Accuracy in Media

“That’s completely false,” said Tiger Woods.  “It’s 100 per cent false, actually. It’s amazing how the media can quote false things like that and not be held accountable . . . which I think is just incredible.”  No, he wasn’t talking about the CBS Rathergate memo scandal.  He was referring to a Boston Herald report that he had broken up with his fianc?e.

In the Rathergate scandal, papers like the Washington Post were quick to accept the CBS documents as authentic.  On September 9, in a front-page story above the fold, Michael Dobbs and Thomas B. Edsall reported that Bush “failed to carry out a direct order,” according to “documents made public yesterday.”  The next day, Michael Dobbs and Mike Allen of the Post were reporting that the documents may have been forged.  Soon, the paper was closing in on Rather’s dubious source for the documents.

In another media scandal, the newspaper Newsday has been caught in the act of overstating its circulation in order to generate more advertising dollars.  Its daily circulation was overstated by 40,000 copies and its Sunday circulation was overstated by 60,000.  A Spanish-language sister paper was inflated by 15,000 daily and 4,000 on Sunday.  The Tribune company is setting aside as much as $95 million to settle with advertisers who were deceived.

In yet another media scandal, former Congressman Gary Condit has collected an undisclosed sum of money from supermarket tabloids that falsely suggested he was involved in the disappearance or murder of his former intern Chandra Levy.  Condit sued the papers for $209 million.  Condit is suing author Dominick Dunne for $11 million for comments he mad about the case.

In another case of media malfeasance, Washington Post columnist David Broder mangled the facts in a story about how veterans regard Kerry and Bush.  Broder quoted one anti-Kerry vet as asking, “Do you know that [the rally of disenchanted Vietnam vets Kerry attended in 1971] actually advocated assassination of United States senators?  That reference to a rally of “disenchanted Vietnam vets” was inserted by Broder. But what the vet described was a meeting of Kerry’s Vietnam Veterans Against the War.  Kerry initially denied being at a small meeting where the killing of U.S. Senators supporting the Vietnam War was discussed.  FBI documents showed that Kerry had indeed been there. This should be a major story, but it isn’t.

In the same paper, columnist Harold Meyerson has written two columns referring to Republicans as McCarthyites for criticizing John Kerry, the Democratic Party, or its major funder, George Soros.  Meyerson was particularly angry that House Speaker Hastert had said he didn’t know if Soros was using drug money to finance anti-Bush campaign commercials.  Meyerson’s defense of Soros ignored how the billionaire invested some of his money in the narco-state of Colombia during a time when the drug cartels were taking over the major banks, and how Soros runs an unregulated hedge-fund for the super-rich in the Netherlands Antilles, a known center of money laundering.  Soros denies any wrong-doing or ties to drug cartels.

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