I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Yellow Journalism and the New York Times

Yellow journalism
In journalism, yellow journalism is a pejorative reference given to various practices or tendencies of news media organizations which, by the standards of journalistic professionalism, are considered to be unprofessional and detrimental to the principles of journalistic integrity as a whole. The term typically refers to sensationalism in news reporting that bears only a superficial resemblance to the profession of journalism. The term "infotainment" was coined to refer to news programming that blends journalism and entertainment in a way which, critics argue, diminishes the news value and professionalism of the reporting.
As you know I'm not a big fan of Hillary Clinton, or Bill either, and cannot see myself voting for her. But the article on Bill and Hillary's marriage in the New York Times qualified as "yellow journalism" in every sense of the word. Well today the Times Byron Calame, attempts to justify the unjustifiable and fails on several fronts. I'm not even going to get into if it was "news worthy" or not it was simply poor journalism. Over at The American Prospect Greg Sargent does a good job of explaining why:

  1. It didn't back up its central thesis, to the extent that it had one at all. The article said the following: "They appear in the public spotlight methodically and carefully: The goal is to position Mrs. Clinton to run for president not as a partner or a proxy, but as her own person." There was not a single shred of evidence to back up the second half of this claim, to the extent that it even was a claim at all and not an insinuation. "The goal" is to position Ms. Clinton to run for President? Really? Whose goal is it? Has she declared she's running? Where's the evidence that this is the calculation? There is none -- none at all -- in the piece. And what does it mean to say that the goal is to "position" her as "her own person"? She's a U.S. Senator, for God's sake. She's already her own person. The central point of the article as expressed here simply had no meaning.

  2. The sourcing in the article was, to put it charitably, extremely dubious. We're told that "people around the Clinton's" see a political calculus at work. But we're never told who these people are and why they'd be in a position to know this, and they're never quoted, even anonymously. Meanwhile, the article says "other friends" say they saw "tension and disappointment" in the marriage. But one "friend" quoted actually suggested the opposite. Calame did criticize some of the sourcing, but he didn't go nearly far enough.
Another problem that Greg missed and Mr Calame didn't address was no comparison was made between the Clinton's relationship and the relationship of other Senators and their spouses. In fact the Clinton's relationship is not that different. Of course if that had been pointed out in the article it would have been obvious that the story was NOT news worthy and in fact was "yellow journalism' at best.

Peter Daou weighs in:
One thing is clear in this ongoing struggle between progressive bloggers and the establishment media: GOP-propping and Dem-trashing is an addiction that won't be relinquished without a fight. It's not a stretch to think that Deborah Howell, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, The Note, David Broder, and other stalwarts of the DC media elite share Joe Klein's disdain for the online community. We are the hated enemy and, truth be damned, they won't let a bunch of creatures from the fever swamp dictate who and what they should write about.

Fine. If it's a fight they want, it's a fight they're surely getting. But as netroots power grows and reality continues to undermine the Bush-loving fantasies of these so-called 'journalists', it isn't hard to guess who will come out on top.

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