Tag: media bias

Why Did the Seattle Times Quote an Agenda-Driven Eco-Zealot in Its Oso Coverage?

When the paper of record for Western Washington needs to sift through the complex circumstances of a natural disaster, where it out-source for wisdom? Why, an environmental extremist, of course.

As dangerous recovery efforts continue in the wake of the tragic Oso landslide, the Seattle Times has begun to weave a narrative about what may have caused the disaster that includes the insights of a lone “expert” who points to logging being a factor, one Paul Kennard.

The encyclopedic mind of Washington Policy Center expert and author of Eco-Fads, Todd Myers, ingested the Times’ story (judging by the papers’ plummeting circulation, yours was not) and choked on the reporters’ decision to use Kennard, a self-outed eco-zealot, as a legitimate source.

From Myers’ excellent article on the WPC website:

…Kennard has a long history of extreme and unscientific attacks on anyone he disagrees with.

Two examples stand out.

First, after the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture was firebombed in 2001, Kennard wrote letters to the editor to both The Seattle Times and Seattle P-I calling the firebombers “eco-patriots.” He wrote:

…I do not condone the burning of libraries (as was reported in the story). However, in a general sense, a strong argument can be made that those who unleash untested genetic engineering products into the natural world for short-term commercial gain are the real eco-terrorists. By extension, those opposed to such risky business are actually eco-patriots.

Setting aside his unscientific claims about “genetic engineering,” he praises those who firebombed the building as “eco-patriots,” limiting his concern to the burning of “libraries.” He also calls scientists working on research he doesn’t like, “terrorists.”

Myers goes on to note that a shared gripe among citizens is the coarsening of political discourse, a complaint the Seattle Times itself has editorialized about. It’s a very real concern to see another case of the traditional media being a willing vehicle for a narrow-minded activist agenda.

In theory, the media’s first order of business is to inform the public; in cases of tragedy that function is even more important. We rely on journalists to sort through a slurry of spin, emotion and real facts. It is irresponsible for the Seattle Times to give such an extreme voice any standing with the public, particularly in a conversation that has real downrange policy implications.

In this case, and so many others, the Times is falling down on the job and doing a disservice to the public.


[featured image: Gov. Inslee Flickr]

One Gaffe, Shame on Obama. Four Gaffes Unreported, Shame on the Media.

Though Vice President Joe Biden has the reputation in the Obama administration for being a veritable gaffe machine, the man at whose pleasure he serves is getting some attention of his own from mainstream media for putting a presidential stamp on mangling the English language.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday on a gaffe uttered by Pres. Barack Obama during his vaunted jobs tour, a clumsy misuse of the word “intercontinental” to describe America’s transcontinental achievement in building a railroad connecting the Western and Eastern United States in the middle of the 19th century.

L.A. Times political commentator Andrew Malcolm proudly wrote with glee about his discovery:

A railroad between continents? A railroad from, say, New York City all the way across the Atlantic to France? Now, THAT would be a bridge!

It’s yet another humorous gaffe by the Harvard graduate, overlooked by most media for whatever reason. Like Obama saying Abraham-Come-Lately Lincoln was the founder of the Republican Party. Or Navy corpseman. Or the Austrian language. Fifty-seven states. The president of Canada. Etc.

Malcolm, of course, is as much the discoverer of a gaffe-prone Obama as Columbus was the discoverer of America. Specifically, this very gaffe has been a habit of Obama and chief political adviser David Axelrod for years. From our story of June 8, 2011:

Warner Todd Huston of Publius’ Forum and John Sexton of Verum Serum have been reporting on a growing ‘intercontinental’ crisis infecting the Obama administration.

Since 2009, Obama and high-level officials within his campaign and White House administrations have cited Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s achievement of pushing through America’s intercontinental railroad as good government policy. In fact, it was not an intercontinental railroad—one that would connect two continents, such as North America and Asia—that Lincoln promoted, but a transcontinental one that traversed our single continent as the Transcontinental Railroad did.

The gaffe was not a one-time slip of the tongue, however. Sexton and Huston have been aided by other bloggers in uncovering at least four separate occasions where the term intercontinental has been misused in the same context.

Obama used the term ‘intercontinental railroad’ in a University of Michigan commencement speech in 2009 and a Florida town hall the same year (jump to 5:10 in video after link). Chief Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod went ‘intercontinental’ at the Aspen Ideas Festival as recently as this past weekend.

Malcolm, we’re just glad you’ve finally arrived.


[photo credit: aelita]

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