With Bush giving a press conference about the war in Iraq, Thursday wasn't exactly a slow news day. Yet the New York Times found room on Friday's front page for Winnie Hu's story about American Indian lacrosse players, "American Indians Widen Old Outlet In Youth Lacrosse." Meanwhile, readers got to watch political correctness trump the paper's corporate-line feminism.
So let's see, a Democratic former North Carolina state House Speaker gets sentenced to prison for five years and fined $50,000 for bribery. The Associated Press covers the story and doesn't give readers his party affiliation until the 6th paragraph.
But a Florida Republican state legislator is only arrested for solicitation of oral sex from an undercover male police officer, and his party affiliation is rendered in the second paragraph of the AP story.
That doesn't seem to square with the AP Stylebook, which says party affiliation mention should be tested by relevance to the story and that in some stories "[p]arty affiliation is pointless."
Unless there's some bias there. Perish the thought.
July 11, the AP wrote that former NC state House Speaker Jim Black was sentenced to five years for “taking cash to promote chiropractors,” but the writer forgot to mention until the sixth paragraph that Black is a Democrat.
We've seen the phenomena of the media forgetting to identify political parties when a Democrat is portrayed negatively and at times, when a Republican is portrayed positively, as during Rep. William Jefferson's (D-LA) corruption and bribery scandal. Conversely, an AP article about Sen. David Vitter's (R-LA) link to the “D.C. Madam” included his party in the first four words.
Since everyone doesn't read every article, it's important to pack the major facts into the initial paragraphs. The first several paragraphs offered many perfect spots to disclose Black's party, but they were not used. Also, the seriousness and details of the charges were minimized by vague descriptions. Between the vagueness of the charges and the lack of identification, the reader is left with questions (emphasis mine throughout):
In the New York Times' version of the gossip pages (the Sunday Styles section), reporter Susan Saulny injects a novel Democratic talking point into the potential candidacy of Republican Fred Thompson -- one involving his wife, in "Will Her Face Determine His Fortune?"
Many know by now that Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles has admitted to a lengthy affair with a television reporter. So, what do you call an extremely thoughtful, well-written commentary that suggests that the mayor uphold his wedding vows, immediately end his affair, repent for his actions, and work to restore the relationships between his wife and his children?
Michael Yon doesn't have an answer (HT to NewsBuster reader "acumen") as to why Old Media won't cover the Al Qaeda massacre of a small village near Baqubah, Iraq that he reported earlier this week (related NewsBusters posts are here and here):
Coordinates to the area of the gravesites are MC 679 381.
In my dispatch, I reported that six people were killed, but mentioned that Iraqi soldiers were still digging out bodies when I left. A few hours ago, Colonel Hiduit put the number at 10-14, and said the search for bodies had ended. I made video of the graves, bodies and of interviews with Iraqi and American soldiers while we still were at the scene and have been working to make material from this available on this website.
..... But for those publications who actually had people embedded in Baqubah when the story first broke and still failed to cover it, their malaise is inexplicable. I do not know why all failed to report the murders and booby-trapped village: apparently no reporters bothered to go out there, even though it’s only about 3.5 miles from this base. Any one of the reporters currently in Baqubah could still go to these coordinates and follow his or her nose and find the gravesites.
It’s a good thing none of her interviewers pretended
The following was submitted by Jason Aslinger, a private practice attorney in Greenville, Ohio. Portions in bold below are the added emphasized of NB managing editor Ken Shepherd. It's a long post but it's worth the read:
In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision regarding racial integration in public schools, the media have gone out of their way to obscure the facts for the purpose of advancing its familiar political agenda, not to mention skipped over giving readers a glimpse of the concurring opinions of Justices Thomas and Kennedy, both of which shed light on the case's significance to the average American.In a prior NewsBusters post, I called out MSNBC's Keith Olbermann for his false and race-baiting claim that the Supreme Court had “overturned” the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The subsequent commentary by the media has at least been more clever, but no less false. Undoubtedly, the press and “expert commentators” have calculated that the general public would not check their factual (and political) conclusions by reading the Court’s 185-page opinion. Without knowing the specific facts, the media distortions can not be fully appreciated. Below we'll take a look at the facts of the case as well as the reasoning from the justices, reasoning that all too often is glossed over if not outright ignored in the media.
There are two Americas.
(WARNING: Link contains graphic and unsettling pictures) Michael Yon reported a massacre committed by Al Qaeda that wiped out a village on the outskirts of Baqubah, Iraq just after midnight on July 1.
Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion had this to say yesterday in reaction:
If American media fails to cover this with the same amount of gusto that they have pursued Haditha and Abu Ghraib, they will be demonstrating their preference for whom they wish to win this conflict. The press has to tell the story that evil really does exist in this world. Imagine if the story of the Holocaust was never told because the media was only interested in reporting Allied atrocities. Yes, by failing to treat this war objectively, the media does indeed enable massacres such as this one and history will judge the coverage of this war very harshly.
There has been a massacre of innocent civilians in Iraq. An entire village of Iraqis were murdered and buried in a mass grave. The dead included women and children. The murderers even slaughtered the animals in the village. From the state of the surroundings it was obvious that this was a deliberate act - maybe brought on by rage of the death of a comrade or just the overwhelming pressure of fighting in a war zone.