Watch Dog of the Lap Dogs

Since I went off on the media yesterday, I thought I’d continue the rant and share  ‘Smell Something Rotten?’ from FAIR.  FAIR stands for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting.  It’s their annual P.U. litzer award time. Here’s a few juicy roasts of the worst media had to offer in 2010.

Prosecute the Messenger Award: Diane Sawyer (ABC News)

On October 22, ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer introduced a report on WikiLeaks‘ exposure of thousands of classified documents from the Iraq War. ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz summarized the contents of the WikiLeaks files: “Deadly U.S. helicopter assaults on insurgents trying to surrender…. The Iraqi civilian death toll far higher than the U.S. has acknowledged…. Graphic detail about torture of detainees by the Iraqi military.” After Raddatz’s report, Sawyer offered this followup: “I know there’s a lot of outrage about this again tonight, Martha. But tell me, anything more about prosecuting the WikiLeaks group?”

–The Quarter-Million-Dollar Middle Award: Kiran Chetry (CNN)

CNN anchor Kiran Chetry (American Morning, 2/1/10) interviewing White House budget director Peter Orszag: “You also talk about letting taxes expire for families that make over $250,000. Some would argue that in some parts of the country that is middle class.” Back in reality, more than 98 percent of U.S. households make less than $250,000

–Disappearing Palestinians Award: New York Times

On the New York Times op-ed page (8/27/10), Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institution gave one reason to be hopeful about peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority: “First, violence is down considerably in the region.” What he meant was that Israeli deaths were down. Completely unmentioned were the roughly 1,500 Palestinians that have been killed since the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 2008–the vast majority of whom were minors or noncombatant adults, according to the Israel human rights group B’Tselem. This oversight wasn’t just confined to the op-ed page: a Week in Review article by Ethan Bronner (11/21/10) reported “that the Palestinian/Israeli conflict has been largely drained of deadly violence in the past few years.” Hundreds of dead Palestinians are what is meant by “drained of violence.”

–Balancing Tolerance with Hate Award: Washington Post’s On Faith Blog

On National Coming Out Day (10/11/10), the Washington Post’s On Faith blog decided it would be a good time to hear from raging homophobe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Perkins penned a column attacking “homosexual activist groups” under the headline “Christian Compassion Requires the Truth About Harms of Homosexuality.” Why on Earth does anyone need to hear Perkins’ claptrap? The Post explained on Twitter (10/12/10) that it was a matter of journalistic balance: “We’re working to cover both sides. Earlier, we hosted Dan Savage of It Gets Better in a live chat.” For the record, “It Gets Better” is Savage’s campaign to combat suicides among queer youth. Who knew that was a point of view that needed balancing?

–Am-I-Reading-The-Onion Headline Writing Award: Washington Post

For its April 26 story, “Amid Outrage Over Civilian Deaths in Pakistan, CIA Turns to Smaller Missiles.”

Honorable mention goes to the New York Times, whose November 11 story explained the U.S. plan to remain in Afghanistan for at least three years longer than advertised. The headline: “U.S. Plan Offers Path to Ending Afghan Combat.”

I’d love to put them all up, but then I’d go way over the rule of FAIR use.  At least Rick Sanchez is off the air or there would be enough on their list to fill up about 5 posts.

As Brad Delong says, “Why Oh Why Can’t We Have a Better Press Corps?”

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