Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another "Non-Partisan" Attack By The C-J

It's becoming difficult to distinguish between when The Courier-Journal engages in deceptive writing or just sloppy journalism. Pam Platt, in her column today , reprises what James Carroll did three weeks ago: take what is the liberal agenda of a Democratic front group to attack Republicans and report it as "non-partisan" fact.

Platt accepts without question a bogus report of the Center for Public Integrity entitled "Iraq -- The War Card: Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War." According to Platt, the Center for Public Integrity is a "non-profit, non-partisan and independent journalism" organization. Platt also conducted an e-mail interview with Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, and didn't ask a single question to probe the funding sources for this group or to examine CPI's political agenda.

Either Platt is intentionally deceiving us -- not good for a columnist writing about supposed lies of the Bush administration -- or didn't do her homework.

As Hugh Hewitt explained when articles from The New York Times and the Associated Press first reported on CPI's "findings" last Wednesday (yes, the story is that old; it took the C-J four days to catch up with national media):

[T]he Center for Public Integrity hardly qualifies as "independent". It gets much of its funding from George Soros, who has thrown millions of dollars behind Democratic political candidates, and explicitly campaigned to defeat George Bush in 2004.

Nowhere in these articles do either news organization bother to inform their reader of the partisan nature of the CPI. Besides Soros, it gets financing from the Streisand Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Los Angeles Times Foundation. The FIJ [i.e., Fund For Independence in Journalism, which issued the report with CPI] shares most of its board members with the CPI, which hardly makes it a separate entity in terms of its political direction.

Dafydd at Big Lizards does a good job of pulling apart the supposed quotes that CPI used to blow some hot air into the limp "Bush lied" meme, but even the New York Times wasn't impressed.

In fact, there is nothing new in this site that hasn't already been picked apart by the blogosphere, and some of it discredited. It includes the debunked charge that Bush lied in the "sixteen words" of the 2003 State of the Union address. Joe Wilson's own report to the CIA and to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence confirmed that, at least according to Niger's Prime Minister, Iraq had sought to trade for uranium in 1999. The CPI site has the sixteen words posted as one of their false statements.

Let's boil this down. An organization funded by known political activists puts up a website with shopworn quotes taken mostly out of context and misrepresented -- and this somehow qualifies as news?

Apparently so for a C-J columnist when the story-line fits her bias -- noted elsewhere, including here and here -- and she doesn't do any objective reporting of the bona fides of the group creating the "news."

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