Friday, May 20, 2011

Journalistic Greatness
The Fourth Estate is Alive and Well

Various news organizations do great work in uncovering the truth and holding the powerful accountable. What follows are my choices for some of the greatest reporting done over the past few months.


CBS                  60 Minutes uncovered that much of the story in Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, is inaccurate and that his charity mismanages its funds. I read part of the book for a college class. This reporting allows philanthropists to donate their money to more honest and effective organizations.

ABC                 Nightline found that Tax Masters was under investigation for deceptive practices in 2 states. Their customers end up giving large sums of money on Tax Masters and getting no tax relief (their consultants are salesmen, not tax professionals). In the meantime, penalties and interest collect on customer’s debt. Fox News and CNN continue to carry Tax Masters advertisements and accept add money from them, unjustifiably transferring the credibility of their brands to Tax Masters.

NBC                 Andrea Mitchell pushed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on a variety of decisions that were made under his watch in the Bush Administration. He denied creating the Office of Special Plans, denied deciding to invade Iraq immediately after 9/11, and denied that the premature announcement of General Shinseki’s replacement was meant to show that dissent wouldn’t be tolerated on national security issues. I don’t know enough about the Iraq war to gage whether Rumsfeld was being honest, but I do know that Andrea Mitchell’s pursuit of answers shows her master skills as a journalist. My favorite quote from the interview is from Andrea Mitchell, “Mr. Secretary, you know what stove-piping means.”

AJ                     Al Jazeera had a camera-man imprisoned in Guantanamo for 6 years for covering the war in Afghanistan. Al Jazeera had one of its Journalists imprisoned in Iran for reporting on the democratic uprising in Syria. For having the courage to report from dangerous conflict areas and to temporarily lose their liberty in the process, these correspondents for Al Jazeera have shown they are persistent in their pursuit for truth.

Media Commentary

Media Matters            MMFA showed the absurd way that many in the conservative media covered the death of Osama Bin Laden. Some speculated that he might not even be dead, others ignored their own criticism of Obama for saying that he would go into Pakistan without telling the Pakistanis to get a high level terrorist target, and many falsely crediting the success to water-boarding.

Tommy Christopher    Tommy Christopher showed how Olbermann used Twitter to lobby a personal attack upon someone he disagrees with politically by wishing she was never born. This is exactly what bullying looks like. Tommy’s criticism is clear and to the point. His ability to criticize a fellow liberal shows he places fairness above party.

Jon Stewart                 Stewart showed the absurdity of Fox’s attack on the white house for inviting the rapper Common to a poetry reading. The “controversy” distracted from more important issues, was incredibly hypocritical as Fox has had many guests in the past which have advocated violence, and the criteria of Fox’s attack would result in many music greats being barred from the White House.

For No Particular Reason

Steven Colbert            His interview with the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, Austin Goolsbee, is hilarious and shows exactly why the debt ceiling must be raised. You must watch it.

UPDATE (6/20/11): Tax Masters is now advertising on MSNBC too. A pox on all your houses!

Originally posted May 20, 2011

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