One laudable practice at National Public Radio is reading listener reactions on the air. On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, they noted several listeners objected to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik stating Fox offered "voracious conservatism" while MSNBC merely offered "leftward tilt." Anchor Michelle Norris relayed:

The Pew Research Center last year found that public trust in the media was at an historic low because of those perceived slants. Well, several listeners thought our story had a bit of a slant. Stan Henney of Longmont, Colorado, writes: The reporter described Fox News as voraciously conservative, and MSNBC as tilting to the left. Both are subjective, not objective descriptions. I personally think that while some Fox personalities can be aggressive, MSNBC does a lot more than just tilt.

ABCauditButton0410Update: The well-publicized announcement that Editor & Publisher was going to "cease operations" last December and that was stated as a given in the original version of this post was apparently premature, as it's still there on the web. E&P is also covering the circulation news (daily; Sunday; HT to a BizzyBlog commenter).

Advertising Age (AA) had the unenviable task (given that it's supposed to stay on its vendors' and customers' good sides) of figuring out a way to cast yet another dreadful newspaper circulation report in a non-negative light. The educated guess here is that most newspaper execs are not going to be wearing the button pictured at the top right very frequently during the foreseeable future.

Here are the figures cited by AA as overall newspaper circulation declines during the past five six-month ABC reporting periods (percentages represent declines from the same six-month period of the previous year) --

March 31, 2010: - 8.7% daily, -6.5% Sunday
September 30, 2009: -10.6% daily, -7.5% Sunday
March 31, 2009: - 7.1% daily, -5.4% Sunday
September 30, 2008: -4.6% daily, -4.9% Sunday
March 31, 2008: - 3.6% daily, -4.6% Sunday

Given the results, here is AA's headline, sub-headline, and "hey, it's not really that bad" first sentence:

Headlines can be an excellent window into the biases, albeit sometimes subtle, of editors. An AP story about a gun rights case, McDonald v. Chicago, challenging the Windy City's handgun ban before the Supreme Court today is one such example.

"High court looks at reach of Second Amendment" reads the headline the Associated Press assigned its story by Mark Sherman.

The AP's headline is pretty straightforward and unbiased. As Sherman reported in his story, the controversy in question is whether the ruling in Heller extends to the states or if the ruling only forbids the federal and D.C. governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.

Yet at least two media outlets picking up on Sherman's story opted for more loaded headlines.

newspaper_X_225It's a variation on the old riddle, "What's black and white, but read all over?"

If you change one word and add two others, the answer to the resulting question -- "What's still mostly black and white, but red all over?" -- would be, based on just-released information about their daily circulation, "all but one of the nation's top 25 newspapers turning in comparative numbers."

The figures come from the newspaper industry's Audit Board of Circulations (ABC), and cover the April-September 2009 time period.

Here are a few paragraphs from Michael Liedtke's coverage of the carnage at the Associated Press, which depends largely on newspaper subscription fees for its lifeblood. Note the "so far" reference in Liedtke's third paragraph:

Sarah Palin hasn't had it as tough as Hillary Clinton and at her Friday announcement Palin “came across as petty and vindictive. Richard Nixon without the policy knowledge or the experience,” Washington, DC-based Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Cynthia Tucker contended during the roundtable on Sunday's This Week on ABC. Both George Stephanopoulos and George Will pointed out, that after Nixon said “you won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore,” he came back and won the presidency twice.

Tucker, who oversaw the paper's editorial page from the early 1990s through last month and won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, charged: “If Sarah Palin thinks that she's had it tougher than anybody else, she's been more harshly criticized, I have for two words for her: Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton was savaged for eight years.”

On Sunday’s This Week roundtable, ABC national correspondent Claire Shipman tried to argue that it would be “very hard” for Republicans to label Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a liberal. “When you look at Sotomayor's record and look at the cases, it's very hard for people to make the case that she's a typical, you know, elite liberal judicial philosopher,” Shipman declared.

That was too much even for liberal columnist Cynthia Tucker, who is currently the editorial page editor of the Atlantic Journal-Constitution but will this summer move to Washington as the paper’s D.C.-based political columnist. “She is certainly liberal, she’s called herself liberal,” Tucker informed Shipman, but agreed that Sotomayor is “nobody’s knee-jerk radical.”


From Editor & Publisher yesterday (bold is mine):

The Audit Bureau of Circulations released this morning the spring figures for the six months ending March 31, 2009, showing that the largest metros continue to shed daily and Sunday circulation -- now at a record rate.

According to ABC, for 395 newspapers reporting this spring, daily circulation fell 7% to 34,439,713 copies, compared with the same March period in 2008. On Sunday, for 557 newspapers, circulation was down 5.3% to 42,082,707. These averages do not include 84 newspapers with circulations below 50,000 due to a change in publishing frequency.

Below is a chart showing the specifics for the top 25, including percentage losses for the past four years and during the past year (current year source: Editor & Publisher):

For years, liberals argued that it was absurd to argue the media had a liberal bias when Washington was dominated by Republican majorities. But now, when Washington is dominated by the Democrats, some are still clinging to the odd notion that the media "bends over backwards" against the liberal-bias charge and coddles conservatives.

In the midst of plummeting ad revenues, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has responded to reader feedback concerning its liberal bias by looking to add a full-time conservative columnist while promising to do a better job of making sure its news pieces are fairer.

Better late than never.

Such was announced Saturday by the paper's editor Julia Wallace:

Susan Crawford's recent assertions of torture simply do not add up, and your main stream media isn't going to investigate anytime soon.  Had Crawford made an assertion that there was unequivocally no torture to speak of at Guantanamo, the media would be sifting meticulously through her statements with a fine-toothed comb, smearing her reputation at every turn.  Instead, her arguments seemingly confirm what the leftist media has long assumed - that our government has condoned torture tactics - and because of that, everything is taken at face value.

Crawford recently told Bob Woodward of the Washington Post that: 

"We tortured (Mohammed al-) Qahtani.  His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

The basic premise of this story however, had apparently been completely refuted in retrospect, back in February of 2008.  By whom?  Why, the Washington Post.

On February 12th, 2008, the Post printed an article titled:

U.S. to Try 6 on Capital Charges Over 9/11 Attacks

New Evidence Gained Without Coercive Tactics

You read that correctly, the staff writers went out of their way to inform the public that the evidence against the 9/11 conspirators was ‘gained without coercive tactics.'

Former Congressloon Cynthia McKinney

Urgent:  Update Below the Fold!

CNN, as is their typical style, has ignored facts and reality when reporting an incident involving an encounter with a Gaza relief boat, and an Israeli patrol boat. 

Karl Penhaul, a CNN correspondent aboard the pleasure yacht known as Dignity, and frequently on the wrong side of an issue, was pretty much allowed carte blanche in recalling the incident -- an incident which was as much publicity stunt for the so-called Free Gaza Group and former Congressnut Cynthia McKinney, as it was peacekeeping mission -- while the report simultaneously shrugged off the Israeli point of view. 

The presentation clearly wants you to believe that the Israeli boat was hostile and went well out of their way to attack the ‘peaceful' minded vessel.  In reality though, it was nothing more than a typical group of protestors who use the word ‘peaceful' as a security blanket in their malicious efforts to defy authority, whether it be the authority of the United States government, or in this case, the Israeli navy. 

A report via the Atlanta Journal Constitution (H/T Michelle Malkin) indicates the pre-determined goal of the mission (emphasis mine throughout):

Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is a high-profile member of a boatload of activists that set sail Monday from Cyprus to deliver medicine to war-torn Gaza...

Climate alarmists won't have Miles O'Brien to spread global warming hysteria on CNN anymore as the network has decided to eliminate its science and technology unit.

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday, this "will result in the loss of seven jobs including veteran space correspondent Miles O’Brien."

Apparently, this isn't a cost-cutting move (h/t Chris Horner):