Watchdog Blog

Archive for May, 2007

Gilbert Cranberg: Add Supplemental Wires, with Their Valuable Content, to the List of Cutbacks

You read all about it in Romenesko or the trade press when news organizations cut staff. Sometimes the general public hears about it from the news organization itself. Economize, though, by canceling a supplemental wire service, say the New York Times News Service or Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, and seldom is attention called [...]

Morton Mintz: Child Soldiering: an Ongoing Form of Abuse

What is “[p]ossibly the world’s most unrecognized form of child abuse”? It’s child soldiering, “[t]his horrifying new face of armed conflict.” Does the United States oppose or aid and abet it? And are there reporters out there who will ask questions about what has “become a defining feature of modern warfare”? The answers to the [...]

Mary C. Curtis: The Republican Candidates and Jack Bauer

Was it wishful thinking, naivete or utter cluelessness? There’s no denying that during last week’s debate of Republican candidates in Columbia the needle on the applause-o-meter went wild at the mention of Jack Bauer. Bauer was U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s go-to guy when confronted by debate moderators with a hypothetical terrorist attack on the country. [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Online May Be the Future, but What About Me?

Snip, snip, snip….That’s my scissors clipping more evidence of my daily paper’s service to its non-paying online readers. One of the clips calls attention to ideas for Mother’s Day, another to a Harry Potter blog, another to a column on postage changes, another to new businesses in town, and still another to fallout from higher [...]

Saul Friedman: The Unasked Questions

Ten more young Americans died in Iraq on Mother’s Day weekend (not counting the three who were captured by insurgents), bringing the total dead so far to a new mark, 3,400. It was grim grim news for moms, and dads and the dozens of folks who were touched by these lives and their deaths. The [...]

Saul Friedman: Reminder to the Press: Reagan’s Real Legacy

Every reporter and commentator who covered the recent Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Library recorded how the candidates competed to wrap themselves in the Reagan legacy, without giving real thought to what it was. But most of the reporters knew or remembered little of the Reagan presidency. They should have done their homework, the [...]

Morton Mintz: Reporting on Shock-Talk and Other Smut

Cheers to the New York Times for assigning a 13-person team to screen nearly 250 hours of broadcasting of what it politely called “shock-talk radio,” but what could instead fairly be labeled broadcasting by hate-breeding motor-mouths who give vileness a bad name. I won’t recycle here the repugnancies the team found by listening five weekdays [...]

Saul Friedman: In stories about Bush’s veto, the hoo-ha graf was missing

Whatever happened to the second paragraph, or the third, the one in which the reporter explains what the story is really about? It’s not necessary, you know, to let a politician’s assertion or anyone’s quote go without comment, without saying what the facts are. In one Washington bureau where I spent my time, the bureau [...]