Archive for the ‘bias’ Category

MSNBC Ran Anti-Palin Story With No Check Out, Verification

November 13, 2008

MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.

David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, had come forth and identified himself as the source of a Fox News Channel story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent.

Eisenstadt identifies himself on a blog as a senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Yet neither he nor the institute exist; each is part of a hoax dreamed up by a filmmaker named Eitan Gorlin and his partner, Dan Mirvish, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081113/ap_en_tv/
palin_hoax;_ylt=ApmXbBdfbMaI.KksFZN6Kwas0NUE

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Above: Dan Mirvish, who with Eitan Gorlin created an elaborate Internet hoax complete with a fake policy institute and a phony adviser to Senator John McCain. Photo: Axel Koester for The New York Times

MSNBC Caught by Hoax on Palin

By Richard Perez-Pena
The New York Times

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.
Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/arts/
television/13hoax.html?hp

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Media Bias Reaches New Low? Or High?

November 11, 2008

With the messiah safe at last, some of the notabilities of press and tube are climbing out of Barack Obama’s  media tank with tales of what’s been going on in there.

By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

It’s an article of media faith that everybody with a press card is incapable of showing bias – with the exception of a few newspapers like this one, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and, of course, Fox News. Anyone who says otherwise is a vacuous irrelevancy. So when someone strays off the reservation it’s front-page news, even when it’s not on the front page.

Deborah Howell, the ombudsman (a Swedish word her newsroom now defines as “newsroom harpie”) at The Washington Post finally had enough on Sunday and took her newspaper’s best and brightest severely to task for allowing its reporters and editors to climb into that tank. “Readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama,” she wrote. “My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that [readers] are right on both counts.”

Even before Election Day, Harold Evans, once editor of the Times of London and the London Sunday Times, was even blunter, perhaps because as the former editor he no longer has to risk life and limb walking among his former colleagues: “It’s fitting that the cynicism ‘vote early and vote often’ is commonly attributed to Chicago’s Democratic boss, Mayor Richard Daley, who famously voted the graveyards in 1960 to help put John F. Kennedy in the White House. In this 2008 race, it’s the American media that have voted very early and often. They long ago elected the star graduate of Chicago’s Democratic machine, Barack Obama.”

In fact, Reuters, the British news service that most slavishly follows the line of least resistance to bias, isn’t even waiting for the inauguration. Most of the media refers to the new president as “President-elect Obama.” To Reuters, he’s occasionally already “President Obama.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/11/fairer-to-one-than-the-other/

Washington Post Admits Lack of Objectivity In Obama Coverage

November 8, 2008

By Deborah Howell
Washington Post Ombudsman
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page B06

The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

My assistant, Jean Hwang, and I have been examining Post coverage since Nov. 11 last year on issues, voters, fundraising, the candidates’ backgrounds and horse-race stories on tactics, strategy and consultants. We also have looked at photos and Page 1 stories since Obama captured the nomination June 4. Numbers don’t tell you everything, but they give you a sense of The Post’s priorities.

The Washington Post

The count was lopsided, with 1,295 horse-race stories and 594 issues stories. The Post was deficient in stories that reported more than the two candidates trading jabs; readers needed articles, going back to the primaries, comparing their positions with outside experts’ views. There were no broad stories on energy or science policy, and there were few on religion issues.

Bill Hamilton, assistant managing editor for politics, said, “There are a lot of things I wish we’d been able to do in covering this campaign, but we had to make choices about what we felt we were uniquely able to provide our audiences both in Washington and on the Web. I don’t at all discount the importance of issues, but we had a larger purpose, to convey and explain a campaign that our own David Broder described as the most exciting he has ever covered, a narrative that unfolded until the very end. I think our staff rose to the occasion.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/0
7/AR2008110702895.html

The Meltdown of the American Media

November 5, 2008

More than the economy has melted down. What remains of big media credibility has also liquefied and won’t recover anytime soon, if it ever does.

Don’t take my word for it. The ombudsman for The Washington Post acknowledges that conservatives have a point when they claim an imbalance in coverage of Barack Obama and John McCain.

By Cal Thomas
The Washington Times
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In her Nov. 2 column, Deborah Howell writes, “…it’s true that The Post, as well as much of the national news media, has written more stories and more favorable stories about Barack Obama than John McCain. Editors have their reasons for this, but conservatives are right that they often don’t see their views reflected enough in the news pages.”

What might be “their reasons”? There is only one answer: Too many journalists have been in the tank for Mr. Obama and wanted to see him elected president. Some Post reporters (Ms. Howell doesn’t say how many) “complained to me that suggestions for issues coverage have been turned aside” in favor of horse-race coverage, despite reader complaints about too much coverage of the race itself and not enough of the candidates’ positions on the issues.

Journalism is the only profession I know that ignores the wishes of its consumers. If a department store found that most of its customers preferred over-the-calf socks to ankle-length socks, would that store ignore customer preferences for the longer socks because the president of the company preferred the ankle-length style? Not if the store wanted to make a profit in the sock department. Yet journalists have this attitude: “we know what’s good for you, so shut up and take it.”

Ms. Howell calls this arrogance….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/05/media-meltdown/

Media Credibility Brought To Critical Review By Overwhelming Obama Bias

November 3, 2008

After the presidential election is over and the dust, animosity, glee and shock settle into something manageable, the nation will need to tackle the subject of “media bias” in a sincere and honest manner.

By Douglas MacKinnon
The New York Times
.
As an “independent conservative,” I’m expected to see liberal media bias lurking everywhere, but it’s not just me — and it’s not just conservatives. I know liberals, including newspaper editors, who think the “news” pendulum had swung dangerously far to the left.

Beyond recent studies by the Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, other research shows that the media has tilted to the left; indeed journalists themselves have openly admitted as much.

Under the recent headline “Why McCain Is Getting Hosed in the Press,” Politico editors John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei opined:

OK, let’s just get this over with: Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico. And, yes, based on a combined 35 years in the news business we’d take an educated guess — nothing so scientific as a Pew study — that Obama will win the votes of probably 80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election. Most political journalists we know are centrists — instinctually skeptical of ideological zealotry — but with at least a mild liberal tilt to their thinking, particularly on social issues. So what?

“So what?” Those two cavalier words alone speak to the larger problem. Who cares if “80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election” will vote for Barack Obama? Journalists, their editors, management, the candidates and the American people should care.

Regarding the Obama phenomenon and the media fascination with him, a senior staffer for a rival Democrat primary opponent offered up this theory to me for part of the bias. This person reasoned that the pressure within the news business to diversify and be politically correct means more minorities, women and young people are being hired. And young and ethnically diverse reporters and editors go easier on candidates who look more like them, are closer to their age or represent their ideal of a presidential candidate.

Over at ABCnews.com, Michael S. Malone, a columnist, posted an article last week that created a firestorm of comment and interest. In part, he wrote: “The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates. The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling.”

Read the rest:
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/
2008/11/02/media-credibility/