Monthly Archives: October 2010

Right Wing Blogger Post’s Assignment Editor

With all the problems we should be discussing, The Post allows a right wing blogger, the same one who started the NYC mosque controversy, to set the agenda.

The story is about an alleged boycott of Campbell Soups because its Canadian subsidiary is producing halal soup.  The claim is not opposition to halal foods, but to the organization that is certifying the designation.

ISNA has denied any ties to Hamas or to officials of a defunct charity called Holy Land Foundation, who were convicted in the conspiracy case. It has specifically condemned religious extremism and violence. In the wake of the conspiracy trial, Jewish and Protestant organizations issued statements in support of ISNA. A spokesperson for the group was unavailable for comment.

But still, The Post makes a story of it. 

Amanpour Doesn’t Play the Game

Does that make her a loser as host of ABC’s “This Week”?

Problem is, panache and no-nonsense briskness don’t seem to charm the permanent floating chattering party in Washington, and apparently does not appeal to the Sunday morning talk show audiences. Sly wink-winks, joshing elbows in the ribs, deference to insiders, to the establishment, to the media savants – that goes a long way.

Amanpour doesn’t know the game or doesn’t care to learn. She stays outside the sandbox. And she’s not invited to play.

Jon Stewart, Terry Gross

From Jon Stewart’s interview with Terry Gross:

I’m less upset with politicians than [with] the media. I feel like politicians — the way I explain it, is when you go to a zoo and a monkey throws feces, it’s a monkey. But when the zookeeper is standing right there and he doesn’t say, ‘Bad monkey’ — somebody’s gotta be the zookeeper. I feel much more strongly about the abdication of responsibility by the media than by political advocates. They’re representing a constituency. Our culture is just a series of checks and balances. The whole idea that we’re in a battle between tyranny and freedom — it’s a series of pendulum swings. And the swings have become less drastic over time. That’s why I feel, not sanguine but at least a little bit less frightful, in that our pendulum swings have become less and less. But what has changed is the media’s sense of their ability to be responsible arbiters. I think they feel fearful. I think there’s this whole idea now that there’s a liberal media conspiracy, and I think they feel if they express any authority or judgment, which is what I imagine is editorial control, they will be vilified."

The Post’s Different Standards in Covering Political Rallies

The disparity between the coverage The Washington Post gave to Saturday’s “One Nation” rally and the Beck rally in August is unmistakable.  One need only click on the link of stories of each to see the difference.  Click on “Full coverage: Beck, Sharpton rallies” and the results are:

· Sharpton’s ‘Reclaim the Dream’ event brings thousands to honor MLK

· Apocalyptic views hinder constructive political debate

· Glenn Beck ‘Restoring Honor’ rally draws thousands (video)

· Al Sharpton’s ‘Reclaim the Dream’ march (video)

· The battles inside the GOP

· Beck, Palin tell thousands to ‘restore America’ (main story)

· The only thing being restored by Beck is prejudice

· Civil rights’ new ‘owner’: Glenn Beck

· Beck: America is turning ‘back to God’(video)

· Palin: ‘We must restore America’ (video)

· Sharpton: ‘The dream has not been achieved’ (video)

· King’s legacy debated before Beck march

· How to have a rally on the Mall

· Where will Glenn Beck rally money go?

· Today’s rallies (graphic)

· 1 rally, 3 channels and many paths

· Glenn Beck rally in context: Events on the Mall (photos)

· Sharpton: Beck, Palin distorting MLK’s dream (video)

· Preparations for Glenn Beck rally underway (video)

· Tea party guide to D.C.: Racist or overblown?

· Dr. Gridlock: See where the rallies are

· Beck sets religious tone for ‘Restoring Honor’ rally

For the “One Nation” rally:

· Tens of thousands attend progressive ‘One Nation Working Together’ rally in Washington (main story)

· One Nation on the National Mall (photos)

· On the Mall, a counter to conservatives (video)

· Marching for jobs (video)

· Q&A, Transcript: One Nation rally: Liberal groups gather Saturday in Washington

· Dr. Gridlock: Rally road closures

· Share your rally photos (reader provided)

· Share your political signs photos (reader provided)

· DC rally shows support for struggling Democrats (AP story)

The lead-up to the rallies offers a similar difference.

In the week before Beck’s “Restoring Honor” march, The Post published:

· Three op-eds and

· a 2,342-word story on how the march would be a “measure of tea party strength.” 

· On the day of the march, you published a 2,722-word story on the “meaning of the march.”

· Plus a 795-word story about TV coverage of the march.

· And a 1,331-word story on how to host a march on the Mall, giving further exposure to Mr. Beck’s march. 

The longer two stories were reported on page A4.

In the week before Saturday’s “One Nation” march, The Post published:

· one op-ed in the print edition,

· one 669-word story Thursday and

· a 500-word story on the day of the march (compared to Beck’s 2,722 word story). 

Bottom line:  more than 7,000 words for the conservative rally (not counting op-eds) and less than 1,200 for the progressive rally.

(Meanwhile, on Saturday, The Post also had a 1,168-word story about how abused Tea Partiers are by their friends and neighbors.)

On the day after the Beck rally, Post coverage was much more expansive, including a main story that included contributions from nine Post reporters.  Apparently, three covered the One Nation rally.

This disparity in coverage is ongoing.  Back in April, The Post covered two conservative marches in Washington that totaled no more than 2,100 tea-party and gun rights protesters in Washington.  Coverage was by no less than four Post staffers, while a New York City march of about 7,500 progressive protesters garnered 300 words by one reporter.

In the Post ombudsman’s response to me at the time, he said the two rallies by conservatives received greater attention because they were local.

I believe the Mall is still in D.C.  and that’s still local.

No “meaning” of Saturday’s progressive march story or one on a “measure of progressive strength”?

I can remember the paucity of coverage to a 2002 march on Washington against the Iraq War.  Coverage was relegated to the Metro section of The Post.

My research tools are limited to The Post’s web site and Lexis-Nexis, so I may have missed some stories.  But there seems without doubt that The Post has a habit of allocating fewer resources and less coverage to marches by the left than it does by those on the right.  I would not subscribe the differences to the reporters.  Rather, it is editors who seem to have different standards of coverage.

Post Coverage of ‘One Nation’ March

On the day of the Glenn Beck rally August 28, The Post ran a 2700+-word story on its meaning, a nearly 800-word story on the media coverage of it, and another 1300+-word story on how to host a march on the Mall.

Today, that same newspaper has one dead tree story that’s about 500 words, although online that same story is 800 words with the most noticeable edit being mention of a last minute lawsuit by the event staging company that produced the Beck rally to stop this one over claims of misuse of the company’s proprietary information.  A judge threw out the suit.

By the way, the online version is the first I’ve seen this week that didn’t include a photo of the Beck rally!

Meanwhile, on the front page of the Style section, there’s a 1,128-word story on how Tea Partiers are abused and misunderstood by friends and neighbors.