Instead, Argument With Few Facts
Advocacy Journalism without Full Fact Background
Perception Management, Opinion or Argument,
In the misleading guise of "News"
We see no obligation on the part of AP to disinterested, objective information at all. Just market share. See its mission below. We see no reporters represented - so far - (have to Google the directors who so far look like the CEO's). Is there any outside news-auditor to spot tilt. Let us know. What we see: Just put out the entertainment, the moneymaker versions of stories, spun as needed to make the shareholders happy, what serves the private interests of the private owners.
The nature of AP came up this morning: with a syndicated argument in the form of a news story; one with "Fact Check" in the title, and directed as though it were an analysis of Obama's Congress speech. But the facts offered were so paltry as to only support the argument already given.
Then we asked:
Is that "Fact Check" in the title the same as "FactCheck" the organization, the Annenberg public interest group that has as one of its public interest functions checking what politicos say? We looked them up. At FactCheck, facts are indeed given for many sides of an issue, and in detail, before a position is concluded, an "argument" presented.
Who is what?
a) Fact Check, with groups using that combination of words including AP, a private commercial business, an argument presentation group that syndicates stories to persuade people that have in the title often the words "Fact Check;" and then
b) The real FactCheck.org, an arm of the public interest Annenberg Foundation.
We looked into each.
1. Fact Check
This phrase can be used by anyone who uses the two words separated out - here we focus on its use is by Associated Press. Others have used it as well, see YouTube, at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGIqGaWZOo0/ Support for McCain during the campaign, right-leaning others later; such as tilt-coverage of Obama's speech to Congress.
By using the term, the AP and any other user suggests it is indeed "fact checking" - but in the case of the AP, the story will get picked up just because it is AP with long and many tentacles. See it at ://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29377101/
2. Compare: Mission Statements of the Associated Press and the Annenberg Foundation
Mission statements have no teeth, but at least lay out a non-binding front for an organization's Objectives: People and information, or Profit for business shareholders, for example.
AP uses the phrase "Fact Check." Do they mean well? Is their interest in dominating the news market, monopolies really, in your interest? The AP mission statement is profit, market share, to be the essential global news network, at ://www.ap.org/pages/about/about.html/
"AP's mission is to be the essential global news network, providing distinctive news services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity, with reports that are accurate, balanced and informed. ***" (emphasis added)
The statement continues including these: "AP is owned by its 1,500 U.S. daily newspaper members" and "On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP."
The Annenberg Foundation sponsors FactCheck, one word. It's mission statement is to advance the public well-being, serve the public interest, at ://www.annenbergfoundation.org/
"The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication." (emphasis added)
FactCheck is clearly different - Annenberg. Find it at FactCheck.org. on the net. Who you gonna trust?
Why bother distinguishing? Because it is a matter of truth in disclosure. Who finances certain news overage counts in our assessment of its neutrality, just as which drug companies finance which testing counts in our assessment of the reliability of the reported results.
4. Fact Check and FactCheck.
There is a difference in coverage, intent, and spin. So far, we think this is true:
Go to Fact Check for the tighty whiteys (is that so, or is our fiirst impression too surface?); but go to FactCheck for an analysis of Democracy's issues, what supports this view, what does not, where did a speaker lead us astray and where is the criticism of that speaker itself astray.
AP Fact Check.
1. See their recent account of the hollowness of President Obama's speech to Congress and the selection of items in support, offered in isolation without discussion of a totality, featured as the headliner this morning on Google News home page, and now at ://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090225/ap_on_go_pr_wh/fact_check_obama/
The odd thng is that we looked back at the Google site a few minutes ago, and it was gone from the Google main news page - vanished. Usually one story replaces another as a reader goes back, for the variety, but this time we could not find the AP one anywhere.
2. Thank heavens, because it did not qualify as "news." It is not the facts for the equivalent of a memorandum of law, or a brief; it is "argument" as lawyers say. Nonetheless, either the AP version
a) will be picked up anyway just because AP owns the media; or
b) has been killed (a righteous kill) in enough places, and
c) that also means somebody is censoring the AP?
3. Thank heavens, one might say again in an unthinking way; but the main point is that the story itself looked so flawed even to us, that we are grateful someone did quality control. We are so sick of newsspin masquerading as objectivity that we could spit. So mad I could spit, my feisty Grandma used to say in private, when her usual dignity shield could be set aside.
5. Who is the AP?
Whoever, they self-puff. They appear red in inclination, see the list of directors below and where most of them are from; or look up their own or their businesses' shareholder interests, in putting out news the shareholders want. Is that so?
See their website at ://www.ap.org/pages/about/about.html/ They are indeed a fixture in the news pulp entertainment business . Everybody knows AP. It stuffs our "news" papers all the time - in the form of the syndicated versions of news free of local reporters analyzing, local investigative reporters keeping the AP honest. Our local is the Hartford Courant, owned by Sam Zell - not a happy marriage.
We had thought the AP was made up of actual reporters, out there reporting. Reporters deciding what would be sent out under their name. Not so?
Who are the 1500 members who are themselves newspapers - the owners, not the reporters - and is anyone there more interested in news than in the benefits of shareholding? News is just another commodity?
We have profit, media and entertainment people mostly, directing what citizens need to know. Is that so, because they make more money that way? Is that why we need NPR and Public TV to be funded equally?
The AP is a co-op. Will anyone ever fly the coop, or is everyone indoctrinated?
Look up Associated Press and find that it is indeed a co-op, with 1500 members and a board of directors as listed at their ap.org website at ://www.ap.org/pages/about/board.html.
- Who gets to join? The owner of just any newspaper? Need to find out. We believe, however, that reporters are not welcome, that once were hired to do the news gathering and reporting at the papers now in the AP standing alone, like the cheese.
The board. More media owners, not the ones collecting the news. The sifters.
See anyone you know? As we suspected as we held our breath scrolling down, tbe board includes our Sam Zell, the Tribune Company (in bankruptcy) and an advocate of one individual or media component owning all the others in the region so that one viewpoint can be more effectively planted; and these others: media and entertainment people it looks like. See FodderSight, Sam Zell and the Shareholders.
With this list, we now will probablly have to Google everybody and their organization now; and how many reporters each has fired/ laid off. With none of their own reporters, who gets and writes the stories? Is anyone independent of media financial interests.
We do see a range of kinds of papers: but with cannon to the right of them, vastly outnumbering cannon to the left of them, you can imagine whose volley thunders in the valley.
- David Westin, ABC (news president) (NY NY)
- William Singleton, as CHAIRMAN OF AP, MediaNews Group (Denver CO)
- Mary Junck, Lee Enterprises (Davenport IA)
- Donna Barrett, Community Newspaper Holdings (Birmingham, AL)
- Craig Dubow, Gannett (McLean VA)
- Jack Fishman, Citizen Tribune (Morristown TN)
- Walter Hussman, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)
- Julie Inskeep, The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne IN)
- Mary Jacobus, NYT Regional Media Group (region Tampa FL)
- Boisfeuillet (Bo) Jones, Washington Post (Wash.DC) - Boisfeuillet - woods+leaves something? musty piles that turn rustly in the fall? There must be a story here - quick, report it as news and entertain people and take space away from democracy's business! Can I do it? Huh? Please? Can I write something? Pleaseplease?
- David Lord, Pioneer Newspapers (Seattle WA)
- R. John Mitchell, Rutland Herald (Rutland VA)
- Steven Newhouse, Advance Net (NY NY)
- Charles Pittman, Schurz Communications (South Bend IN)
- Gary Pruitt, The McClatchy Company (Sacramento CA)
- Michael Reed, Gatehouse Media (Fairport NY) (that is next to Balanced)
- Bruce Reese, Bonneville International (Salt Lake City UT)
- H. Graham Woodlief, Media General (Richmond VA)
- Jon Rust, Rust Communications (Cape Girardeau MO)
- Sam Zell, The Tribune (Chicago IL) (see FodderSight, Sam Zell and the Ghost of News Future.
6. Advocacy is fine, but disclose it.
The point here is that advocacy journalism is fine so long as people also have simultaneous access to the full, objective story so they can measure what the advocates are saying. Here, spin is put out as "news." Tell that to Lou the Loud. Does he get the difference?
AP. Talk about Propaganda Opportunity Time (POT) - perception management systems (PMS), persuasion control (PC), they have it all.
Read that Obama piece, about the speech to Congress. POT, PMS and PC abounding.
Conclusion: AP's Fact Check cherrypicks and offers one-liners about how something is not true in one light, if only certain facts are considered; without showing how the statement or issue is also true in another light - when other facts are considered. Fine. Free speech, but this group is syndicated so much that readers of newspapers should be given free computers just to fact check Fact Check. Misappropriation of the name? It is at least misleading.
The Bias Cross-Pollination Group. Time to rename.
FactCheck. The place to go. As in factcheck.org/ Remember. That is the Annenberg Center. See ://www.opednews.com/articles/ANOTHER-EXAMPLE-OF-ASSOCIA-by-JOHN-LORENZ-080824-408.html/ FacCheck. Neutral. Neutral statement of facts - Just as a lawyer's Statement of Facts in a Memorandum of Law is supposed to be complete, and Argument stemming only thereafter, from the Facts selected from the whole.
What to do with Fact Check the Tilted? To find the tilts in Fact Check you have to go to FactCheck.Org.
And to do that, we need computers in every home, a geek in every neighborhood to keep the computers going, swap shops like the yellow bikes in Portland - pick one up anywhere, use it, then leave it off somewhere else. See online access for every voter at FodderSight.
Fact. It is time to be afraid. Very afraid.
Check. That is you, written off, your interest in neutral information a threat to the shareholders
Checkmate. One source, one interpretation, control. They are halfway there.
FN 1 Post Script News - keyword - Wishful Thinking
Readers, held captive in areas with only one news media owner for the paper, the tube and the raddy-o, also remain concerned that the tilty content has not changed. CINS is applying for membership in the renamed organization, and will keep a log of events and procedures, and standards for publication or rejection of stories.
End of CINS News Group Wire Services account