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Sunday, March 15, 2009
Us. vs. The AIM Intern
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Uh-oh -- we've been called out by the AIM intern.

In a March 6 post Aaron Saltsman -- "intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia" -- wonders why nobody is answering the questions he threw out for discussion in an earlier post. He goes on to list ConWebWatch among the organizations that "spare no time attacking Accuracy in Media whenever they can."

We'll ignore the logical contradiction of what he wrote and focus on he actually meant to say. We don't attack AIM mindlessly; we use our platform responsibly to point out AIM's factual misrepesentations and paranoid rantings.

Saltzman also describes me as "a professional attack-dog blogger" (Saltzman clearly knows little about the economics of blogging) who "has attacked little ol’ me personally ... and I’m just an intern!" Again, we didn't criticize Saltzman willy-nilly; we merely highlighted Saltzman's baseless rant against a newspaper reporter who wrote something he didn't agree with.

Anyway, Saltzman is pondering why nobody's answering his questions, which are:

  • How do you justify the left wing media bias conservatives nationwide observe in outlets like CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times?
  • How do you justify the Democrats' stimulus package, including TARP? How do you see it helping out the country when even the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized TARP's effectiveness, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the stimulus will generate long term economic losses and reduced wages?
  • The Republican Party's fiscal platform emphasizes focusing the decision-making on state and local governments, rather than the federal House, Senate and President's office. Do you disagree with that ideology? If so, why?

We don't really do policy, so question two and three are out. That leaves us with question one, and we question the premise.

Even Tim Graham, director of media analysis at AIM rival group the Media Research Center, conceded in 2006 that "the great majority of what we watch and read is not noticeably unfair or inaccurate." And it can be argued that Media Matters has found at least as many examples of conservative misinformation in the "mainstream media" than AIM and the MRC found of "left-wing bias,"which would seem to put the lie to the claim that the mainstream media is "left wing."

The problem with the media is less one of bias and more one of lazy or sloppy reporting. While the personal beliefs of many people in the media may skew liberal, part of journalists' training is the ability to keep personal beliefs out of their reporting. A quick perusal of conservative "news" sites like Newsmax, WorldNetDaily and would seem to confirm the idea that conservative reporters are less able to keep personal views from coloring their reporting than liberal ones are.

I worked as journalist for 17 years, so I know this firsthand. Saltzman is working for an advocacy organization and reflects that organization's agenda; he does not, as far as we know, have any actual journalistic experience. His idea of journalistic "balance," we suspect, is figuring out ways for conservative messages to prevail.

There's your answer, Aaron.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EDT

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