Monday, February 21, 2011

More he said/she said reporting by the NYT

An image of John Boehner at the AT&T National golf tournament, July 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)The NY Times has done it again, missing a great opportunity to provide some real analysis of the recent House vote to cut spending and push toward a government shut down.

In today's story As Republicans See a Mandate on Budget Cuts, Others See Risk, Adam Nagourney and David M. Herszenhorn interview current or former Congressmen and one pollster. This he said/she said kind of reporting is lazy, wasteful and only provides predictable results. I won't blame this entirely on the reporters, as this could have been exactly what the editors assigned. I will take them all to task, however, for not fulfilling their responsibilities as members of the nation's paper of record.

The story begins with an assertion that can pretty much be seen as an attempt to defray the calls of liberal bias from the Foxinistas.
In Congress and in statehouses, Republican lawmakers and governors are claiming a broad mandate from last year’s elections as they embark on an aggressive campaign of cutting government spending and taking on public unions. Their agenda echoes in its ambition what President Obama and Democrats tried after winning office in their own electoral wave in 2008.
This assertion equating the GOP's vote - a thinly veiled attack on the poor - with President Obama's effort to provide health insurance for all Americans is ludicrous at best. The story only supports this with comments from a Republican senator. Well, what do you expect them to say?

How about talking to some political analysts, professors, or even former Congresspersons who have turned their backs on partisanship. If you only talk to people with partisan axes to grind, all you're going to do is get cutting remarks that get the reader no closer to the truth.

That's what I thought what being a newsman was all about, seeking the truth and trying to make sense of big decisions to better inform citizens.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

There they go again...

From the NY TimesOnce again, The NY Times is falling for the Republican line, this time on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Whether it's because of the bias of the reporter or the all-too-often inclination for newspaper editors/reporters to bend over too far to appear objective, the result is a biased position that is poorly sourced and supported.

In the story - In Detainee Furor, a Rare Stumble by Speaker Pelosi - Timesman Carl Hulse frames the story as a score by the right-wing machine, instead of the he said/she said situation that it clearly is. If the predicament is any more than this, his story doesn't support it. He has CIA Director Leon Panetta and Republicans saying she was briefed about the illegal torture methods in 2002, and Pelosi saying she wasn't. But the story provides no evidence for the reader to decide which side is telling the truth. None of the sources are even quoted saying what shows them on the papers they're looking at that indicates specific torture methods were outlined. It's all vague spy speak.

So, why is this a front page story? I guess this is what passes for investigative journalism these days at the Times. They can't meet their profit margins and seek the whole truth anymore. If the nation's paper of record can't do it, how can we expect other news organizations to do what is needed?

The Times has once again lost the bigger picture. This latest "story" has only added to the Republican smoke screen about lying to the American people about the war in Iraq and the atrocities committed there. And the Republicans - aided by the Times - wants to talk about allegations that a Congresswoman lied about whether the Bush administration lied to her? WTF!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

McClatchy CEO Less Than Convincing...Again

Gary Pruitt, CEO of McClatchy, the second-largest newspaper corporation in America, tried to boost morale among workers at his struggling company in a video (reported by Editor and Publisher). He said the chain needs to make what amounts to cuts of another $500 million - after a year of $800 million in "debt payments" - and that the company may not have reached bottom. "At this point we simply can't tell when this decline will end," he said.

Not exactly reassuring from an executive who took more than $10 million in compensation the past two years. I guess he can afford to be cheery: he's doing great. And if he drives the company into the ground and get canned by the board, he'll do even better with an even larger compensation send off.

Pruitt insists his company would still be in the same "downturn" if they hadn't purchased the larger Knight Ridder Corporation a few years back. Maybe his company would be, but the papers he acquired wouldn't be as bad off. Granted, the industry is definitely facing declining earnings, but many of the former KR papers wouldn't be facing the same level of cutbacks on their own. Some of them were making pretty good money before McClatchy came to town. I know; I used to work at one.

Yes, Pruitt's compensation is a drop in the big bucket leaking millions, but tell that to the workers in the newsrooms and pressrooms who are struggling on meager pay. Pruitt can make these claimes on video, but I dare him to step into a newsroom with "You Can't Always Get What You Want" playing in the backround.