News

Winners and losers is a familiar journalistic story construction that often oversimplifies situations. The September 25 Washington Post dubbed motorists the big losers and oil companies the clear winners in U.S. gas prices, turning the free market into a battlefield. Justin Blums article, headlined "Gas Profit Guzzlers," was based on the fact that the recent rise in gasoline prices has not benefited everyone in the production and distribution chain equally. Thus began an unfair distribution of commentary on the market forces at work, including a reference to the economic laws of supply and demand as the view of oil refiners... continue reading
Doctors and manufacturers are colluding against patients and the hospitals that serve them, according to the September 22 New York Times. The Times article cited a climate of secrecy between doctors and manufactures causing increased costs, but story left out almost any reference to the patients themselves and bypassed several possible reasons why costs might have increased. The article, Possible Conflicts for Doctors Are Seen on Medical Devices, spent 3,207 words criticizing doctors and medical device manufacturers without even once speaking with patients who had benefited from the medical advances. Times reporter Reed Abelson claimed there were several ways that... continue reading
The Picture of Hype Networks show exaggerated video of highest gas prices, hyping daily increases but glossing over the recent steady decline. Inflation is a dirty word in business reporting except when its the journalists themselves doing the inflating. In the recent Katrina-driven gas scare, network news shows pumped up actual gas prices an average of 75 cents higher than any states gas taxes. Prices shown on the screen were up to $3.25 higher than the national average for the days gas. On the other hand, when prices started dropping after Labor Day, the networks daily price patrols were scarce... continue reading
Scientists dont agree about global warming, especially when it comes to claiming it caused recent hurricanes. But Time magazine claims the connection is an easy conclusion to reach. In the October 3 issue, Senior Writer Jeffrey Kluger focused on a new study claiming hurricane intensity has increased in the last 35 years and never mentioned that many scientists consider hurricanes to operate under a cycle that lasts three to four decades. According to the Aug. 30, 2005, New York Times, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught... continue reading
A new energy drink for kids, KickStart Spark was treated as a gateway drug and as bad as steroids on the September 26 ABC World News Tonight." ABCs problem with the beverage was the amount of caffeine it contained less than a cup of coffee. While the report mentioned that children already consume a lot of caffeine from soft drinks and chocolate, it exaggerated the danger and downplayed the benefits of KickStart Spark. Reporter Dan Harris began the story by linking the drink to a major drug controversy. There's been growing concern about the use of performance-enhancing substances by young... continue reading
The global warming alarmists are out again. The polar ice caps arent leaving us forever, but ABC and The New York Times seized a new study this week about seasonal change to proclaim the end of the North Pole and the polar bears habitat. ABCs Bill Blakemore reported for three straight days on a NASA study of Arctic ice patterns that found less ice at the end of the 2005 summer than in years past. On the September 29 World News Tonight, Blakemore spoke of creatures living in the icy water creatures anchor Bob Woodruff described as in enormous peril... continue reading
The Washington Post and ABCs World News Tonight jumped on childhood obesity again this week, ignoring personal choice when it comes to eating, while NBCs Today called for Big Brother to do more. On September 28 the government unveiled a child food pyramid at www.mypyramid.gov . The pyramid is essentially the same as the adult one, but this one includes little cartoons of kids at a picnic, a child walking her dog, a kid stretching, etc. There is a game on the site which is played by filling up MyPyramid rocket ship with smart food choices and 60 minutes of... continue reading
Broadcast journalists have been the only ones bidding up gas prices lately. While they foretell a horizon of $4 and $5 gas, consumers on U.S. streets are paying an average of $2.81 up just 6 cents since hurricane Rita. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News all covered the constant speculation about Gulf refinery damage and subsequent gas price spikes before and after Hurricane Ritas September 24 impact. CNN used its 24 hours each day to raise fears about higher gas prices with show after show. A Nexis search of CNN transcripts around Ritas landfall (from September 21 to 25)... continue reading
Networks That Praise Gates, Bashed Oil Firms Same media outlets that attacked oil companies for success compliment Microsoft, a more profitable corporation. By Ken Shepherd Business & Media Institute June 16, 2006 In the mid-1990s, aside from tobacco companies, Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) and its CEO Bill Gates were perhaps the medias favorite corporate villain. Now hes a media darling. On the March 3, 1998, then CBS Evening News, anchor Dan Rather suggested Microsoft needed to be reined in by the federal government. Some policing may be needed along the information superhighway, he said, adding that fellow-travelers say Gates is trying... continue reading
Networks Think Inflation is Important Only When Its Rising Signs that consumer prices are under control get ignored or downplayed. By Noel Sheppard Business & Media Institute June 16, 2006 The three broadcast networks have focused growing attention on inflation recently 42 stories since early May. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer declared on June 14 Well, it is back, inflation, that is. The following day, ABCs Bill Ritter cautioned, everything from mowing the lawn to joining a gym could cost you more money. Yet, when positive inflation news was announced just hours later by the new chairman of the Federal Reserve,... continue reading