Jan
10
2012

'Opinions Differ' Should Be the Start of PolitiFact's Job

There are two ways to approach being evenhanded: You can try to actually be evenhanded, which could mean that you find that one side is right and the other is wrong. Or you can strive for the appearance of being evenhanded, which means that you decide in advance that you're going to find that there's truth on both sides. PolitiFact, a political factchecking project based in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been criticized for taking the latter approach. An item it posted yesterday (1/9/12) is further evidence of its preference for the appearance of evenhandedness over its reality. The item addressed […]

Jan
04
2012

Iowans Frustrate Reporters With Their Multiple Opinions

The usual criticisms of the Iowa caucuses–that the votes of a small, demographically unrepresentative slice of America gobble up too much airtime–are basically correct. As David Sirota noted in Salon (1/3/12): The same journalism industry that pleads poverty to justify cutting big city newspapers' editorial staffs, gutting coverage of state legislatures and city councils, and eliminating every other critical topic not related to Washington's red-versus-blue fetish from news content–as writer Joe Romero recounts, this same industry has for months devoted a massive army to cover Iowa's small contest. Just one example of the absurdity: At least one of Rick Santorum's […]

Dec
07
2011

Republicans and the Hezbollah-in-Mexico Menace

Political campaign watchers seem to agree that the election will be about the economy, and that Republicans probably won't have much to say about Obama's foreign policy (partly because it doesn't much differ from what a Republican president might be doing). The New York Times' Richard Oppel has a piece today headlined, "Republican Candidates Aim at Obama Foreign Policy." So what exactly is the Republican case against Obama's foreign policy? That it's too soft on the Hezbollah menace on our southern border. Seriously. Oppel writes: A small but revealing episode unfolded in the closing minutes of the last Republican presidential […]

Jun
07
2011

Ron Paul Gets Covered in the New York Times

In the New York Times corrections box (6/7/11): An article on Monday about Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, omitted the name of one of the other declared candidates, who number six, not five. Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, is also running. One of the main tasks the media perform in a campaign is excluding the candidates they deem unworthy of consideration. The Times is off to an early start.

Aug
03
2009

Philly Honduras Coverage 'Not Based in Facts'

Philadelphia Weekly intern and Prometheus Radio Project volunteer Alyssa Figueroa has produced an excellent document of local media activists taking on global news coverage in her video showing how "nearly 100 people marched to the Philadelphia Inquirer's office demanding the paper publish more factual pieces about the coup in Honduras." PW tells us (7/30/09) that the marchers believed that the Inquirer's coverage of the coup has been dishonest and irresponsible, especially citing former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum's op-ed, which they thought to be not based in facts. Participants marched from the Central Library to the Inquirer's office after attending an […]

May
20
2009

You Don't Get 'Thoughtful Conversation' From an Advocate for War Crimes

Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed columnist Harold Jackson (5/20/09) writes that most of those who have criticized his paper for hiring of pro-torture lawyer John Yoo as his colleague "have their facts wrong." After making a gratuitous swipe at bloggers ("who never let the facts get in the way when they're trying to whip people into a frenzy to boost website hits"), Jackson gets down to specifics: "To set the record straight, no one tried to hide Yoo's becoming a regular columnist," he declares. If that's the case, why isn't Yoo listed on the Inquirer's website along with its other regular columnists? […]