The term consumer group conjures up the image of some George Bailey-esque fighting for the little guy. At The Washington Post, that has become the code for a left-wing, anti-industry group. The latest example of this appeared in a more-than-1,800 word piece attacking the medical insurance industry. Reporter Dean Starkman wrote about a study by the Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumers Rights, a consumer group, that claimed medical insurance losses were far less than claimed by the industry. However, Starkman also pointed out that the foundation is funded in part by tort lawyers who sue doctors and hospitals in malpractice... continue reading
ABC reporter Dean Reynolds promised A Closer Look at the woes of domestic auto parts maker Delphi, but instead zoomed in on a story portraying union workers as victims and corporate executives as villains. His December 27 World News Tonight story blamed Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy this year, for securing pay bonuses for company officials while driving the company into the wall. However, Reynolds failed to document how the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has been at the wheel as the companys bottom line has driven off a cliff. The story focused on a Delphi shipping clerk from Indiana... continue reading
The front page of the December 27 Investors Business Daily (IBD) joined other print outlets in blowing hot air on the so-called housing bubble with Home Sales Plunge as Prices Pull Back and Supply Swells, as reporter Kirk Shinkle painted a chilly winter landscape for the housing market. A few days earlier, a December 23 business report by the Associated Press similarly saw evidence of a slowdown while Bloomberg News blamed the report for cooling off a stock market rally. In the rush to hype the drop in November sales, Shinkle, the AP, and Bloomberg didnt remind readers of Octobers... continue reading
In the biggest, boldest weight loss challenge ever, ABC underestimated by 143 million the number of cheeseburgers in weight it wants America to lose. Good Morning America and are joining together to fight obesity in 2006. They are challenging America to lose 50 million pounds in one year, according to an advertisement for the program on December 26. To give a visualization of the amount of weight that it is, the clip stated Thats 200 million quarter pound cheeseburgers. 12,500 cars. Or 23,529,412 pairs of high healed shoes. The cheeseburger comparison was far from accurate. Calories, not the actual... continue reading
Christmas is a time of giving and TV news reporters certainly took that opportunity to give it to Wal-Mart. Following a jury ruling that went against the worlds largest retailer, journalists put the company on the naughty list as CNNs Rick Sanchez called it. The day after the verdict, network morning shows relied on the lawyer from the group suing Wal-Mart, a retail expert who has been critical of the company and even a clip from the anti-Wal-Mart movie. None of the shows made the connection between the ongoing attacks against the retailer, the couple dozen workplace lawsuits and the... continue reading
In newspapers, placement is everything. Put a story on the front page above the fold, and everyone can see it as they walk by the newsstand. But hide it deep in the nether-sections, and only Grandpa will find it if he sips his coffee slowly enough. Unfortunately, its often the bad news that gets the prime spot, while good news takes the back seat. The New York Times warned against economic optimism from its front page on November 30: By most measures, the economy appears to be doing fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming. But as always... continue reading
Ever since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in late August sending oil prices to $70 per barrel and gasoline above $3 a gallon, the media have been in a panic over a return of 70s-style inflation. Such concerns reached a fevered-pitch in October when a gauge of consumer prices rose by the largest amount in 25 years. Yet, when the Labor Department released numbers last week showing that inflation had declined by the greatest percentage in 56 year s, rather than using this data to ease the publics concerns about rising prices, the press either downplayed the report or totally ignored... continue reading
Ringing alarm bells about record greenhouse gas emissions, New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin opened his December 21 article noting the U.S. Energy Department reports U.S. emissions linked to global warming reached an all-time high in 2004 nearly double the average annual rate measured since 1990. But Revkin failed to note that the U.S. performed better than Kyoto Protocol signatory Canada or that former enthusiastic boosters of Kyoto like Britains Tony Blair now find the treaty unrealistic. Using 1990 as the base year, Canada's emissions are now 24 percent higher, while the United States is up by 14 percent, said... continue reading
Opening their newscasts with the New York City transit strike, the December 20 morning news programs focused on the inconvenience to commuters and the expected cost to the city, but only CNN, CBS, and Fox News Channel (FNC) portrayed the strike as illegal, while ABCs Good Morning America and NBCs Today presented the strikes illegality only as an argument posed by city officials. The [Metropolitan] Transportation Authority immediately declared the strike illegal and headed to court, reported NBCs Lester Holt from the Brooklyn Bridge while ABCs David Muir, also reporting from the 122-year-old bridge noted, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg... continue reading
Regardless of whether a strike is called or a settlement is reached, warned Chan and Greenhouse, the labor struggle over the transit contract has highlighted one fact: Many workers feel they lack dignity and respect on the job. But on CNN, business reporters were wondering where the dignity of and respect for the law factored into plans for the labor strike. Cafferty opened the December 17 show explaining that the citys Transit Workers Union had refused to go to mediation with the city of New York, and, as a result, theres a whole debate raging about whether 33,000 people should... continue reading