• BYU study proves right-wing blogs are irrelevant

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    At least that's my take on it.

    The BYU study examined how much journalists use the blogosphere and found out that they spend a lot more time reading the liberal outposts than they do conservative bloggers:

    [Prof Richard] Davis also queried more than 200 journalists to learn how they use blog content in their coverage of political news. Most journalists were aware of influential blogs on both sides of the political spectrum, such as Daily Kos and Talking Points on the left and Michelle Malkin and Instapundit on the right. Despite equal awareness, journalists spend more time reading posts in the liberal blogosphere.

    I haven't bothered to check Newsbusters, but I'm guessing they're touting this as the missing piece to their liberal media bias conspiracy puzzle: Journalists love liberal bloggers!

    My take is a little different. My take is that journalists are mostly college-educated professionals in search of new and interesting information and when they visit sites like Talking Points Memo and Michelle Malkin's blog it becomes blindingly obvious that one site is serious in its approach to information gathering and sharing, and the other is, um, not. (I'm feeling charitable today.)

    So it's not surprising that journalists would spend more time at the sites that are insightful and are intellectually honest, and spend less time at the sites that are, categorically, not.

  • The Red Scare Index: 117

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Here is today's daily Red Scare Index -- our search of CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC for uses of the following terms: Socialism, Socialist, Socialists, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communists, Communistic, Marxism, Marxist, Marxists, Marxistic, Fascism, Fascist, Fascists and Fascistic.

    Here are the numbers for Tuesday, May 12 and Wednesday, May 13, 2009:

    TOTAL: 117
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 72
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 21
    Marxism/Marxist: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 24

    By Network:

    CNN: 8
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 8
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNN Headline News: 5
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 1
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 4
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox News Channel: 18
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 11
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 12

    Fox Business Network: 23
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 11
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 12

    MSNBC: 42
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 41
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 1
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNBC: 16
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 8
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 8
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    The above numbers are the result of a power search for these terms on these networks.

  • UPDATED: Does anybody actually edit the WashTimes?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    As CF notes below, the WashTimes belatedly removed a photo of the Obama children from a news article about murdered schoolchildren in Chicago. Why anybody at the right-wing newspaper thought it was a good idea to include the Obama kids, who played no role whatsoever in the news report, remains a mystery.

    Now it's time for somebody at the WashTimes (paging John Solomon) to come forward and explain how such an egregious thing was done in the first place. To explain the thought process and the editorial judgment that was used to connect the dots between the Obama kids and murdered Chicago children. Who made that decision, how many editors in the course of putting the newspaper to bed saw the article and the photo and okayed it? Did anybody within the newsroom ever suggest the photo inclusion was a monumentally dumb idea?

    I realize the Times probably doesn't want to face up to this issue publicly, but when newspapers fail this spectacularly there needs to be some accountability. And although it wasn't pleasant, the WashTimes did recently step forward and at least try to explain why it published a fictional editorial that derided Obama as being an historically unpopular president. (Hint: Pretty much the opposite is true.)

    It's that time again at the WashTimes. It's time for a sign--any sign--that the newspaper still operates under some sort sort of adult supervision.

    When editor John Solomon took over at the notoriously slanted newspaper, he announced that the daily was going to practice journalism that was "fair and balanced and accurate and precise." He stressed, "There needs to be a bright line between the journalism on the news pages and the commentary that appears on the editorial and opinion pages."

    Stunts like yesterday's Obama children fiasco make a mockery out of that pledge.

  • Does anybody actually edit the WashTimes?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Just an additional thought about what CF highlighted earlier today, and how the WashTimes used photos of the Obama schoolchildren for a news article about schoolchildren being murdered in Chicago:

    And the additional thought is this, does anybody edit that newspaper or is it just a hodgepodge of whatever scraps of content employees can slap together? I'm serious. The egregious crimes against journalism that now regularly seep out that newsroom are just mind-boggling.

    Think about the specifics of today's case. The Obama children, of course, are not actually mentioned in the news story. But somebody at the WashTimes thought it made perfect sense to insert the image of the underage White House occupants into a story about murdered kids in Chicago.

    And no, this was not an example of an unfortunate juxtaposition, where the the Obama girls photo was actually part of another, more innocuous story and because of a layout quirk simply appeared near the murdered-kids story. Instead, the Obama girls photo was specifically selected to accompany the article.

    Ordinarily I'd say that's just God-awful judgment on the part of the Times editors. But increasingly, I get the feeling that there isn't anybody at the Times actually making editorial decisions.

    (h/t No More Mr. Nice Blog and Shakesville)

  • Camille Paglia plays dumb about Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Salon's conservative columnist turns her ire on talk radio this month:

    Talk radio has been seething with such intensity since Barack Obama's first week in office that I am finding it very hard to listen to it. How many times do we have to be told the sky is falling? The major talk show hosts, in my opinion, made a strategic error in failing to reset at lower volume after Obama's election. When the default mode is feverish crisis pitch, there's nowhere to go, and monotony sets in. Lately, I've been doing a lot of tuning in and impatiently tuning out. As a longtime fan of talk radio, I don't think this bodes well for the long-term broad appeal of the medium. I want stimulation and expansion of my thinking -- not shrill, numbing hectoring and partisan undermining of the authority and dignity of the presidency.

    According to Paglia, right-wing talk radio has jumped the hate tracks. Notice however, what goes unmentioned in her critique? It's the fact that Fox News has virtually duplicated the "seething" of talk radio; that Fox News has turned itself into a "feverish crisis" outpost under Obama.

    There's no denying Obama hate has becoming a run-away phenomena within the GOP Noise Machine. But Paglia suggest it's just an AM problem.

  • WashPost, please define "requirement"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Here's the Post headline today:

    Obama Makes Empathy a Requirement for Court

    Pretty much lifted right from GOP talking points, right? Conservatives have latched onto the idea that "empathy" is the top priority for Obama's upcoming SCOTUS justice pick, even though that evidence is quite thin. And conservatives think that Obama's supposed interest in "empathy" is a really big deal. So, voilà, so does the Post.

    But "requirement"? That's a huge stretch, and one the daily never justifies. Here's as close as the article comes to making the case [emphasis added]:

    When President Obama talks about the traits he admires in a Supreme Court justice, he ticks the predictable boxes -- intellect, integrity, respect for the Constitution and the law. And sometimes he talks about Lilly Ledbetter and the quality he defines as empathy.

    Note how Obama only "sometimes" brings up "empathy." (Lilly Ledbetter is in reference to a recent SCOTUS case.) Yet just two paragraphs later the Post declares Obama is "making empathy a core qualification."

    There's simply no proof that that's the case. Indeed, the article only points to one instance in which Obama has even mentioned empathy in references to justices. Ever. But now it's become a "requirement"? Plus, the Post ignores that fact that, as Media Matters has pointed out, conservative Republican senators in the past have pointed to "empathy" as being a key trait that successful justices must have. i.e. It's not a new idea, and it hardly seems newsworthy.

    But the Post dutifully follows the GOP spin and treats "empathy" is a hugely important code word.