Last Saturday, I blogged about the AP’s dropping of any pretense of objectivity, and presented as evidence a piece written by Jennifer Loven, the headline of which read “Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches.” In that blogpost, I noted with links as to how Loven herself was the one engaging in a strawman argument, and also pointed to post written by John at Powerline back in September 2004 which noted Loven’s DNC talking-points-style of reporting.
Well apparently, Loven created quite a stir with her supposedly ‘objective news piece’ on the President and alleged strawmen, so much so to the point that AP spokesmen were put in the position of having to respond to the criticism. Their response? To paraphrase: “We want more of that style of reporting.” I kid you not. Via The Editor and Publisher (emphasis added):
The article has drawn reactions ranging from a supportive mass e-mailing from MoveOn.org to criticism by the conservative Powerline blog and American Federalist Journal. But an AP spokesman says editors want more of these types of wire stories.
AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said the piece was “a good way to explain to readers what rhetorical devices people, in this case the president, use to make their point.” She also did not believe the article should have been labeled opinion or needed to include any White House comment. “This was not a piece that was critical, it was explanatory,” Carroll said.
But the point wasn’t about whether or not the story was critical, but whether or not it was objective. It was not.
In a statement, AP spokesman Jack Stokes wrote: “Jennifer Loven’s story was one of an ongoing series of fact-checking stories that dig beyond the rhetoric. Editors tell us they want more of these stories.” But Stokes did not comment on what kind of reaction the piece had sparked from readers or editors.
‘More! We want more!’
Just what group happened to be among the first to throw their support behind Loven? None other than liar-supporters Move-On.org:
MoveOn.org’s Media Action sent an e-mail to media outlets urging support for Loven, claiming “some reporters take notes on what President Bush says and don’t bother to research what is and isn’t true. But the AP took a bold step this week and engaged in exactly the sort of strong watchdog journalism MoveOn Media Action members have been calling for.”
Moveon also set up a Web page where readers could find an e-mail address to write to AP and send their support for Loven’s piece.
I have a better idea. Here’s how to contact the AP:
1. How do I send a correction or letter to the editor?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded to the reporter or editor.
Tell them what you think of Loven’s obviously biased reporting – if you’re concerned with the fact that AP spokespeople want “more” of these type of hit pieces posted, let them know your feelings on that, too.
It means we must be fair. Whenever we portray someone in a negative light, we must make a real effort to obtain a response from that person. When mistakes are made, they must be corrected â€“ fully, quickly and ungrudgingly.
Surber also makes a great point (one of several in that post):
Seems to me that showing the president in a negative light requires that the president or his people be given an opportunity to respond. There was no deadline to the story — it is not breaking news — so Loven has no excuse not to get the other side. She covers the White House. Surely she has the cell phone number of Scott McClellan.
Yep. But in retrospect, knowing what we know now about how the AP is desirous of “more” of this style of reporting, why would Loven – or anyone else who wants to write an error-filled hit piece on the President – even feel the need to ‘present the other side’? They’ve got the blessings of AP editors behind them to continue along this opinion-style objective journalism (yes, I know that’s an oxymoron of sorts, but there’s no other way to describe it) so I hardly think Loven or any other ‘reporter’ who wanted to write this type of story will feel compelled to get the ‘other side’ of it.