Watchdog Blog

Archive for the 'News Industry' Category

Herb Strentz: Iowa as the Center of the Political Universe

DES MOINES – Everyone wants a turn in the spotlight. Small states and smaller towns in particular position themselves as, say, the World’s Sock Capital (Fort Payne, AL), Artichoke Capital (Castroville, CA) Paddlefish Capital (Fort Thompson, SD). Indeed, you could excite spouse and family by saying next year’s vacation will be to world capitals. Even [...]

Herb Strentz: Why Not a Few Golds for NBC

For all the brickbats tossed NBC’s way for its tape-delayed coverage of Olympic highlights, there certainly were a few gold medals for the network to deservedly sink its teeth into — in the cliché shot that photographers demand . This assessment comes with some caveats and idiosyncrasies in that (a) I did not faithfully attend [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Ethics for Newspaper Owners, with Buffett as Teacher?

When Warren Buffett invests, investors pay attention. So when the Oracle of Omaha recently put his Berkshire Hathaway money into newspapers, it was bound to cause others to take a second look at this neglected financial sector. And a good thing, too. Newspapers are too important to the health of communities for them to be [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: An Apology is Still Needed for the Run-up Coverage

Colin Powell’s latest book, clumsily titled, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership, confesses to “one of my momentous failures.” The failure: his Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the United Nations urging war against Iraq. That speech, he belatedly admits, was heavily larded with falsehoods. Public opinion was divided about the advisability of war [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Why No Correction from The Today Show?

Thank you, David Carr, of The New York Times, for clarifying for me how I got the idea that race had figured in the fatal encounter between George Zimmerman and his victim, Trayvon Martin. I must have gotten the idea through the process of osmosis that comes into play when a major news organization broadcasts [...]

Herb Strentz: Is It Me, or Is the Gray Lady Getting Younger?

Apparently, the New York Times has not heard that newspapers today are dead or dying. Or maybe the Times benefits from comparison because so many newspapers are in decline today — not a surprising outcome when loyalty to readers is outweighed by fealty to share holders and bondage to Wall Street analysts and predictions on [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: No Pulitzer for Editorials? I’m Used to That.

The Pulitzer judges who decided that no work of fiction was worthy of a prize this year generated a torrent of comment about the snub. The judges also deemed that no entry for editorial writing met its standard, but the lack of an award in that category drew no comparable reaction, perhaps because editorial writers, [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: A Little More Focus on the Low Turnouts, Please

My local paper informed me Feb. 8 that Rick Santorum was the top vote-getter in Minnesota, capturing 45 per cent of the votes cast in the state’s Republican presidential caucuses. But 45 percent of what? Finding out basic information about the contest was a day-long task. A Google search yielded nothing about the number of [...]

Dan Froomkin: What Politifact Should Do Now

Yesterday, I sent an email to Politifact editor Bill Adair, expressing my horror over his group’s decision to designate “Republicans voted to kill Medicare” as the “lie of the year.” (See, for an exegesis of that misbegotten choice, Steve Benen, Paul Krugman, Jamison Foser, Charles Pierce, Jason Linkins, et. al.) “Take it back quickly and [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The Iraq War, Colin Powell, and the Press

No retrospective on the Iraq war would be complete without reference to the part played by Colin Powell in convincing the country to go to war. Public opinion about the war was lukewarm until Powell spoke at the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003. He gave such a boffo performance, complete with convincing visual aids, [...]