Saturday, June 17, 2006

Media Matters

Jamison Foser's call to arms.

Too few of you have bought Boehlert's book. Bad readers.

Support those who are trying to make the press better.

Jamison writes:

Former Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler, who now holds that position for the Public Broadcasting System, recently criticized Boehlert's Lapdogs, arguing that the book doesn't prove "that the press rolled over for Bush" because that "would mean knowing what was inside the heads of producers and editors at the time their news decisions were made." In response, Boehlert wrote: "I don't buy it. Journalists should be judged on the work they produce, not what's inside their heads while they're producing it." We at Media Matters agree completely. We can't know precisely what reporters are thinking and feeling while working on a story, even if we wanted to. Instead, while the Right launches allegations of "bias," we focus on content, not intent. Boehlert may not know why "the press rolled over for Bush" -- but it's clear after reading his book that they did.

New York Times public editor Byron Calame recently said at a journalism conference that "cheapened" feedback from Media Matters readers goes "straight into a folder," and suggested that Media Matters readers are insufficiently "thoughtful."

And that's one of the nicer reactions we've gotten recently.

ABC's Jake Tapper, whose false statements downplaying the White House's now-broken pledge to fire anyone involved in outing Valerie Plame we have repeatedly had to correct, lashed out at us this week. Again. Tapper has now accused us of "dishonesty" and "partisan martyrdom," which he says is an effort to fill our "professional coffers." He has said we are "clearly all-too-eager to engage in standards more fit to last-minute political attack ads than to fair and objective journalism." He has called us "partisan hacks" who "find conservative media bias in every reporter's ampersand." But while Tapper stoops to name-calling, Media Matters has stuck to the facts. Contrary to his suggestion that we allege "conservative media bias," we have done nothing of the kind. We've said he got something wrong, and we've provided facts to support that position. Like we said: We focus on content, not intent. But some reporters -- and Tapper seems to be one of them -- just can't stand to be told they are wrong. They lash out, they call names, and they claim we are doing something we aren't.

That's fine. We aren't going away, and neither should you.