Journalistic Issues

By Matt Vespa | April 18, 2013 | 4:43 PM EDT

Our taxpayer dollars seem to be at work finding the culprit of the Boston terror attack last Monday. But on taxpayer-funded NPR, counterterrorism reporter Dina Temple-Raston was already guessing this was domestic not foreign.  “The thinking, as we've been reporting, is that this is a domestic or extremist attack,” Temple-Raston declared on the April 16 All Things Considered.

So, besides the pressure cooker bomb, whose directions on building it can be found on the Internet, what evidence shows that this is probably domestic terrorism?  Where’s the manifesto?  Who’s claimed responsibility?  All are question marks at this point, so what’s with the incessant speculation by some in the media.  Yes, it could be a crazy right-winger, or an al-Qaeda operative, but what ever happened to a simple narrative of there was a bombing, it’s awful, people died, and federal authorities are investigating the matter? But Temple-Raston heavily implied this matches with past acts of right wing – and domestic – terror:

By Randy Hall | April 18, 2013 | 6:03 AM EDT

Whenever a disaster like the bombing at Monday's Boston Marathon occurs, members of the press try to be the first to report any “scoops” they can find regarding the catastrophe. However, news organizations are often so anxious to beat the 24/7 news cycle that they don't always check all the facts before posting a story.

One recent example of this problem is an article on the CNN website entitled “Boston Marathon bombs have hallmarks of 'lone wolf' devices, experts say,” in which an anonymous senior U.S. counter-terrorism investigator is quoted as saying that pressure cooker bombs have been “a signature of extreme right-wing individuals in the United States,” even though the report provides no evidence to support that claim.

By Matt Vespa | April 17, 2013 | 6:31 PM EDT

As NewsBusters colleague Kyle Drennan reported today, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked if President Obama was following the Gosnell case, or NBC’s reporting of it.   He dodged the question, but at least NBC acknowledges that a case is actually going on in Philadelphia. The president answered:

By Matt Vespa | April 16, 2013 | 5:52 PM EDT

As we've noted, the liberal media generally and the Big Three broadcast networks in particular have studiously avoided paying attention to the Kermit Gosnell murder trial. The Philadelphia abortionist is charged with murdering newborns who survived abortion attempts and were born alive.

But aside from the criminal aspect of the case, there's other angle in the Gosnell matter that is of interest to political observers of the 2014 election cycle, particularly the Pennsylvania governor's race. One of the Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), who operated an abortion clinic from 1975-1988. J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier News has some great, incisive questions for Schwartz connected to the Gosnell matter, particularly whether Schwartz ever referred any patients to Gosnell.  Her clinic stopped performing abortions in 1984, but continued with issuing referrals to other clinics.  Schwartz has been curiously silent on the issue, and larger media outlets seem to be silent as well, failing to ask her if she ever referred women to Gosnell, for example.

By Matthew Sheffield | April 16, 2013 | 12:25 PM EDT

In a comparatively rare feat, a conservative writer has won a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award in journalism. Bret Stephens, who writes a column for the Wall Street Journal primarily about world affairs is the first conservative to win the award in more than a decade.

Congratulations are certainly in order to Stephens for pulling off the win, especially since the very liberal Columbia University is in charge of the award.

By Jill Stanek | April 11, 2013 | 5:31 PM EDT

2013-04-11_1139

Living in Chicago, I've observed press coverage up close on three of the most notorious mass murderers ever apprehended: Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, and Richard Speck.

Speck tortured, raped, and murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966. Dahmer murdered 17 boys and men in the Milwaukee/Chicago area between 1978-1991, keeping and eating some of their body parts. Gacy raped and murdered at least 33 boys and men between 1972-1978, burying many in the crawl space of his Chicago suburban home.

In each case the press tripped over themselves to recount every morbid detail, anxious to feed the public's fascination with the macabre (click to enlarge)...

By Matt Vespa | April 10, 2013 | 5:11 PM EDT

Is it MSNBC or MSDNC?  Andrew Kirell of Mediaite reported today that the left-wing commentary network has hired the Democratic National Committee’s director of video production, Anne Thompson, to produce the network’s newest weekend show Up with Steve Kornacki.  Yet, this is just another episode in the annals of MSNBC’s revolving door of hiring Obamaites.  MSNBC has already hired David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, two high-level Obama campaign advisors. On top of that, other Obama acolytes Like Ben LaBolt are recurring guests on shows like Now with Alex Wagner.

If MSNBC’s president, Phil Griffin, was really trying to distance himself from the Democratic Party, this was a poor decision.  Griffin has been trying to dispel the fledgling narrative that his network is nothing more than a communications outlet for the DNC.

By Matt Vespa | April 3, 2013 | 6:45 PM EDT

Yesterday, Juliet Eilperin wrote for the Washington Post that “the public interest in climate change is waning.”  Posted to Chris Cillizza’s Fix blog, it’s odd that Eilperin didn’t use any hard numbers in this piece.  Citing Pew, she did say that support has dropped six points since last October, but what, pray tell, was the support at that time?  Ten percent? Twenty-five?

Maybe she omitted the hard numbers for the simple reason that Americans have NEVER viewed this as a high priority issue.  Let’s go back to January when President Obama – and the media – were pushing hardest for gun control policies. Aa Washington Post/ABC Poll found that 18 percent of all adults viewed addressing global warming as a high priority.  Concerning the partisan breakdown, only 26% of Democrats and 7% of Republicans thought that stopping the polar ice caps was of the highest national urgency.

By Matt Vespa | April 1, 2013 | 5:25 PM EDT

If we're going to have our tax dollars spent on NPR covering political news, can't we at least insist that they report the news accurately?

On Friday's All Things Considered, co-Host Audie Cornish opened an eight-minute segment by saying, “the gay marriage debate arrived at the Supreme Court, and White House efforts to tighten the nation's gun laws ran into serious Republican opposition.” Granted, the Tea Party caucus in the Senate is planning on a filibuster of the anti-gun bill that’s making its way to the floor, but the “serious” opposition comes from within the Democratic Party, as no less a partisan Democrat than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid noted a few weeks ago.

On March 19, Ed O’Keefe and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post reported that Sen. Feinstein’s assault weapons ban amendment to the gun control bill had, in the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, “using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes.”

By Matt Vespa | March 29, 2013 | 5:18 PM EDT

This morning’s episode of Starting Point on CNN wouldn’t be complete without host Soledad O’Brien doing what she does best: cheerlead for the Obama administration.  Yesterday, the president chastised the American people for forgetting about the tragedy in Newtown last December, and said this was a critical moment for the nation to back his anti-gun agenda.

So of course O'Brien this morning invited slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto’s sister Jillian on the program to discuss the new ad released by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The MAIG ad shamelessly plays on the emotions of Americans, specifically residents of Connecticut, in order to do damage control for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed campaign to ban assault weapons and so-called high-capacity magazines.

By Matt Vespa | March 29, 2013 | 3:43 PM EDT

The liberal website Slate has taken post-Newtown commentary to a new low by tracking the amount of deaths via firearm that have occurred since December. It’s purely an emotional ploy to show how awful America, our right to bear arms, and gun owners really are, and how the perpetuate carnage.  Hence, we must act, and pass ineffectual policies like an assault weapons ban.  What’s odd is that this interactive map was posted yesterday, when President Obama testily chastised the country for Congress's failure thus far to enact his anti-gun agenda.  

Furthermore, its seems Chris Kirk and Dan Kois, the two men compiling this butcher’s bill, are lusting for more macabre news, urging readers to help them "draw a more complete picture of gun violence in America" by tweeting "@GunDeaths with a citation" of "gun death[s] in your community" that "[aren't] represented here."