Thursday, August 25, 2005

Perspective on Churchill 

Jim Paine at Pirate Ballerina has made Ward Churchill coverage his only goal, and stepping back today he offers a devastating critique of the Denver Post's coverage of the recent news of the University of Colorado's preliminary finding that seven of nine charges against Churchill should be referred to a second committee for adjudication and recommendation for action against him.
Our outrage centers not on Churchill's spin of the story�which ignores the remaining seven allegations (mostly of plagiarism and historical fabrication), and instead highlights the dropping of the ethnic fraud charge�but rather the media's willing acceptance of that spin. No corporate flack, no sticky-fingered politician, no university president could ever expect from the media that kind of unquestioning acceptance of their version of the story. Yet this same media hands Churchill the first PR victory he has had since this story broke back in January.

Readers of PirateBallerina are already aware of the Denver Post's series of mash notes to Churchill..., and it should come as no surprise that the Post's coverage of the inquiry results followed the Churchill spin so faithfully that Churchill's attorney David Lane should have gotten a byline (with the actual content, of course, ghost-written by Churchill).

But that's no surprise; we've come to expect slavering adulation of Churchill from the Post. It's the Associated Press' equally-gullible coverage of the inquiry results that is far more troubling, if for no other reason than the AP story was picked up by at least a hundred newspapers and TV/radio stations. It was the AP version that most people have read or heard. Talk about a lie getting 'round the world before the truth gets its boots pulled on.
Jim is in no mood to link to the Post, so I have. (Ironically, its home page advertises is as "Voted best Colorado website by the Associated Press." Smoochie boochies for you!) The article's headline is "Tentative 'Victory' for Prof". The AP story runs in Newsday with the headline "School Drops Probe of Professor's Ethnicity." It take eight paragraphs to get a single sentence referring to the other seven charges going forward. The same story appears in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jim continues:
Even the most humble small-town newspaper reporter knows that he can't uncritically accept a newsmaker's version of a story. It's necessary to find opposing views and perspectives, and when facts contrary to the politician's assertions are discovered, they must be dutifully reported. The same applies whenever someone says anything "newsworthy."

It's safe to say that the Denver Post is no small-town newspaper. Nor is the Associated Press.

It's worth reminding our readers of the "uncritical" nature of the AP. John Hinderaker at PowerLine has covered this story for years regarding Iraq, the economy, and President Bush. This is just one more example for John's thesis that the Associated Press "is the nation's worst source of media bias."