May 18, 2010

Comedy Gold: In Story on Campbell Brown’s Departure, AP Report Cites CNN’s ‘Effort to Be Unbiased’

CNN-CB-BrownGive Campbell Brown credit. Unlike many of her colleagues, who from all appearances will have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from their microphones once their networks can no longer afford to subsidize their dwindling audiences, Brown recognizes that she’s in a business that has to make money.

Brown’s evening CNN show has consistently failed to reach enough viewers to justify itself, and she concluded that there was no realistic hope of recovery. So, unlike a certain CBS Evening News anchor, Campbell Brown is doing the honorable thing, and resigning. She has told the network to find someone who might perform better.

Meanwhile, give the Associated Press piles of demerits. Its brief story on Brown’s departure contained a final-paragraph howler about network’s news posture that must be read to be believed (link is dynamic and may change over time; full AP item is presented below for fair use, discussion, and embarrassment purposes):

APonCampbellBrownResignation051810

For what it’s worth, Brown outdrew Larry King in the 25-54 demographic on Monday, May 17 by 108,000 to 90,000.

Care to take a hint, Larry?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Treatment of Souder Resignation Illustrates AP and NYT’s Double Standards on Party Identification

Souder NameThatParty SpitzerAP0309Today, the Associated Press generally did what is supposed to do when reporting on scandal-plagued politicians.

Here are the first five paragraphs of the AP’s brief report on Indiana Congressman Mark Souder’s resignation announcement (link is dynamic and will probably be updated; “where’s the worst one we can find?” picture of Souder at right is via AP):

APonSouder051810

Here’s the opening of the coverage at the New York Times’s Caucus Blog (also subject to possible updates):

NYTcaucusBlogOnSouder051810

That’s fine. AP and the Times generally handled this one as it should be handled, and as readers would want to see it handled (readers should be advised that subsequent revisions to the above items may see journalistic decay in other aspects).

If only the wire service and Old Gray Lady were consistent.

The trouble is, so many previous AP and New York Times dispatches fail to directly identify the resigning politician’s party, or wait until very late paragraphs until doing so. Here is a small sampling of many examples:

  • Higher up the political food chain, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in the wake of getting caught using the services of high-priced prostitutes, this March 12, 2008 AP report did not identify Spitzer’s party until the 35th paragraph (that’s not a typo). The New York Times’s Michael Grynbaum only tagged Spitzer as a convention “superdelegate” for his party in his 1,300-word report’s 16th paragraph.
  • At a parallel level, there’s this AP “classic” on the indictment of Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana, where the wire service’s Lara Jakes Jordan and Matthew Barakat never specifically identified Jefferson’s party, but only cryptically did so by mentioning the party of affiliation of Nancy Pelosi (even so, Pelosi was in charge of the entire House at the time, so that’s not even a crystal clear tip-off). The Times report on Jefferson’s indictment was uncharacteristically good, naming Jefferson’s party right away.
  • Concerning former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s conviction and resignation, this September 4, 2008 AP report waited until Paragraph 8 to identify his party. A 500-word synopsis of the sordid Kilpatrick saga at the New York Times does not mention Kilpatrick’s party, nor, as noted previously in a separate post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), do the vast majority of the Times dispatches underlying it.

The difference, of course, is that Spitzer, Jefferson, and Kilpatrick are Democrats.

Finally, here’s an interesting comeback argument that might come from those who claim yours truly is being selective by ignoring recently resigned New York Democrat Eric Massa.

After all, the argument might run, the AP’s Laurie Kellman identified Massa as a Democrat in the very first sentence of her report, as did a pair of New York Times reporters in their coverage. Why?

Well, as the Time intimated, Massa was “outspoken.” The AP’s Kellman was much more specific, almost to the point of doing an end-zone dance: “His departure is good news for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s effort to advance a troubled health care overhaul. Massa had voted against it. His departure reduces the majority she needs for passage to 216.”

The Times and especially the AP wanted to make sure readers knew that Massa was really a “bad Democrat” — not in his conduct, but in some of his key political stances, particularly on the Holy Grail of statist health care. It appears that from their perspective, the party was ideologically purified by Massa’s departure.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

This One They Can’t Blame on George Bush

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:57 am

Oh of course they’ll try anyway. As noted yesterday, it’s what they do.

A Wall Street Journal editorial this morning dissects a serious diplomatic botch. The nation’s lapdog press establishment will ignore this, or dress it is up some way, but the real result is that our country and our allies are less safe:

Iran’s Nuclear Coup
Ahmadinejad and Lula expose Obama’s hapless diplomacy.

What a fiasco. That’s the first word that comes to mind watching Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raise his arms yesterday with the leaders of Turkey and Brazil to celebrate a new atomic pact that instantly made irrelevant 16 months of President Obama’s “diplomacy.” The deal is a political coup for Tehran and possibly delivers the coup de grace to the West’s half-hearted efforts to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.

Full credit for this debacle goes to the Obama Administration and its hapless diplomatic strategy. Last October, nine months into its engagement with Tehran, the White House concocted a plan to transfer some of Iran’s uranium stock abroad for enrichment. If the West couldn’t stop Iran’s program, the thinking was that maybe this scheme would delay it. The Iranians played coy, then refused to accept the offer.

But Mr. Obama doesn’t take no for an answer from rogue regimes, and so he kept the offer on the table. As the U.S. finally seemed ready to go to the U.N. Security Council for more sanctions, the Iranians chose yesterday to accept the deal on their own limited terms while enlisting the Brazilians and Turks as enablers and political shields.

… Under the terms unveiled yesterday, Iran said it would send 1,200 kilograms (2,646 lbs.) of low-enriched uranium to Turkey within a month, and no more than a year later get back 120 kilograms enriched from somewhere else abroad. This makes even less sense than the flawed October deal. In the intervening seven months, Iran has kicked its enrichment activities into higher gear. Its estimated total stock has gone to 2,300 kilograms from 1,500 kilograms last autumn, and its stated enrichment goal has gone to 20% from 3.5%.

If the West accepts this deal, Iran would be allowed to keep enriching uranium in contravention of previous U.N. resolutions. Removing 1,200 kilograms will leave Iran with still enough low-enriched stock to make a bomb, and once uranium is enriched up to 20% it is technically easier to get to bomb-capable enrichment levels.

Only last week, diplomats at the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran has increased the number of centrifuges it is using to enrich uranium. According to Western intelligence estimates, Iran continues to acquire key nuclear components, such as trigger mechanisms for bombs. Tehran says it wants to build additional uranium enrichment plants. The CIA recently reported that Iran tripled its stockpile of uranium last year and moved “toward self-sufficiency in the production of nuclear missiles.” Yesterday’s deal will have no impact on these illicit activities.

The deal will, however, make it nearly impossible to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program short of military action.

… The U.N. is certainly a dead end. After 16 months of his extended hand and after downplaying support for Iran’s democratic opposition, Mr. Obama now faces an Iran much closer to a bomb and less diplomatically isolated than when President Bush left office.

Israel will have to seriously consider its military options. …

The “downplaying support for Iran’s democratic opposition” is an especially disgraceful (see “Related” items below). This administration will focus more energy on a state like Arizona doing something to protect itself from federal folly than it will to support freedom fighters with a chance of upending the civilized world’s most immediate threat.

Now the threat is even more immediate.

Heckuva job, Barry … and Hillary.

_________________________________________________

Related:

  • Oct. 6, 2009, at BizzyBlog — State Dept. Pulls Funding From Iran Human Rights Watchdog Despite Tehran’s Vulnerability
  • Aug. 21, at BizzyBlog – That ‘Engagement’ Thing With Iran Hasn’t Worked Out So Well
  • July 11, 2009, from Andy McCarthy at National Review — “Obama Frees Iranian Terror Masters”
  • July 5, 2009, at BizzyBlog – Tech’s Repressive Dark Side Threatens Us All
  • June 27, 2009, from Jose Maria Aznar in the Wall Street Journal — “Silence Has Consequences for Iran; The less we protest, the more people will die.”
  • On June 20, 2009, Victor Davis Hanson asked, “Does not Obama see that the world has been given a rare chance, thanks to brave Iranians—as if the German people had risen up in 1938 in fear of what was on the horizon?”
  • On June 16, 2009, yours truly said this in a “Roundup” post — “It has become downright embarrassing watching this administration dither and fumble around trying to figure out how to react straightforwardly to humanity’s cry for freedom and representative government in Iran.”