Sunday, August 03, 2008

Raleigh N&O standards & the historian

Ted Vaden, public editor of the McClatchy Company’s liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer, today seeks to explain why the N&O was so late in reporting anything on the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair story.

Vaden’s column includes this:

The Edwards story -- or, maybe, nonstory -- is a good illustration of the dilemma the "mainstream media" increasingly face operating in a no-holds-barred, 24-7, instant-news environment. Newspapers and other media that once were news gatekeepers -- applying traditional standards of fact-finding and verification -- are finding themselves guarding the gate to a news corral that has been stampeded by bloggers, cable "news," talk radio and, in this case, tabloids.
I’ll comment on the N&O in regard to the Edwards-Hunter affair late this evening.

In this post I just want to pick up on Vaden’s puffery about "’mainstream media’ . . .applying traditional standards of fact-finding and verification” as they bravely defend the public from the stampeding heathen hordes of “bloggers, cable ‘news,’ talk radio and, . . . tabloids.”

There’s a very good example of McClatchy’s and the N&O’s “traditional standards of fact-finding and verification” available to you on pg. 3A of today’s Anything for Obama N&O. Across all six column and at the top of the page is the headline:
Presidents don't always live up to resume, scholars say
The story under McClatchy Newspapers' David Lightman’s byline begins:
Many undecided voters have a common concern when they size up Barack Obama: his inexperience.

"I have nothing against Obama. I just think John McCain has more experience," said Steve Viernacki, an Ashley, Pa., restaurant owner.

Experts say that such worries are overblown.

"Experience matters, but its importance is terribly overstated," said historian Robert Dallek, the author of recent books about Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

Presidents with sterling resumes often have turned out to be busts, usually because they lacked the key quality a good president needs: sound judgment.
The rest of the story’s here.

It reads like an Obama campaign infomercial. But I’m sure others will disagree. Some Obama supporters may even think the story isn’t respectful enough of the Senator.

But all of us who read the story through to the end will be able to agree that nowhere in the story do McClatchy and the N&O tell readers that “historian Robert Dallek” is an enthusiastic Obama supporter.

To find that confirmed and learn more about McClatchy's “traditional standards of fact-finding and verification” go to Kevin Gregory’s fine post at McClatchy Watch.

Ted Vaden's entire column's here.