Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Day in the Life of the N&O

Some real gems in the N&O today:

1. The paper runs an AP story about former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark defending Saddam, but fails to mention Clark's political affiliation (Dem.). Yet all reports of Duke Cunningham's misdeeds carry his political affiliation (Rep.).

2. The main header on the business page is "Nation basks in rosy data," but the subheader reads "Next year is not expected to be better," and the majority of the article (from the NYT) spins the economic situation as negatively as possible.

Now I am all for the "things are good but may go bad" angle of reporting as long as it is backed up by some data. But why didn't the MSM run "things are bad but may turn good" articles about the economy leading up to the 2004 elections? Every day they trumpeted the talking points of the Kerry campaign (x jobs lost in y years - worst than Herbert Hoover, etc.) without mentioning the many economists who saw signs of the rebound that in fact started before the election.

3. The N&O also runs an LA Times piece on a program by the U.S. military to pay the fledging Iraqi press to run articles favorable to the U.S. effort and trumpeting freedom, democracy and prosperity. I think this is a great idea in the short term, but I was amused by this: "Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists." The article goes on to claim that these news accounts are in fact not unbiased.

Well, that description pretty much sums up the state of the MSM as well. They hold to the claim that articles are unbiased when even a casual reader can sniff out liberal bias daily. If you gave me a choice between reading the LA Times/NY Times/N&O to try to find out what is going on in Iraq, vs. reading a small Iraqi paper that runs some articles placed by members of the U.S. military Information Operations units, I would read the latter.