Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Post Dispatch Activism Journalism

I’m fully aware that writing letters to the editor is pretty much a waste of time. In fact I have posted on the fact that most liberal newspapers use letters from right of center subscribers to provide the right of center opinions on matters they cover. When you cover the news of the day with a liberal bias, you have few if any journalists who can provide the opposing view. I should not have to be the one who provides balance to their product, so I have pretty much stopped writing letters to the newspaper.

That said, I could not allow this editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch to go without comment:

Pravda Post

To leave the fact that Bush has met with Cindy Sheehan out of this editorial, is irresponsible journalism and clearly makes it a blatant political hack piece that should be retracted. Here is my letter to the editor of the Post Dispatch:

For the record, I subscribe to the Post but get 99% of international and national news, particularly news of a political nature from other sources. The sources I use are other MSM outlets via the internet, blogs, and cable television. The reason that I don't utilize the reporting of the Post for such news is because it is biased and has a political agenda. That brings us to the reason that I am contacting you, and that reason is the editorial "Jock-In Chief" that appeared in today's offering of the Post.

I understand that the Post Dispatch is a liberal newspaper that covers the news with a liberal bias. That is precisely the reason that I don't invest my time reading most of section A and political pieces in section B. The Post Dispatch and Lee Publishing appear to be confident that a newspaper that feeds a core constituency that share their liberal opinions is a good business plan for the paper. Fair enough, I can cancel my subscription if that strategy becomes enough of an issue for me. There is however a huge difference between grounding a newspaper in a liberal bias and reporting the facts.

If a liberal journalist wants to take a current event of the day, present the facts, and then mold a liberal opinion on the matter telling their readers why they have arrived at their opinion that is fine. Same thing for a conservative journalist. The key point and requirement is that the journalist presents the facts accurately, and equally important does not leave out known important facts.

In the aforementioned editorial, a hugely important "fact" was left out of the opinion piece. The fact being President Bush has already met with Cindy Sheehan and her family in June 2004, two months after her son was killed in Iraq, and Mrs. Sheehan had some positive things to say about that meeting. Per the Washington Post, August 15th:

Others have also raised questions about Sheehan's account of her first meeting with Bush, which occurred two months after her son's death in April 2004. Sheehan was part of a larger group of grieving family members who met with Bush at Fort Lewis in Washington state.

After the meeting, she was quoted by the newspaper in her hometown of Vacaville, Calif., as saying that the president seemed sympathetic. Subsequently, she has said that Bush treated her callously during the meeting.

Her home town paper in Vacaville, CA, The Reporter, went into more details on 6/24/04 about the first meeting with President Bush:

"I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis," Cindy said after their meeting. "I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith." The meeting didn't last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son's sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.

It would have been proper for the journalist who wrote the editorial in question to include the detailed information that I have provided here, but even if they would have simply provided the fact that the President had already met with Mrs. Sheehan, they could have continued on with the liberal biased weave of their story without stepping over the boundary of accurate journalism. They did not do that however, and that makes the editorial misinformation and false and in need of being retracted. I call on the Post to retract this editorial and write a replacement editorial telling their customers how this could happen and the safeguards that will be put in place to prevent it from happening again.

Cindy Sheehan has a right to say what ever she wants, she lost a son and that gives her every right to say and do what she feel necessary. I don't agree with her message and rational, but she has a right to have her say. However, the Post has an obligation to its subscribers to print the facts and not omit the most important facts in the debate. The organizations that are promoting and handling Mrs. Sheehan (MoveOn.org, Code Pink, & Crawford Peace House, to name a few), need to be presented to the subscribers of the Post, so that they get the full perspective of the larger agenda that is in place in the Cindy Sheehan story. The Post has not done that thus far and again because of their omission is doing a disservice to their subscribers/customers. I know that the Post utilizes "Letters To The Editor" to get the right of center points across, so perhaps my letter will do the job that they should be doing in their coverage.

The author of this editorial crossed over from journalist to a political hack, promoting a political agenda without providing their readers/customers the most important information so that they could make up their own minds based on the facts. An opinion in the editorial that leaves out such important facts either purposely or due to incompetence, results in the same biased political activism journalism regardless of the reason. This is activist political journalism....

The editorial board that approved running this editorial, also crossed over from journalism to activism, and are equally guilty of not telling their customers the truth. Their negligence then cast the shadow of an agenda journalism on every member of the Post Dispatch. It makes the Post an activist newspaper, even if all in the fold are not activist journalists.

That's a shame because I doubt that 100% of the journalist at the Post Dispatch are liberal, activist, agenda driven hacks.........................

It will have no effect. The Post is a liberally biased newspaper with a true political activist agenda, but even for them this is way overboard…………………………..