Selective journalism and parsing comments

Actually, I shouldn’t really call one of these examples journalism at all. It reads more like an essay from a jealous ninth grader that just can’t get over it.

There is that example, which I will get to shortly, and another, in which a blogger took the parts of a news article and used only the portions he liked. Selecting only the text that fits a predetermined narrative is dishonest, and goes against all good practices of blogging and yes, journalism. This example is about a group of supporters gathering in Harlem, New York City, to promote their candidate. Members of this group talked with the reporter (from a newspaper that isn’t all that sterling itself), giving their views of what is happening in their neighborhoods and in America in general.

The newspaper is the New York Daily News, the candidate is President Barack Obama, and the number of supporters is immaterial, in my opinion. In any case, I thought the New York Daily News did a credible job in reporting the comments of these supporters. Their comments were interesting. Enter the blogger, who proceeded to make fun of how “few” supporters there were and remarked as his opening line,

If President Obama can’t generate any enthusiasm in Harlem, where can he?

Okay, there are plenty of things wrong with this statement. For instance that a Re-Elect Obama rally would draw any different number of supporters on any given day. And in Harlem? Lordy be! Anyway, this is a subject that I will visit some other day. The idea that mid day in any large city a rally would draw very many people is silly.

The blogger mysteriously cuts off the text from the article right before the comments praising the President appear.These are the next few paragraphs that appear in the Daily News:

Tekima Berlack, a retired social worker who was born and reared in Harlem, said, in some instances, racism has fueled the vitriolic criticism of the president.

“I think it’s racism,” said Berlack, who held up a sign that read “Expand Pell Grants for Low Income Students.”

“I think anything the man does – they work against him,” Berlack added. “The man is trying to save the country. They have an agenda, and I’m out here because we need an agenda. It’s critical that we elect Obama in 2012.”

Marva Allen, owner of Harlem’s famed Hue-Man Bookstore, said Obama has weathered some of the worst crises to ever face a sitting president “with dignity, pride and strong morality.”

Here is where the meat of the article is, the part that the blogger did not report, didn’t bother to summarize on his blog. When the praise and the heartfelt sentiments of the rally participants came out, they were cut off.

Now, before you take me to task about what a lowly (albeit conservative) blogger does and doesn’t do, think about this: If you ran across his blog as a report of what happened there that day, would you take it at face value? Would you be in a hurry, looking for another source to use in a paper or essay?

You might. You could. But maybe not you, someone else. There are lots of someone elses on the internet. Read them both, it only takes a few minutes. I was moved by the story in the Daily News. I was disgusted what I saw the “Bluegrass Pundit” do to the account of the rally.

Now, on to the 9th grader who just can’t give it up.

Timothy P. Carney, who uses his actual name it seems, is called the “Sr.Political Columnist” at the Washington Examiner (‘natch) and starts his article with “Obama’s done it again”. This after an unattributed quote that we are supposed to guess the source of.

“Why it’s really hard to trust Barack Obama” is the title. (Would it kill these people to show some respect for the President?) Anyway, it goes on to talk about and parse the words of the President and then compare them to what he sees as the “truth”. Lots of these come from speeches, some at the White House.

You really have to read this to believe it. He goes on to pick one word, like “chance” (to meet the President in this case) and say that it is dishonest because the person President Obama was talking about had only a chance to meet him. Stupid stuff. None of the examples given are factually incorrect, but the author sees it as shady because, I guess, he though the remarks were disingenuous.

Well, Timothy, I am sure when you have a schedule like to leader of the free world, you have to hedge bets. If the President had said, “We’re all having lunch in the east room.” and then a crisis broke out, you would be calling him a liar or worse.

Read it. Feel the stupid leaping from your screen.

2 thoughts on “Selective journalism and parsing comments

  1. This president has been treated incredibly disrespectfully, over and over. Even network and cable news reporters refer to him as Obama, while referring to Senator Webb, or whomever, by his or her title. It was done at the first Republican debate.

    It’s all about race, and racist people resentful of an articulate, kind, confident leader who is a person of color. They can’t stand it.

  2. The so called dinosaur media is as guilty of shoddy journalism over decades. News should be as biased free as possible. Race is often a tool used to achieve political goals on the left and the right. The New York Times and The Washington Times are (were) two sides on the same coin.

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