derangement Syndrome with its unnecessary emphasis on this reporter's film role.

The APs obsession with the victim's movie role was odd, indeed. Even in its first few lines the AP ties KATV anchor Ann Pressly to her movie work saying in its first sentence that she "had a small part in the Bush biopic 'W.'" The AP takes pains to point out that in the movie, Pressly "speaks favorably of President Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' event on an aircraft carrier shortly after the start of the Iraq war." The report speaks about how she won the role in the film and then adds this odd sentence:

By Warner Todd Huston | October 20, 2008 | 5:50 AM EDT

The Associated Press has once again called Governor Sarah Palin a racist. This time Rachel D’Oro for the AP bases her claim on the fact that Palin appointed minorities to her Alaska administration -- but not enough of them to suit the AP -- and because at an Alaska rally when she was running for governor one attendee once spoke to a black cameraman in an unkind manner. Yep, that's a mountain of evidence the AP has there, isn't it?

The AP also spoke to a few black ministers in Alaska and, shockingly, they announced that they felt she had no "sensitivity" to their political positions. Imagine that? A Republican that isn't receptive to demands based on a race driven agenda? No one has ever heard of that before, right?

By Warner Todd Huston | October 20, 2008 | 5:41 AM EDT

W. movie Web ad | NewsBusters.orgEntertainment Weekly's Joshua Rich reported on the weekend's box office returns for the latest releases on October 19 to let us all in on Hollywood's successes and failures, because, you know, Hollywood is important and all. We find that the Chihuahua movie is still going like gangbusters ($70 million in three weeks) and the horrid movie "Max Payne" led the weekend's receipts with $18 million. Oliver Stone's slamfest "W," though, earned a disappointing fourth place on its debut weekend.

So, what was EW's excuse for this disappointing finish? According to Rich, "W" is failing at the box office because of "tough economic times.” It’s curious, though, that people have spent $70 million on the Chihuahua movie in these same "tough economic times" -- and let us not forget that the latest Batman movie has made over $300 million. Still, the excuse for the fourth place finish for Stone's pseudo-biopic is "tough economic times," just the same.

But, Rich’s excuse is a claim that even Entertainment Weekly itself has recently disputed, at least as far as the box office goes. Only a few weeks ago, the weekend that right-wing comedy "An American Carol" debuted, the same Box Office Report column said that the "economy may be tanking, but the box office remains healthy, with probably the only year-on-year metric that's seen an uptick."

By Warner Todd Huston | October 17, 2008 | 10:19 AM EDT

The dead tree media, the dinosaur media, the Old Media has spoken. It's officially worse than ever! The Chicago Tribune has pronounced political discourse worse than ever before and it's all because of that "obnoxious" Internet. So, you folks reading this should know that the Trib blames these rancorous times on you. Of course, what the Trib and its "experts" suffer from is My-Lifeitis, that well known sickness that afflicts those that imagine that today is worse than it's ever been, that only in their lifetimes have things become so bad. In other words, they are historically illiterate.

Now, before I get into the Trib's somewhat blinkered analysis of today's political climate -- or as the Tribune prosaically says, the "more polarized political environment" -- I have to ask one thing of the Trib: Are you guys just now noticing that the Internet tends to stir the pot? Where have you been the last ten years?

Now, that said, let's dive into this silly story.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 17, 2008 | 5:09 AM EDT

Not that any of us here could possibly be surprised -- I say that to head off the inevitable comments asking how we could be -- but a new study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs finds that late-night comedians attack Republicans far more than they do Democrats. In fact, the CMPA found a lopsided 7 to 1 ratio of Republican compared to Democrat jokes. "The total: Republicans, 286. Democrats, 42."

Fox News reported that the CMPA's Donald Rieck found that this current election was "driving it off the charts" with the preponderance of jokes directed at Republicans on late-night TV.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 17, 2008 | 4:38 AM EDT

<b>**Video Below the Fold**</b>

<p><img height="140" hspace="10" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/12/10/timestopics/topics_alfran... width="100" align="right" border="0" />Al Franken has shown himself to be an angry, easily enraged man and after the October 16 Minnesota Senatorial candidate's debate he allowed his overwrought emotional state to send him over the edge once again. After the debate was over and the Media had turned off their microphones and cameras, Franken rushed over to Senator Norm Coleman's table and proceeded to angrily get in his face over some point or another made during the debate. Franken was getting so angry that his own wife had to rush over and force him to back off from a mounting confrontation with Coleman.</p>

<p>This isn't the only time that Al Franken has allowed his seemingly delicately balanced temperament to be tipped to unseemly anger. In fact, he's allowed himself to be driven to physical violence in the past. In 2004, for instance, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/27/elec04.prez.democrats.larouche... tackled a disruptive LaRouchie</a> at a Howard Dean speech. He has also been known to get into <a href="http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/14115411.html">shouting matches with rally attendees</a> and opponents alike. Not to mention his past usage of intemperate or profane language and mean-spirited use of ridicule in his comedy routines and during his radio shows when he was an Air-America host.</p>

By Warner Todd Huston | October 16, 2008 | 4:49 AM EDT

Apparently the Washington Post thinks it has an ethics violation to hold against Cindy McCain, wife of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. The Post is trying to claim that Cindy McCain somehow illicitly got a portable cell tower delivered to her remote Arizona ranch so that their phones would work there. The truth is, however, the Secret Service ordered up the portable cell tower, not Cindy McCain.

Even the words the Post uses to report the story prove somewhat weasely because, as the Post can't find any actual wrong doing, the story relies on vague ways of implying wrongdoing without actually saying it. In the end, there doesn't seem to be much there, there, but I suppose the Post had to justify the money it spent by publishing this non-story anyway.