Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 P.U.LITZERS: Journalism That Doesn't Pass the Smell Test @ Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting

--Wacky Conspiracy Award: CBS's Steve Kroft

Kroft (60 Minutes, 1/30/11) explained the apparently demented worldview of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange:

Julian Assange is not your average journalist or publisher, and some have argued that he is not really a journalist at all. He is an anti-establishment ideologue with conspiratorial views. He believes large government institutions use secrecy to suppress the truth and he distrusts the mainstream media for playing along.

--Paul's Not Newt Award: Washington Post's Sarah Kaufman

Kaufman (12/15/11) puzzled over the lack of interest in Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul:

So why, with his long-held views and an enthusiastic base of support, does Paul get so little attention? It's not only his anti-establishment message. Part of his acceptance issue is the way he presents himself. As much as he is a refreshing departure from the mold, he also comes across as a gadfly. Consider if Paul had the heftier, more serious bearing of a Romney or a Gingrich. Would he be so easy to dismiss?

--Blind Faith in Precision Weapons Award: CNN's Chris Lawrence

The Pentagon correspondent (3/20/11) was confident from the start of the Libya War that civilians could not possibly be killed:

American Tomahawk missiles can be reprogrammed in flight. If there was a risk of civilian casualties, operators could change the target after launch. But the Navy did not use that ability, confident it was aiming at military targets. Moammar Gadhafi says the strikes killed civilians. But a defense official told us if you don't have to reprogram your missile, you're very confident in what you're hitting.

--That's Our Newt Award: Washington Post's Dan Balz; New York Times' Trip Gabriel

Gabriel wrote (New York Times, 11/29/11): "In an election season rife with factual misstatements, deliberate and otherwise, Mr. Gingrich sometimes seems to stand out for exhibiting an excess of knowledge."

Balz (5/12/11) called the former House speaker "an idea-spewing machine"and a "one-man think tank." The reporter warned of one pitfall: "A keen intellect can also translate into the appearance of intellectual superiority."

--Exceptionally Clueless Columnist Award: Washington Post's Kathleen Parker

Parker wrote a column (1/30/11) about how the president "seems afraid" of the word "exceptionalism"--a favorite anti-Obama conservative talking point. Parker claimed that during the State of the Union address, Obama spoke of America's "uniqueness," but he "studiously avoided using the word." One problem: according to a review of presidential papers going back to 1929 (, 1/31/11), only one president has ever uttered the phrase "American exceptionalism"...and that's Barack Obama.

Read more P.U.Litzer Awards for 2011 at F.A.I.R.

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