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Gonzo Journalism

Reading The Sunday New York Times this morning I was taken by a front-page story about the group of four young men who were arrested while impersonating telephone company employees in a federal building in New Orleans about a week ago.  The paper describes the charges as "seeking to tamper with the office telephone system" of a Senator, Mary Landrieu, a federal felony.  They head the story with mug pictures of the men who, in spite of their clean-cut appearance, seem to be no different than hard-core felons even though they have not been convicted.   They go on with a story about so-called "gonzo journalism" (I guess they are experts at that) that takes up a whole page inside the paper about the four men, James OKeefe in particular, their background and relations with various groups.  For a newspaper that had previously downplayed the investigative reporting of Mr. O'Keefe this seems like an odd change in direction.  Upon reflection, if you take into account the bias of this newspaper, it does not seem nearly so strange.  In fact several mainstream media outlets have been unable to get the story straight.  I am not sure whether this is due to their bias or merely their incompetence.  I quote the following from Mr. O'Keefe's public statement on Friday:

It has been amazing to witness the journalistic malpractice committed by many of the organizations covering this story.  MSNBC falsely claimed that I violated a non-existent “gag order.”  The Associated Press incorrectly reported that I “broke in” to an office which is open to the public.  The Washington Post has now had to print corrections in two stories on me.  And these are just a few examples of inaccurate and false reporting.  The public will judge whether reporters who can’t get their facts straight have the credibility to question my integrity as a journalist.
(Source: BigGovernment.com)

My conclusion is: be wary of questionable news reporting - it is ubiquitous.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
This story was mis-reported at first, no question about it!
Feb. 2nd, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, and it happens too often.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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