Journalistic Issues

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.'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?

By Warner Todd Huston | August 21, 2008 | 3:19 PM EDT

A new independent study shows that deaths from terrorism have actually declined by more than 40 percent since 2001. This flies in the face of the constant Democrat mantra that states the opposite, that terrorism has increased since Bush initiated the War on Terror. It is a mantra that the media have helpfully spread for their friends at the DNC.

We've heard it again and again from the left in this country; deaths by terror have increased under George W. Bush and his War on Terror has failed. Along with so many on the left side of the aisle in the U.S., Barack Obama has said this several times in the past, too. At the Democratic debate at Saint Anselm College on Jun 3, 2007, for instance, Obama said that Bush's war has failed. "We live in a more dangerous world," Obama said on that stage, "partly as a consequence of Bush's actions..."

By Warner Todd Huston | August 21, 2008 | 3:00 AM EDT

Orlando Magazine (FL) published the amazing life's story of Florida artist Mark Pulliam in their August issue. It was an amazing story of a man who seemingly did everything. Played Major League Baseball, hobnobbed with the likes of Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Tiger Woods as well as finding great success as a local artist. Oh, it seemed a whirlwind life. One little problem. Little of it was true and Orlando editor Mike Boslet want you to know he's sorry.

Unfortunately for Orlando Magazine, they simply took Mark Pulliam's word for it all, ran with the story, and were informed by readers that many of the details didn't seem to pan out. So, on second look, the editors of Orlando sent an investigator to track down the various factoids that Pulliam told them about his personal history. It turned out little of what Pulliam claimed was true.

By Warner Todd Huston | August 20, 2008 | 7:49 AM EDT

Congratulate yourselves as being among the leading edge in Americans interested in the news. According to a recent Pew survey 37 percent of America's news consumers go to the Internet for their news. But it isn't all good news for our sources of news. For one thing, this survey also shows that many of us are logging on at work. This is the sort of thing that could be hurt if more and more businesses ban Internet use, as some have.

Of course, there is more bad news for newspapers as well as TV viewers here, too.

By Jacob S. Lybbert | August 20, 2008 | 12:25 AM EDT

When will the University of Illinois (Chicago) release the Annenberg Challenge documents? This is the question Stanley Kurtz asked in his column yesterday at NRO. Since then, the call has been taken up by various conservative blogs and radio shows. Today, U of I News Bureau Director, Bill Burton, issued a press release.

The University Library supports the teaching, research, and service missions of the University by acquiring, organizing, preserving, and providing access to information. The Library is open to the public and dedicated to free inquiry. The University has not received ownership rights to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge collection. The university is aggressively pursuing an agreement with the donor, and as soon as an agreement is finalized, the collection will be made accessible to the public.

Ok, fair enough. But why the secrecy over the donor of the documents? And more importantly, can the university guarantee in the interim that nothing will be removed or altered?

By Brent Baker | August 19, 2008 | 11:20 AM EDT
“Over the last 10 years,” the just-released biennial news consumption survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press determined, “virtually every news organization or program has seen its credibility marks decline” and “Democrats continue to give most news organizations much higher credibility ratings than do Republicans.”

Based on past Pew polls, CNN touts itself as “the most trusted name in news,” but the percent who “believe all or most” of what CNN reports has fallen 12 points, to 30 percent, since Pew first posed the question in 1998. Yet, in a sign of how far the news media have fallen in the eyes of the public, that puts CNN at the top of the 12 television news outlets analyzed, as well as above all the newspapers and online sources. Believability for ABC News, CBS News and NBC News is down six points over the past ten years, to 24 percent for ABC and NBC, 22 percent for CBS, but that's still better than the mere 18 percent who “believe all or most” of what they read in the New York Times.   

The extensive polling conducted in May also discovered that the audiences for CNN and MSNBC, “which were heavily Democratic two years ago, have become even more so: fully 51 percent of CNN's regular viewers are Democrats while only 18 percent are Republicans. MSNBC's audience makeup is similar -- 45 percent of regular viewers of MSNBC are Democrats, 18 percent are Republicans” and “the regular audience for nightly network news also is now about two-to-one Democratic (45 percent vs. 22 percent Republican).”