Sunday, February 22, 2009

This is a NEWS story?

I am no longer a terribly politically active person. When I was 16 years old, I lived and breathed politics. That proved to be a little too much exposure, so I tapped out and started breathing oxygen (and baseball) again instead.

I do vote, obviously. I do my homework on the people and issues that appear on my ballots, but I tend to shy away from political blogging and discourse.

And I read newspapers - it would be really hard to get through journalism school without doing that! Speaking of journalism school, don't they teach students about attribution of other words, that you can't just stick a heated personal opinion into a news story unless it's someone else's viewpoint?

Journalism students are also taught to avoid presuming to know what someone is thinking unless that person TELLS the writer what he/she is thinking.

These things must not apply if a writer works for the New York Times. If the basic principles taught to FRESHMEN had to be followed by NYT writers, the following paragraph would probably not exist (emphasis mine):

Yet Mr. Obama will inflate his challenge by forsaking several gimmicks that President Bush used to make deficits look smaller. He will include war costs in the budget; Mr. Bush did not, and instead sought supplemental money from Congress each year. Mr. Obama also will not count savings from laws that establish lower Medicare payments for doctors and expand the alternative minimum tax to hit more taxpayers — both of which Mr. Bush and Congress routinely took credit for, while knowing they would later waive the laws to raise doctors’ payments and limit the reach of the tax.

(From this article - note that it does NOT appear in the Op-Ed section.)

This isn't a political thing. I have my views about President Obama, and I had my views about President Bush. Those views are irrelevant here, because this is about journalism.

Listen, Jackie Calmes, if you wish to call parts of Bush's budgetary strategy "gimmicks," you might want to either write that in an Op-Ed piece or find someone else to say it, and then quote that person. "Gimmick" lord, what a charged word that is.

And perhaps President Bush and Congress knew all along that they would eventually waive those Medicare laws, but YOU cannot be the one who decides that and reports it that way. Any halfway astute journalism student could tell you that it would be more responsible to get a quote from either Bush or a Congressman that actually said, firsthand, that they know what? I'm done with this battle.

Sadly, I think that the NYT is beyond help. And again, this isn't a "leftward bias" thing. I don't want the paper to lean further to the right, or anything like that. I just wish it would even give the appearance of adhering to journalistic standards, instead of falling all over Obama and shitting upon Bush at every opportunity.

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