Accuracy in Media

New York’s Daily News is notable this week for nothing so much as its relentless attacks on Sarah Palin.  There seems to be no end to the list of cruel articles meant to tear Palin apart this week. 

Daily News writers Amy Diluna and Jacob E. Osterhout write about Palin’s interview with Oprah, criticizing her look (“We get that the RNC isn’t footing the bill for this one — but while you were in New York, might we have pointed you toward an H&M?” they ask), her voice (“a nasal nightmare”), and her family life.  They even manage to diss Palin’s fashion AND about half of America in one fell swoop: “In a sharp blue power suit (hey, the red-staters are already going to buy her book), black stockings and artfully tousled hair, she locked eyes on Oprah and didn’t waver,” they write.

Michael Mcauliff had more to add: “In case all the publicity around her new book is going to her head, Sarah Palin is receiving some sobering news in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll: She’s not all that popular,” he writes.

Daily News staff writer Sherryl Connelly used her platform as an ostensible reporter to call Palin the “complainer in chief” who is “a chronic complainer.”  “The news from the book has already spilled, and it is essentially this: John McCain’s senior aides were mean to her. Katie Couric was mean to her. Her critics, who are by definition supposed to be mean, were mean to her… Palin has no insight whatsoever into the fact that to much of the nation, she was a natural joke, not a scripted one,” Sherryl writes.

Staff writer Lia Eustachewich takes apparent pleasure in quoting Levi Johnston, father of Palin’s grandchild:

“I think she’s going out and talking, and she’s just digging a bigger hole for herself,” said Johnston, who claimed he was disgusted by Palin’s interview. “It’s almost funny, that she’s like, 46 years old, and she’s battling a 19 year old, and I’m winning. And I’m telling the truth. She’s lying and losing.”

Palin went on to publicly invite Johnston to Thanksgiving dinner, which he declined in his Playgirl interview, saying that it would be “awkward” and that Palin is “full of it.”

Staff writer David Hinckley writes of Palin dripping with sarcasm and disdain:

As with Oprah Winfrey yesterday, Palin played the schoolgirl waiting by the phone when it comes to her future. Why, she hardly has any plans at all, she suggested, but so many wonderful opportunities have popped up in her life that gosh, nothing would surprise her. She could be asked to play point guard for the Lakers. She could be asked to run for President. Who knows?

Her interview with Walters, which is running in multiple parts, was in many ways a condensed and thus improved version of her hour with Oprah Winfrey yesterday.

Polite and balanced, don’t you think?  Hinckley wrote another article about the Oprah interview calling Oprah a great hostess, essentially for putting up with Sarah Palin. 

Richard Cohen writes that Palin has been “clearly seen as an empty vessel who could be controlled by her intellectual betters.”  He calls Palin a “demagogue” who is “not…very responsible,” and accuses her supporters of being “irrational.” 

The most balanced article by far was by Lauren Johnston, about Palin’s first day on tour with her book; another decent and relatively unbiased article was by David Saltonstall.  A runner up for balance was by political correspondent Michael Saul, discussing Palin’s future.  But Saul made up for this shocking balance by writing in another article that Palin was “continuing the feud” between herself and Levi Johnston.  Of course, it was Palin who invited Johnston over for Thanksgiving, and Johnston who said that Palin was “full of it,” but Saul hardly points that out.  Saul also includes multiple quotations in defense of Johnston’s nude poses for Playgirl, as if to imply that Palin is so stupid she doesn’t even understand that “Playgirl, Playboy, most of those magazines, they are not porn.”  However, I know for a fact that many people in America consider Playboy a porn magazine.

The Daily News website also includes a fun “Palin-tology” quiz that asks such kind and unbiased questions as:

3. Which of the following colleges did Palin NOT attend?
a. University of Idaho
b. Hawaii Pacific University
c. North Idaho College
d. Harvey Mudd College
e. Matanuska-Susitna College

 6. Which book did Palin ban from the Wasilla Library when she was mayor?

a. Huckleberry Finn
b. Lolita
c. Harry Potter
d. None

“D” is the answer to both of those questions, in case you were wondering. 

The Daily News is responsible for some extreme bias when it comes to coverage of Sarah Palin—and the problem doesn’t appear to be with only one or two staff members.  From the looks of it, many if not most of the staff on the paper is rabidly anti-Palin.  This is interesting because many of the polls from the site show strong support for Palin.  Why is the Daily News isolating its readers in this way?

Once again, there are two options here.  Either the writers for the Daily News are unaware of their polls, which show that many of their readers support Palin, or they honestly don’t care about the leanings of their readers or their commitment to unbiased journalism, and are simply trying to stir up anti-Palin feelings.  Either way, it doesn’t say very good things about the Daily News.


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