Journalistic Issues

By Warner Todd Huston | August 28, 2008 | 2:26 AM EDT

Chris Redfern, the Democratic Party Chairman of Ohio, apparently thinks that Americans are so stingy and selfish that the only way charity work gets done is if government taxes the people to make it happen. In a recent radio interview, Redfern expressed the assumption that "unfortunately most Americans would not" help out the poor. Even worse, Redfern honestly believes that freebies and charity work is just as much the proper role of government as funding the "military, law enforcement, and fire protection," proving he hasn't a clue what the proper role should be of the government America's founders created.

In an interview with Toledo radio station 1370 WSPD, Redfern made the outrageous comments on how selfish Americans are and how we need government to force us all to care for, as he put it, "the least among us."

By Jacob S. Lybbert | August 27, 2008 | 12:56 PM EDT

Wild swings in polling results have been an ongoing big story this election cycle. The LAT, as Dave Pierre pointed out a week ago, experienced a huge shift in their polling away from their man, Barack Obama, and were left scrambling to come up with a solution. But the LAT is not alone. Last month, P.J. Gladnick highlighted a similarly drastic shift in the Newsweek poll.What, then, are we to conclude from this polling data? Are Newsweek and the LAT biased in favor of Barack Obama and other Democrats?Pollster.com sought to answer that question by running regression analysis on every last bit of polling data they could get their hands on. They found clear divergence in the polling data away from their trend line. Not surprisingly, the results showed polls slightly skewed in favor of both candidates. Pollster.com's, Charles Franklin, chooses to refer to these differences as "house effects" rather than bias.

By Warner Todd Huston | August 27, 2008 | 7:38 AM EDT

In New York, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein has ordered the release of eight more grand jury transcripts from the famous 1951 spy case that led to the conviction of the husband and wife pro-Soviet spy team of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Reuters reports this story as if there is some cloud of doubt still hanging over the Rosenberg's conviction despite that their guilt is no longer debatable. Yet here is Reuters giving cover to those who stubbornly wish to cast doubt on the U.S. prosecution of the Rosenbergs. It also gives Reuters and U.S. detractors the opportunity once again smear America by raising their favorite Cold War boogie man, Joe McCarthy.

Reuters sternly tells us that,

The Rosenbergs were convicted in 1951 of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Rosenberg supporters describe the case as a frame-up amid anti-communist McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear.

It is amazing to see Reuters use every U.S. bash they could in one little paragraph. The Rosenbergs were victims of a "frame-up" because of "McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear." Notice how Reuters seems to forget to mention that there is no longer any doubt that the Rosenbergs were guilty, though?

By Warner Todd Huston | August 27, 2008 | 4:26 AM EDT

The ratings for the Democratic National Convention for ABC, CBS and NBC fell by a million viewers compared to the opener for the 2004 convention with headliner Bill Clinton TVWeek is reporting. On the other hand, the cable newsers saw a ratings jump from their 2004 convention ratings. This reveals the further decline in the old paradigm with the big three networks steadily losing their news influence bit by bit to cable outlets.

ABC, CBS and NBC brought in 12.1 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour, down one million from 2004, according to preliminary, fast-national data from Nielsen Media Research. NBC scored the largest audience.

But the cable news networks saw some pretty impressive gains in ratings for the DNC opening.

By Warner Todd Huston | August 27, 2008 | 3:21 AM EDT

Read it and weep, Dixie Chicks. Shove it Bruce Springsteen. Put a sock in it Johnny Cougar Mellencamp. Because, in a refreshing change of pace for the entertainment industry, Kid Rock is telling CMT Insider via People Magazine that entertainers should stay quiet on matters political.

How many times have you seen the uninformed blather of some goof from Hollywood, or some crank from the music industry filling your TV screen or oozing from your radio? How many low brow maestros have had your eyes rolling when they imagine themselves to have some prescient insight into matters of politics? Apparently rock singer Kid Rock is signing onto your piquancy because he has said that singers should just shut up about politics.

By Warner Todd Huston | August 26, 2008 | 3:32 AM EDT

On August 25 Patrick Donahue of Bloomberg breathlessly informed us that a recent poll showed that Germans love Barack Obama. In a week where Obama's soft polling numbers with Americans who will do the actual voting, you'd be excused if you wondered who cared, but apparently Bloomberg thinks this Obama puffing "news" is worth reporting. It's more reason to be suspicious that the Old Media is in the tank for Barack Obama, in any case.

This particular Bloomberg story has little substance and is centered on a population that cannot even vote for Obama in the first place. Interestingly, however, this story makes no effort to contrast high polling numbers in Germany with the much softer support Obama finds in the U.S.A. At least such a comparison might have served a more newsworthy purpose.

By Warner Todd Huston | August 25, 2008 | 9:20 PM EDT

Reuters thinks that tax breaks and loopholes "costs" government its tax receipts. This is a perfect example of class hatred ginned up by the media to further class warfare between Americans. The absolute truth is that if people use the tax code to limit their tax burden they are not costing the government anything, but are using legal means to avoid a higher tax burden. Further, our money is NOT the government's property in the first place so a lower tax take is in no way "costing" the government anything. Yet, Reuters still uses this class warfare rhetoric to report its story revealing its attack-the-rich agenda.

The Reuters headline employs the class warfare rhetoric right off the top screaming, Tax loopholes seen costing billions annually. "Costing"? No, if tax receipts are lower it isn't because people are depriving government of due receipts. Again, it is because taxpayers are obeying the law and properly using the tax code as crated by Congress. If there are loopholes in the tax code they were placed there by Congress, whether wittingly or unwittingly, but still it’s the fault of Congress not “the rich.”

By Richard Newcomb | August 25, 2008 | 2:23 PM EDT

Just in time for the Democratic Convention in Denver this week, is the national press doing their best once again to tilt the playing field in favor of Senator Barack Obama? It would seem that that is indeed the case.

Case in point is an article in the USAToday online edition headlined Poll: More than half of Clinton backers still not sold on Obama. However, once the story passes its main focus of listing the challenges faced by Obama in uniting a Democratic Party thoroughly fractured by the rough campaign season, the story also manages to include points that are designed to be negative for the Republican candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain.

By Jacob S. Lybbert | August 22, 2008 | 9:21 PM EDT

George & Nick ClooneyDemocrats love their celebrities, and academia, well, they'll settle for celebrities' fathers. Cinncinatti.com's John Kiesewetter reports that Nick Clooney, George's dad, will be the "distinguished journalist in residence" at the American University in Washington D.C.

If George Clooney's dad, Nick Clooney, can be a professor of journalism, maybe I gave George's foreign policy chops short shrift

By Jacob S. Lybbert | August 22, 2008 | 4:11 PM EDT

Sometimes simply adding the link to our Editors' Picks sidebar just isn't enough. First reported by Luke Ford and confirmed by ERS News, it looks like LA Observed's Kevin Roderick's didn't actually share two Pulitzer Prizes after all. You see, there's sharing and then there's sharing. In the first sense, we all "shared" in Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor's Olympic Gold medal. In the second sense, the U.S. women's gymnastics team all shared the team's silver medal. In 1993 and 1995, the Los Angeles Times "staff" won Pulitzers for the LA riots and the Northridge earthquake, respectively. The Pulitzer awards committee names "staff" as the recipient when contributors number more than three. With a dozen stories listed and over two dozen credited reporters and photographers, the LA Times's Pulitzers were awarded to "Staff," meaning the 25 or so credited participants. Roderick certainly "shares" the Pulitzer in the second sense, that it redounds to the good of the entire LAT, but in purely official terms--you know, the ones that make it alright to claim it on your resume--Roderick did not share the Pulitzers.

By Warner Todd Huston | August 22, 2008 | 8:39 AM EDT

The L.A. Times' Rosa Brooks has done it again, taken a serious subject and made an uninformed romp of it. One wonders how the old Georgian lady seen in news photos standing wounded among the ruins of her apartment building, or the Georgian Mother running down the street, infant in her arms, trying to escape Russian tanks might feel about the humor with which Brooks brings to bear upon their plight? But, there it is for all to see in Brooks' "The Cold War, reheated" wherein Brooks puts the funny back in war. It's been too serious for too long for Brooks, apparently. We need the sunny side of ethnic cleansing, brutal invasion, and crushing occupation, don't we?

Oh, and let's not forget the skewed history, incorrect conclusions, and partisan inanities that Brooks blurted out with her little attempt at "Springtime for Gorbachev." Only with this production, Brooks is seriously trying to absolve the U.S.S.R.

By Warner Todd Huston | August 21, 2008 | 4:55 PM EDT

Via Drudge we get the recognition that Time Magazine has once again placed the Obamessiah on its cover. This makes the 7th time in the space of a year that Obama has graced the cover of Time Magazine.

Thus far, McCain has found the favor of the front cover precisely two times.

In the tank much?