Media Literacy/Bias

Post publisher cancels plans for exclusive access 'salons'

Howard Kurtz, Washington Post

Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth today canceled plans for a series of policy dinners at her home after learning that marketing fliers offered lobbyists access to Obama administration officials, members of Congress and Post journalists in exchange for payments as high as $250,000.

"Absolutely, I'm disappointed," Weymouth, the chief executive of Washington Post Media, said in an interview. "This should never have happened. The fliers got out and weren't vetted. They didn't represent at all what we were attempting to do. We're not going to do any dinners that would impugn the integrity of the newsroom."

Moments earlier, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said in a separate interview that he was "appalled" by the plan and had insisted before the cancellation that the newsroom would not participate.

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Before we 'save' journalism...

Jim Naureckas, FAIR Extra

One thing to keep in mind while worrying about the future of journalism is that its past hasn’t been all that great either.

Journalism ought to be judged not on the profits it makes for stockholders but on the service it provides to democracy. By that measure, the reporting profession has been falling down on the job: Leading us into an aggressive war with evidence based on lies, overlooking an asset bubble whose predictable deflation devastated our economy, failing to raise alarms about the erosion of key civil liberties.

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Washington Post sells lobbyists access, $25k and up

Mike Allen, Politico

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post has offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to "those powerful few": Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and — at first — even the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff."

With the newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said in a staffwide e-mail that the newsroom would not participate in the first of the planned events — a dinner scheduled July 21 at the home of Publisher and Chief Executive Officer Katharine Weymouth.

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Nielsen study: teens still rely primarily on traditional media

Georg Szalai and Colbern Uhl, Editor and Publisher

Don't get too caught up in the hype of digital media usage. That is a key message of "How Teens Use Media," a new research report by The Nielsen Co. that it will present in New York Thursday at its annual "What Teens Want" conference.

"The notion that teens are too busy texting and Twittering to be engaged with traditional media is exciting, but false," according to the executive summary. Instead of replacing traditional media with new-media consumption, teens are simply making time for both, it concludes. Nielsen is the corporate parent of The Hollywood Reporter.

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CNNFail: Twitniverse slams lack of Iran coverage

Daniel Terdiman, CNet

While word of riots in the streets of Tehran spread like wildfire on Twitter, CNN stayed largely silent on the story, surprising and dismaying many.

As the Iranian election aftermath unfolded in Tehran--thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to express their anger at perceived electoral irregularities--an unexpected hashtag began to explode through the Twitterverse: "CNNFail."

Even as Twitter became the best source for rapid-fire news developments from the front lines of the riots in Tehran, a growing number of users of the microblogging service were incredulous at the near total lack of coverage of the story on CNN, a network that cut its teeth with on-the-spot reporting from the Middle East.

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The big hate: fueled by conservative media

Pauul Krugman, New York Times

Back in April, there was a huge fuss over an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s — a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Conservatives were outraged. The chairman of the Republican National Committee denounced the report as an attempt to “segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration” and label them as terrorists.

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Rush and Newt are winning in the right-leaning national media

E.J. Dionne, Washington Post

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Yes, you read that correctly: If you doubt that there is a conservative inclination in the media, consider which arguments you hear regularly and which you don't. When Rush Limbaugh sneezes or Newt Gingrich tweets, their views ricochet from the Internet to cable television and into the traditional media. It is remarkable how successful they are in setting what passes for the news agenda.

The power of the Limbaugh-Gingrich axis means that Obama is regularly cast as somewhere on the far left end of a truncated political spectrum. He's the guy who nominates a "racist" to the Supreme Court (though Gingrich retreated from the word yesterday), wants to weaken America's defenses against terrorism and is proposing a massive government takeover of the private economy. Steve Forbes, writing for his magazine, recently went so far as to compare Obama's economic policies to those of Juan Peron's Argentina.

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Why NPR is the future of mainstream media

Josh Catone, Mashable

In March of this year, National Public Radio (NPR) revealed that by the end of 2008, 23.6 million people were tuning into its broadcasts each week. In fact, NPR’s ratings have increased steadily since 2000, and they’ve managed to hold on to much of their 2008 election coverage listenership bump (with over 26 million people tuning in each week so far in 2009), unlike many of their mainstream media counterparts.

Compared to cable news, where most networks are shedding viewers, and newspapers, where circulation continues to plummet, NPR is starting to look like they have the future of news all figured out. Or at least, they appear to doing a lot better at it than the rest of the traditional media.

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Media adopt gender, racial stereotypes in characterizing Sotomayor

M.W., Media Matters

Numerous media figures have adopted language reflecting gender and racial stereotypes in reporting about Sonia Sotomayor's temperament and intellect, in many instances relying on anonymous characterizations in Jeffrey Rosen's New Republic piece on Sotomayor.

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Sotomayor falls in journalism's blind spot

Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, New America Media

The president’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court has come during a most awkward time in the history of U.S. journalism, which many analysts claim is in serious decline, if not on life support.

What her nomination clearly shows us is that what this nation needs is more incisive journalism, not less. Yet, to be sure, the rise of right-wing media, which include FOX News and virtually all the known right-wing radio talk show hosts, is the antithesis of journalism.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey