Thursday, April 26, 2007

copy and paste journalism

Now many of you know that I am a big fan of Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), and that I proudly served as intern in his office one summer. And what I am about to say is no slam on Jim, although I wish he would have voted for the Iraq Accountability Act.

What this post is about is lazy journalism. It seems once someone reports for the D.C. bureau or works on a national paper, they have to turn off their brain and parrot talking points and the Beltway's always wrong CW. Just look at David Broder's embarrassing foray into going after Maj. Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) as incompetent as AG Alberto Gonzales even though he managed to corral 50 Democrats and Joe Lieberman into passing lots of great legislation already (oh and can remember stuff he did a few months ago).

Anyway past to the meat of my post. This article "written" by Robert Gehrke, is clearly a Jim Matheson/Blue Dog press release with little or no edits. Politicians draft their press release in the following formula: snappy positive headline with pol's name in it, brief one sentence pro-politician spin on the event, a quote from the politician, an explainer paragraph, and then one more quote from the same politician or a bigger name.

This article follows the formula to a tea. In fact, it is very similar to a 2 year old Blue Dog Press that came up as the number three hit on Google when I copy and pasted Gehrke's headline into the search engine (number one when you remove the phrase "moderate Dems").

Now I agree with this Blue Dog legislation, and applaud Allyson Heyrand and the rest of Matheson's press staff for getting this article in the Tribune, but couldn't Mr. Gehrke actually write the article next time? Is that really too much to ask? After all, when politicians copy and paste legislation that lobbyists give them, the public cries foul. Shouldn't someone watch the media and cry foul when they do the same thing?

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