Friday, September 18, 2015

4th Estate Sale

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Oh, whither hast thou gone, O journalists of yore?  Where neither pearls nor rubies once swayed you from tracking down & reporting all the news that's fit to print, now you print the news that fudges the lines & obscures the facts.  

Maybe that's one reason I was so SHOCKED by the NY Times' Editorial Board calling out of the GOP debates.  Whither The Times I've come to know & find lacking in spine or even basic accuracy.  

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Well, that Times isn't far, as close as the 09/17/15 FirstDraft article, Carly Fiorina Said to Exaggerate Content of Planned Parenthood Videos.  Where to even start, when the headline itself is such a head spinner.

It is not alone.  I've yet to come across a fact-finding site that rates Mrs. Fiorina's statement any harsher than "mostly false," when in point of fact it is ENTIRELY false.  Clearly, she is not going to dare double dare Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton to watch the videos if she hasn't already.  But that is the defense folks are making - she might have been making good use of her staff, having them brief her on images she didn't actually see.  

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It's a shock that Mrs. Fiorina's advanced degree is in tech, not law, 'cause she sure knows how to skirt an issue without actually saying anything flat out wrong.  Hey, she doesn't flat-out say she watched the videos, just dares the president & HRC to check them out.  

The Times - purportedly "the paper of record" - expects us to believe that a) they didn't know there isn't any portion of any video that shows “... a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain," and b) its staff reporters don't know the footage that did include a still photo & accompanying (unsubstantiated) narrative wasn't even from the discredited videos, but from yet ANOTHER one that included additional material from a totally different, uncredited, undifferentiated source. Shallow shabby shoddy reporting from a paper that has a reputation for clarity & credibility.

Call me picky, but when someone running to be her party's presidential candidate says, "I’m sitting there and I’m looking at ...", if what she claims to be looking at doesn't even exist, then she is what was once called liar liar pants on fire.  

I get why network & cable news shows softball & soft lens questions - they want their guests to come back another time.  But why would the Grey Lady act in such an lily-livered, amateur hour fashion?     

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The Times opines, "The group claims that Planned Parenthood’s clinics are selling tissue from aborted fetuses for profit, a charge Planned Parenthood denies," then fails to mention that every state - and there have been quite a few - that's set out to substantiate the lurid claims & bring down the loathed organization has failed.  That little bit of information is needed in the piece or else it comes across like a "he says/she says" scenario - "Hey, this group says this & that group says that & poor little ol' trained journalists like us just don't know WHICH to believe."

At least the article went onto note that the scene she watches "others" (aka President Obama & HRC) to see isn't IN any of the PP videos & that Politifact rated her statement "mostly false" (which part wasn't??).  I can understand why "Mrs. Fiorina's campaign did not respond when asked to explain exactly what she was referring to in the debate."  

By the end of FirstDraft, it's pretty clear the writer didn't put any faith in Mrs. Fiorina's "mostly false" statement, so not clear why the lead paragraph hedges & haws.  Hullo - if you can figure out that the scene she describes & implies she saw with her own eyes doesn't even EXIST, then the wording even lowly writers such as yours truly would use is lie lying liar.

Tis a pity to see The Grey Lady sell her soul for the sake of...  who knows.  It is to weep.

P.S.   At least it ends with an important, widely overlooked (pointed it out on FB hours ago) tidbit.  "Some critics on Twitter suggested that while Mrs. Fiorina was trying to solidify her anti-abortion credentials, a true anti-abortion campaigner would have used the word 'baby' rather than fetus when describing the imagery."  In fact, they would always use baby or the unborn in place of  fetus.




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