shoddy editorializing

Brent Finnegan -- August 4th, 2007

I generally steer clear of the opinion section of the DNR for lots of reasons, but Josh drew my attention to yesterday’s rant about NPR “celebrating” the anniversary of the Chinese army, decrying it as a classic liberal media moment. The writer(s) of the editorial alleges the tease for the NPR story was, “We’ll go to China to celebrate,” because Mona Charen claimed that was what they said.

I just checked the comments on that piece this morning, and the readers ripped it to shreds.

guyslp from Staunton wrote:

It’s official: the last brain cell has died in the DNR editorial board. The only reason that NPR has been considered “left leaning” is because if you scream out a lie long enough, and the public hears it enough, it comes to be perceived as true.

TomB, from H’burg, did some digging and found this on National Review, posted two days prior to the DNR piece. TomB also posted a link to the actual NPR story.

Tom DuVal, General Manager at WMRA, clarified:

The tease for the story actually said, “We’ll go to China for the celebration.” As you can see, that is very different from what Ms. Charen “quoted” (either erroneously or provocatively – your guess) – “to celebrate.” NPR was reporting on the celebration, not doing the celebrating.

Did the DNR editor(s) ever actually hear the NPR tease for themselves, or did they just go by what Mona Charen said? Obviously, writers of opinion-based editorials are not held to the same journalistic standard that reporters ostensibly reporting facts are, but where do you draw the line? Several years ago, a judge in Florida essentially ruled that it’s ok for news organizations to intentionally publish false information, so maybe there is no line.

Gxeremio has posted about the DNR opinion pages here before.

Thanks to TomB for taking the time to dig that stuff up.

9 Responses to “shoddy editorializing”

  1. Dennis Neal says:

    These twits give editorial writing a bad name.

  2. JGFitzgerald says:

    Twits, plural? Not exactly. There’s just one guy named George Duncan whose job it is to satisfy a boss in Winchester and little else. The rather cold-blooded calculation is that a locality like this one still needs a daily for grocery ads, want ads, obituaries, high school sports, and cop news. So long as that need exists, people will continue to subscribe to the thing for less than a buck a week despite an editorial page that should be an embarrassment to the Byrd family in its mean spiritedness if nothing else.

    It’s kind of a release sometimes to rant without restraint against those who annoy you. Many blog posts exhibit that. But the questions for me is whether former Sen. Harry Byrd, his son Tom, and Duncan have a greater responsibility than just what they can get away with. Obviously if they feel such a responsibility, they haven’t shown it.

  3. Benny Neal says:

    Lovely, indeed.

  4. Del Marvel says:

    Am I imagining things, or has there been a change in the format of the DN-R starting this morning? The font seems larger, there seems to be less content and there are no national or international stories at all on the front page. It looks like a weekly shopper rag. Maybe just a slow news day?

  5. TomB says:

    I’ll be honest, this piece got me so riled up I let NPR know about it. I’m guessing thats how Tom DuVal was notified and why he posted his comment.

  6. TomB says:

    Some of you may appreciate my last comment in this thread:
    http://www.dnronline.com/opinion_details.php?AID=11660&CHID=&sub=

  7. Del Marvel says:

    “Some of you may appreciate my last comment in this thread:”

    I don’t get it.

  8. finnegan says:

    @ Del – email me.

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