Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
June 2017
« May    

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Fight Media Bias


Iowa Rapid Response Action

First responders to biased, imbalanced or factually inaccurate media coverage

Iowans for Better Local TV


FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
FAIR is a national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship

Free Press

News Corpse

Prometheus Radio Project

Radio for People

Save the Internet

Save the News

Posts Tagged ‘Media Bias’

From The Terrorism Alert Desk

Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2017 issue of  The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter,  funded entirely by reader subscription,  and available only in hard copy for $12/yr.  Send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244.

Sorry, we don’t mean to alarm you. Or do we?

In Erik Larsen’s The Garden of Beasts, Hitler’s administration in 1933 is described as making “a deliberate effort to generate a kind of daily suspense.”

Sinclair Broadcasting is doing its best to do the same in 2017.

For PP readers who still monitor local network news shows on old-fashioned television, Sinclair’s KGAN station out of Cedar Rapids offers a strange “news” feature three times a week. Just before a commercial break, usually following an everyday story about a nursing home being investigated or a neighborhood raising money for a child’s surgery, an attractive moderator suddenly appears in a brightly-colored studio as the words From the Terrorism Desk in Washington DC are sternly spoken off-camera. The moderator, white and well-dressed, then delivers “news” of dangers from afar.

The news is generally not as urgent or as relevant as the nursing home, the ill child, the housing development, the flood mitigation project, or the shooting on the edge of town, but it generates a kind of daily suspense. “ISIS attack kills three.” “US considers sending more forces to Afghanistan.” “French police arrest suspect in cafe bombing.” “A final assault on Mosul is planned for sometime this summer.”

After three or four similar squibs, accompanied by grainy footage of brown-skinned machine-gunners and grenade throwers against a backdrop of smoking rubble, we…cut to a commercial, and breathe again.

What the hell just happened? Well, it happens regularly on Sinclair-owned stations all across our frightened land. If Sinclair’s merger with Tribune Media is approved, this subtle fear-mongering — hidden in plain sight — will appear on over 200 stations, spanning most major TV markets and reaching about one-third of American homes.

It’s hard to know what the average viewer of KGAN-Channel 2 in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area thinks when seeing a polished anchor person at a polished desk recite ominous bulletins from distant shores. The segments fit seamlessly into the rest of the evening news. They appear to a part of the regular local broadcast. They are not.

Just as Hitler intentionally kept the populace in a permanent state of emergency (and as Trump keeps the general citizenry in perpetual anxiety), so does Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting, and mainstream outlets like CNN, endlessly repeating scenes of blood and panic, milking our emotions, continuing the coverage long after the event occurs. When the people are fearful, the terrorists have won. And so has Sinclair.

The Sinclair merger-acquisition will be well worth the price tag of $3.9 billion. The company will add WHO and QWAD to its Iowa roster of KGAN, KDSM, and KTVO, and establish a presence in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City as it challenges Fox News for nation-wide right-wing hegemony. And have money left over to hire Bill O’Reilly.

Prairie Progressive readers should contact Sinclair at www.sbgi. net/contact or call their national headquarters in Baltimore at 410-568-1500. Tell them you don’t need a phony desk to alert you to the nearly non-existent threat of foreign terrorists in your daily life. We already have enough suspense.

Prairie Dog

–Prairie Dog


Hillary And The Narrative

Hillary Clinton Walking to the Stage at S.T. Morrison Park, Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3, 2015

Hillary Clinton Walking to the Stage at S.T. Morrison Park, Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3, 2015

CORALVILLE — Hillary Clinton held a town hall meeting in S.T. Morrison Park on Tuesday with more than 500 people in attendance, according to event organizers.

After a brief speech, she called on audience members, taking 13 questions covering a wide range of international and domestic issues.

Her command of the current political scene and experience with politics at the highest level was on display. For the wonkier among us the exchange was welcome.

If voters could set aside preconceptions formed since Clinton was first lady of Arkansas, she would be the clear choice to lead our country for four or eight years. Whether caucus goers will give her that chance remains uncertain despite her continuous lead in the polls since she declared her candidacy April 12. Supporters I spoke with in queue to enter the seating area seemed likely to turn out for her despite minor grievances with Clinton and her campaign.

Johnson County is the strongest liberal center in Iowa, and according to New York Times correspondent Amy Chozik, “Sanders Country.” Her narrative is as follows:

On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton plans to answer Iowans’ questions at two town-hall-style events in Coralville, near Iowa City, and Grinnell, another university town. Both are known as Bernie Sanders country because of the devoted liberal college students who have been intrigued by his candidacy, but Mrs. Clinton, feeling emboldened, will seek to make inroads in the areas to talk about her plans to lift middle-class incomes.

The trouble is the narrative doesn’t reflect the complexity of the community. As John Deeth pointed out, Johnson County is different from the rest of Iowa. That difference is not only in its presidential politics, and the role of the student vote, but in Iowa City ballot initiatives like the 21 Bar Referendum; thrice failed county-wide efforts to gain approval of expanded jail capacity and a more secure courthouse facility; and the board of supervisors decision to raise the minimum wage coupled with the prompt rejection of the ordinance by some cities. I get that Ms. Chozik works on a deadline and has to keep it simple for her readers, but narratives that ignore the complexity of society in favor of pabulum-style writing should be an affront to people who know better.

Another problem with the narrative is depiction of Clinton as a poll-watcher feeling emboldened by the surge since mid October. This is ridiculous in light of the fact that one of Hillary’s key Iowa supporters is former Iowa Democratic Party chair Sue Dvorsky who lives in Coralville. Why wouldn’t one of Clinton’s biggest fans invite the candidate to the park where her husband, state senator Bob Dvorsky, has held his annual birthday party fund raiser?

While I appreciate that Chozik spends time in Iowa reporting on the run up to the caucus, and her stories do add value, corporate media narratives shaped the opinions of people with whom I queued before the event. They give people something to talk about, and there is already enough gossip in our community without the media adding more.

Not everyone likes the policy wonk Clinton was on Tuesday. People who live on the surface of what is happening in society, who don’t have the advantage of being physically close to a candidate like we can be in Iowa, get their information largely from mass media. On the playing field that is cable news, print or social media, and network news, one brief story is juxtaposed with another at a continuing and mind-numbing pace. It makes for a bitter soup of life. That Hillary Clinton knows policy inside out from personal experience makes her unique in the race. The media format and content as presented by many serves to distract viewers from that.

The Iowa caucuses are a blessing and a curse. Our first in the nation status enables almost anyone who wants to get up close and personal with a candidate who campaigns here. On the other hand, organizing people to caucus for a candidate can be an exercise in frustration, beginning with the fact that people don’t want to hang out for more than a couple of hours taking care of what most believe is irrelevant “party business.” The Democratic Party process excludes people as much as it welcomes.

Hillary Clinton inn Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3, 2015

Hillary Clinton in Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3, 2015

My main challenge in attending the town hall was light. I wanted a few decent photos on my inexpensive Kodak camera as the sun would be setting when Clinton spoke. Sunset is still magical to me. I chose a seat west of the stage so the setting sun would be at my back. Of 200 shots, about six were keepers, including this one of Clinton with the sun illuminating her.

As writers, what we see and hear is influenced by who we are as much as by what is said and done by our subjects. Input is filtered and shaped by our biases, learning, and method of information collection, the way an anthropologist influences ethnographic interviews with questions asked. Hearing the entirety of what a candidate has to say at an event like Tuesday is pure Iowa. Or, as Sue Dvorsky posted on Facebook about the town hall, “The breadth of topics were a credit to our community, and answer the question ‘Why Iowa?’ And the depth of her responses answer the question ‘Why Hillary?'”

Iowa Media Is Biased – No Kidding

USSenateIowa’s first in the nation caucuses have resulted in a type of local media bias that favors Republicans. This became increasingly evident during the 2012 presidential election campaign, when President Obama was without serious opposition among Democrats, and a field of Republican hopefuls found ten candidates garnering votes at the caucuses with the three top vote-getters, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, each receiving less than 25 percent. Corporate media reporting is about selling advertising and newspapers, so I don’t blame the reporters. Except that Republicans have increasingly begun to frame the media discussion in Iowa because media questions turn noticeably to Republican issues.

The framing around Republican issues was evident in the Des Moines Register endorsement of State Senator Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate in a primary field of five candidates.

“Ernst’s conservative credentials are impeccable,” wrote the editorial board. This is a Republican primary, but by choosing Obama 52 percent to Romney’s 46 percent in 2012, Iowans demonstrated that conservative credentials matter less than the Register’s framing suggests. The rejection of Romney in a state that picked George W. Bush in 2004 is meaningful. Romney received 20,000 less votes than Bush did, indicating the value of conservative credentials is in decline among voters in Iowa. For the 822,544 Obama voters in 2012, conservative credentials were even less relevant. But the Register continues to repeat the phrase.

The Register goes on to cite other issues in a Republican framework, including an absolutist position on Second Amendment rights, conceding that Medicare and Medicaid must be cut to address the federal budget deficit, and application of a Christian litmus test to federal judge nominees. All of these posit a Republican position and compare Ernst to it. Citing Iowa’s open primary process as a reason for weighing in on a Republican primary, what the Register has done is use the endorsement as a platform for confirming the conservative perspective of the editorial board.

The race to fill U.S. Senator Tom Harkin’s open seat looks to be a repeat of the 2012 election, and already we are seeing Republican media framing in the run up to the June 3 primary. Congressman Bruce Braley is running unopposed among Democrats. He has the endorsement of the current senator and is focusing on fund raising and grass roots organizing. If he has been working smart, he should have a substantial advantage over the eventual Republican nominee. He should also be heartened by the framing the Register and others have given the public dialogue about the 2014 midterms.

What Democrats learned in 2008 and 2012 is that media matters less and grassroots organizing will win elections. Let’s hope the Republicans continue to drink the Kool-Aid of a biased Iowa media, while Braley is busy quietly closing the deal.

Gov’t Propaganda Okay in U.S.

radio 2From Foreign Policy Magazine:

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News To Americans

“For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law (the Smith-Mundt Act) prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It’s viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.”

Click here to read the entire article (free account required).

How To Get Equal Air Time During The Last 60 Days

In May of 2012, Media Action Center monitored local talk radio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the Scott Walker recall, and found that WISN and WTMJ radio hosts gave supporters of Scott Walker and the GOP more than one million dollars in free airtime, while preventing supporters of Tom Barrett and the Democrats from accessing the microphones – at all.

Not only is that immoral, it breaks the Federal Communications Commission rule known as the Zapple Doctrine.  As a result of that study, MAC has filed a formal complaint to the FCC asking them to enforce this rule that says in the 60 days prior to elections, if a broadcaster provides airtime to supporters of one major party candidate, it must provide comparable time to supporters of the other major party candidate.

We are expanding this action so volunteers NATIONWIDE can demand comparable time on our local public airwaves when candidates we support are shut out of the public square of radio.

It’s easy!

Starting September 7th, any time you turn on the radio and hear a host or guest supporting one major party candidate but not providing time to the other major party candidate, please write an email – within seven days –  to the manager of the local station you tuned into, demanding comparable time. (Templates are below.)

Broadcasting is a public/private partnership, and ALL stations are licensed to serve the public interest of their LOCAL communities.  So whether it’s Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity promoting Mitt Romney, or your local host promoting only the GOP candidate for Governor, Congress, or the school board (or only promoting the Democratic candidate, this does work both ways) stand up for your rights as the owners of the broadcast airwaves and demand equitable treatment for candidates of both major political parties! (Sorry, Zapple does only apply to “major” parties.)

Note: If a radio show has a candidate on the air, it is up to the opposing candidate to request equal time.  This action is for us to request comparable time for people on the air other than the candidates themselves.

Here is an examples for you to use:

Dear WHO or KWWL or WMT or KXIC  (or whatever station) management,

On (date,) Jan Mickelson (or whoever) had a guest (name) who spent many minutes promoting Mitt Romney, but had no guests promoting Barack Obama.

As an Obama supporter, I am requesting comparable time on your station under the Zapple Doctrine.

name, address, phone

VERY IMPORTANT:   Either BCC me ( ) or send me an email letting me know you have emailed the letter.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANT:  Forward me whatever response you get from the station management.  We will use these letters to develop legal materials to support our earlier complaint to the FCC.

Any questions?  Please write me at or in Iowa, and-the-return-of-the-zapple-doctrine/



Not “Both Parties” – How Journalistic “Balance” Hurts America

click on the image for info. about the National Conference on Media Reform in Denver, April 5-7, 2013

“Public opinion research suggests that citizens have little knowledge or understanding of either the source of our dysfunctional politics or the nature of the Republican policy ambitions.”   link

You used to see them on the morning political shows likie Meet the Press and Face the Nation but not so much since their new book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks was published in May.  Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, are “savvy political scientists who know Washington politics well….regarded as middle-of-the-road guys, centrists, for a number of years in DC” according to the Columbia Journalism Review.

The premise of their book is (1) that the core of Washington’s political dysfunction lies with the Republican Party and (2) that the American press is doing a disservice to citizens and Democracy by failing to point this out.

Basically, they’re saying, “it’s the GOP,  stupid.”   As they put it in The Washington Post: 

“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. “   (click here to read more about the GOP “strategy”)

But they’re also saying “it’s the media, stupid” – but not the same media you would think like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.   They are talking about actual journalism – not cable news or conservative talk radio, but newspapers and mainstream press that attempt to achieve “balance” in their coverage of politics.    Mann and Ornstein make the case that such “balance” only works when both parties are within the norms.  But when one party is extreme  like the Republicans are currently,  journalistic “balance” or he said/she said approaches to coverage only make things worse.

Below is an excerpt of an interview of Mann and Ornstein by Trudy Lieberman in the CJR.   They make a compelling case  about the press’  failure to help citizens sort  it all out and what this means for Democracy.    Link to the full article here.  Read on.


The Politics

Why is the GOP to blame for political stalemate you describe in your book? They are now the primary source of the stalemate. At the very beginning of the Obama administration, they made an explicit decision—now well documented—to eschew any policy negotiations with the newly elected president and Democrats in Congress. It’s a strategy of total political opposition—to avoid sharing any responsibility for the performance of the economy and to do nothing that might improve its performance, because that would boost the electoral prospects of President Obama and Congressional Democrats. Their motivation goes beyond differences on the issues. It’s an aggressive, non-negotiable stance, illustrated by the no-new-tax pledge of Grover Norquist, that makes any real constructive policy making impossible.

Are you saying the Republican Party has changed? The result of all this is the transformation of the Republican Party into a radical party—not really a conservative party—that no Republican president in the modern era would have felt comfortable being a part of.

It’s a democracy—Isn’t it okay for one party to do this? Of course, it is perfectly legitimate for a party to propose a radical change of policy course. But it is essential that the public have some grasp of what that party is proposing and what its likely consequences would be. Public opinion research suggests that citizens have little knowledge or understanding of either the source of our dysfunctional politics or the nature of the Republican policy ambitions.

The Press

Because of the partisan nature of much of the media and the reflexive tendency of many in the mainstream press to use false equivalence to explain outcomes, it becomes much easier for a minority, in this case the Republicans, to use filibusters, holds, and other techniques to obstruct…

Where do the media go wrong, in this scenario? There is a strong tendency on the part of the mainstream media to avoid taking sides—in other words, to avoid reaching conclusions that put the onus of our dysfunctional politics on one party or another or on one candidate or another. This can be strength in an era in which the partisan and ideological media have grown in size and importance. But it can also be a trap that does a disservice to the citizenry.

Can you explain a bit more? Reporters admirably embody professional norms favoring fairness and nonpartisanship. But too often even the most talented and dedicated reporters, especially in these partisan times with media watchdogs on the constant lookout for bias, retreat to a formulaic “he says/she says” or “both parties are to blame” that imposes a false equivalence on the underlying reality. Reporters don’t want to be charged with partisan bias, and their editors and producers have strong professional and economic incentives to avoid such charges. The safe response is to insist on “balance,” even if the phenomenon is clearly unbalanced. In their quest to be fair and balanced, they misinform and disarm a public trying to fix our dysfunctional politics.

Can you give a concrete example of this political asymmetry? Our book contains many such examples. One is the widespread belief that both parties are equally to blame for budget deficits and debt. As the story goes, Republicans won’t raise taxes and Democrats won’t cut spending, especially on so-called entitlements. The reality is different. Almost all Republican candidates and officeholders have signed Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge and impose fealty to it with political committees, threatening primary challenges. As far as they are concerned, tax increases are off the table. Democrats are willing to deal with everything as long as everything is on the table, and deficit reduction is not used as a cover to achieve broader ideological objectives.

How do reporters and columnists write about this? They mainly say both parties are equally implicated in the failure to tame deficits—even though recent fiscal policy history and current negotiating positions suggest otherwise.

Did this dynamic of media balance play out in the healthcare debate? Obama’s healthcare proposals were designed to avoid the pitfalls of past failures by negotiating with many of the healthcare stakeholders and embracing ideas that had been the centerpiece of past Republican proposals. These included state exchanges to foster competition in private insurance, subsidies for low income households, significant insurance reforms including guaranteed issue and affordability for those with pre-existing conditions, and an individual mandate to encourage universal coverage. But once Obama was for them, Republicans turned against them. They refused to negotiate on the contents of a health reform plan, and characterized their old plans as socialistic. Whatever Obama’s messaging failures, the press itself failed to inform the public of the disingenuousness of the Republican opposition and the inaccuracy of much of the rhetoric leveled against the Affordable Care Act. It was safer to cover the politics of health reform and avoid making judgments that were tougher on one party than the other.

Does this apply in other situations? It applies in many situations. You see it in healthcare and on taxes. Reporters should be examining, is it plausible to hold to a no new taxes pledge and be responsible to the issues of the deficit and the debt? What the no new tax pledge has done to the Republican Party is to limit its ability to deal with the problem. Instead they say let’s talk around it. What are the implications in the Ryan budget? Do you ever see that laid out in a television show or a major print piece? Once in awhile the Times or The Wall Street Journal will have something. But most of the time you don’t get this.

So how should reporters cover this? Help audiences understand asymmetrical polarization. Document, and report on it. Who’s telling the truth? Who’s taking hostages?

Can we really expect this to happen? That was one of the reasons we wrote the book. We have learned our book has led to heated discussions in some newsrooms. We know there are enormous challenges. Our goal is get into the discussion within media organizations.

Is the press innately defensive? Yes. It’s getting harder and harder to take risks. That’s part of the argument we’re making. In the face of these partisan wars, the press has become even more defensive and looks for safe harbors. One of these is to treat both sides as equally implicated. It was probably easier to cover things when both parties were operating in the mainstream of American politics. When one party has moved off track in such a breathtaking fashion, he said/she said serves to obscure the underlying reality rather than expose it.

What’s the fallout for you of this book? We built some capital over four decades, based on straight shooting, nonpartisan political analysis and commentary. The new reality of American politics compelled us to spend some of that capital. Neither of us has any regrets. Nor do we believe we’ve become partisan in any way. We reached a conclusion we believe is accurate.

(click here to read the entire article)


Koch Brothers Rally Got Free Pass By Des Moines Register

[Update: On Tuesday I was on The Fallon Forum to discuss America’s media problem and my letter to the Des Moines Register about this article. Click here to watch the video/podcast]

I grew up reading The Des Moines Register and still feel it is the newspaper Iowa depends on. On Friday, @RadioBradshaw tweeted this: “I used to complain about the AP content in the Register, but after seeing today’s stenography of a DSM Koch Brothers event, I’m rethinking.”  Here is the story he was referring to (which some say reads suspiciously like a press release) by their Chief Political Reporter, Jennifer Jacobs.

Consultant Bashes Healthcare Law Rally

Iowans need to mobilize to fight to repeal the federal health care law referred to as Obamacare, conservative political consultant Dick Morris told Iowans on Thursday night.

The provisions that take effect in 2014 are part of “a vicious, horrible system,” Morris said at a “Hands Off My Health Care!” rally organized by the grass-roots group Americans for Prosperity.

Morris, 64, said 100 million Americans receive welfare benefits, a third of the population.

That doesn’t include Social Security, Medicare, veterans benefits or the earned-income tax credit, he said, just welfare programs.

“So let’s be clear about what is driving this budget deficit,” he told the audience of about 100.

Morris said President Barack Obama uses Medicare “as a piggy bank to pay for Obamacare.” But instead of cutting benefits to Medicare users, Obama cut reimbursement rates to health care providers, he said.

“Well, good luck finding an oncologist on Medicare if you get cancer,” he said. “You might even find it difficult to find a general practitioner … because they have so little reimbursement for each patient that they simply can’t afford to give quality medical care.”

In 2014, “it’s going to be a vicious, horrible system,” Morris said. “Right now there is in Washington a computer that has all of your medical information. All of it.”

Bureaucrats will use this information to decide whether or not care should be given to people who are too old and don’t have enough quality-adjusted years remaining to merit lifesaving care, he said.

Morris said GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s plan calls for doing nothing until 2022. Romney would let retirees keep their current Medicare coverage, or they can choose a better deal, Morris said.

“The government will give you a check, a voucher, a premium support payment — whatever they call it,” he said.

“And you go out and spend that as you wish for health care, and if there’s money left over you don’t spend, you keep it and they won’t tax it.”

People will then be motivated to save money and avoid overpriced services, he said.

Teresa Oelke, regional vice president for Americans for Prosperity, urged the crowd to volunteer for the group’s phone banks.

“My kids at home, I have a 15-year-old, a 12-year-old and an 11-year-old, they’re all on freedom phones,” Oelke said. “In fact, my husband and I, we’ve talked, we’re directly tying Christmas gifts to the amount of minutes they spend on the freedom phones defending their country.”


To which I responded by writing this letter to the editor published Wednesday (most of it):

re: Jennifer Jacobs article on Des Moines Koch Brothers event  [“Consultant Bashes Health Care Law at Rally;
Morris says welfare programs are ‘driving this budget deficit’

Does the DMReg. no longer think it is necessary to provide context to a story?  Does the paper no longer feel obligated to provide balanced information in a story about a political group’s activities?  Does this reporter know who Dick Morris is other than “conservative political consultant”?  Does the Des Moines Register’s Chief Political Reporter know anything about Americans for Prosperity,  a Koch Brothers funded group? If so, did the paper see no reason to include that information in this story about their Des Moines rally, for the sake of transparency, so readers would know who is doing the “bashing”?  Did the paper see no reason to offer the other side or even to include some facts for information purposes,  fairness, balance, etc?

Can the paper give some examples of calls for volunteers or other action alerts that you have provided for progressive groups?  Or some examples where you’ve given publicity to progressive phone banking efforts?  Or when you’ve published a single positive story about progressives or Democrats without including space for the other side?

This article was a stream of inflammatory quotes and false allegations by people who make their living feeding the media conservative ideas, with no effort on the paper’s part to include comments from anyone who would disagree.

“Freedom phones”?  Seriously?
“If there’s money left over you don’t spend, you keep it and they won’t tax it.”  Like there’s going to be money left over?  Are you kidding?
“or they can choose a better deal, Morris said.”  haha, hilarious.

It would be funny If it weren’t for the fact that people will believe these ideas and point to this story in the Des Moines Register, the newspaper Iowa depends on,  as the basis for their belief.


The paper responded graciously, publishing my letter with just a few edits which I thought were reasonable.  And one of the editors sent me a personal reply saying in part:

“Unfortunately, from my perspective…. the short answer is: You’re right.  We try to take pains to include context and other perspectives in our political reporting. When Paul Ryan visited the fair last week, and during President Obama’s three days in Iowa, we conducted a lot of interviews with the other campaign or tracked down policy experts to offer opposing perspectives or rebut factually questionable statements. That is and should be standard operating procedure.  We should have been able to track down an opposing voice, and some basic background on Americans for Prosperity certainly would have been germane. Our editing safety net should have kicked into gear.  Thank you for reading the Register and for caring about the standards we work to uphold.”

Today I was a call-in guest on The Fallon Forum to discuss media.   The podcast should be available soon.

This is why we need media reform/Resources

Media As Misinformation

Romney’s Campaign Strategy: Lie, Lie, and Lie Some More –Can Democracy Survive with 0% Media Accountability?

National Media Reform ConferenceDenver, Colorado, April 5-7, 2013