Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Want to see some bad journalism?





Basic rules of journalism:

1) When you are interviewing someone, you let them speak occasionally. Allow them to get through at least part of their first point before spewing about how wrong they are. The idea is to give someone a platform for their views, not yours.

2) Address what the subject is actually talking about, rather than what you wish they were talking about:

Steve Leser: "The Tea Parties are the convoluted and calculated creations of major right-wing political players disguised as true grass-roots activism."
Stuart Varney: "Are you saying there's no deficit?"
Steve Leser: "There is a deficit and people are outraged, but the Web site was snapped up in mid-2008, so it's fishy to say that these Tea Parties are spontaneous outrage over President Obama."
Stuart Varney: "What would you do about the deficit?"

3) When interviewing someone, it's best to hold back on the indignant face until they've at least said something provocative. This goes double if you if you know in advance you're not going to like what the subject has to say. Varney's face isn't one of journalistic skepticism; it's one of a conservative college student getting a head start on something he's sure his hippie professor's going to say. Mock outrage.

4) It's bad form for a journalist to parrot the not-fit-for-Facebook argument that all of our economic problems began on January 20, 2009.

5) If the subject sets up the premise that a protest/war is a phony contrivance of the Republican Party, then Fox News will interpret that to mean the subject is against the protesters/troops. Every question that follows will roll on this track of thought.

Well, Stuart Varney got the fifth rule right, at least.

(It's also worth pointing out that the embed code for this video was incomplete, and that I had to call upon my HTML skills to complete it so it would work. Thanks, Fox.)

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