CNN's Phillips misstated the Wash. Post ombudsman controversy

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

CNN anchor Kyra Phillips misstated a false assertion made by Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell regarding Democrats and indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Phillips reported that Howell "wrote that ... Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans." Phillips then said: "Well that's true, though most of the money went to Republicans." In fact, Abramoff made no contribution to Democrats.

On the January 20 edition of CNN's Live From..., anchor Kyra Phillips misstated the false assertions Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell made regarding Democrats and indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Reporting on the controversy surrounding the Post's decision to shut down the feature that allowed readers to post comments on the newspaper's weblog, Phillips stated that Howell, in her January 15 Post column, "wrote that corrupt former lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans." Phillips then said: "Well that's true, though most of the money went to Republicans." But Phillips misstated what was wrong with Howell's statement and therefore entirely misconstrued the substance of reader complaints. The problem with Howell's column was not that she failed to note which party received more money, but that her claim that Abramoff donated money to Democrats is simply false. As Media Matters for America has noted, Democrats received money from Abramoff's clients, but not from Abramoff directly.

On January 19, the Post's editors disabled the comment feature on the newspaper's blog, claiming that readers responded to Howell's column with "personal attacks, the use of profanity and hate speech."

From the January 20 edition of CNN's Live From...:

PHILLIPS: A hot debate leads to burnout in the blogosphere. The Washington Post turned off the reader comment feature on Post.blog after it was flooded by what the Post describes as "personal attacks," "profanity," and "hate speech." Post.blog is a site dedicated to sharing news by and about the newspaper. What set off readers was a Sunday column by Post ombudsman Deborah Howell, who wrote that corrupt former lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans. Well that's true, though most of the money went to Republicans. Cutting off the blog triggered a ton of email to the editors.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Kyra Phillips
Show/Publication
Live From...
Stories/Interests
Abramoff Scandal
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