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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 09:25 AM ET, 02/13/2012

Media news derivatives: Feb. 13

In case you missed it---Young Republicans at CPAC talk about cable television, and one of them even enjoys Rachel Maddow.

Elsewhere:

• Deadspin says that this apology from Jason Whitlock about a racially insensitive tweet he sent out regarding New York Knicks player Jeremy Lin was “half-baked.” Actually, it looks to me as if it spent more time in the oven than that. Whitlock acknowledged critics’ claims that he’d “debased” a great moment in sports — Lin torched the Lakers the other night for 38 points, and he writes, “For that, I am truly sorry.” That’s an apology.

• Fellow WaPo blogger Jennifer Rubin writes that Mitt Romney’s victories in Maine and the CPAC straw poll have “confused” the “media,” which “had pronounced him nearly washed up,” in Rubin’s telling. Really? Most stories that I’d read following Rick Santorum’s sweep pretty much agreed that Romney remained the front-runner but that the race was a topsy-turvy thing that would be contested state by state. So the “media” that I consumed and the “media” that Rubin consumed appear to have said different things. Wouldn’t be the first time.

• How about this passage from Adam Liptak’s piece in the New York Times about the government cracking down on officials who leak information to the media?

“The government does not pursue every leak,” said Mark Corallo, who served as the Justice Department’s spokesman in Mr. Bush’s administration. “On balance, it is more important that the media have the ability to report. It’s important to our democracy.”
That does not seem to be the view of the Obama administration, which has brought more prosecutions against current or former government officials for providing classified information to the media than every previous administration combined.

Liptak says that the Obama administration has made leak investigations “routine,” with this upshot: Reporters may have to resort to clandestine means of reaching out to key sources, much in the way drug traffickers do.

• Speaking of the Times, it published a long piece on The Washington Post in the Sunday biz section. It started with a great anecdote about how Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli had hosted a lunch at his home with veteran journos of the Post’s glorious past. Great, recycled anecdote, that is: Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone had already reported the whole affair. A tweet from Calderone:

I first reported on Brauchli/ WaPo vet lunch in Dec: http://huff.to/v7dToU NYT lead today: http://nyti.ms/wYbavp #NoCredit

We’ve reached out to the story’s reporter, Jeremy Peters, for reaction.

• A decade ago, Whitney Houston sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Sawyer is asking what type of drug is her “devil.” Houston responds that the “devil is me.”

• David Carr of the New York Times writes about Roland Martin’s homophobic tweets, though he says he saw “little evidence per se that what he said was homophobic.”

In the 15,000 or so tweets and retweets I have written, there are a few I’d like back and a few that probably made my betters uncomfortable, but mostly I’ve stayed out of the ditch. The rule at The Times is that there is no rule, but there is an expectation, as Philip B. Corbett, the standards editor for the paper, told me in an e-mail: “We expect Times journalists to behave like Times journalists, and they generally do.”
A Twitter post is not a small news story or a column. It is a thought burped up, generally without consideration. Most big media organizations mediate the discourse of their employees because that’s the business they are in. More and more, media outlets may be seen as a federation of voices, but there has to be a there there, a single unifying principle or value.

• The Daily Caller has completed the first in a series on Media Matters for America, the outfit that watchdogs conservative media 24-7. The piece amounts to an ad hominem attack on Media Matters honcho David Brock, interspersed with reporting that Media Matters itself might consider putting in its fundraising appeals. Like this:

Donors have every reason to expect success, as the group’s effect on many news organizations has already been profound.

And this:

Over the course of a week, Media Matters mobilized more than 50 people to work full-time adding fuel to the [Don] Imus story. Researchers searched the massive Media Matters database for controversial statements Imus had made over the years. The group issued press release after press release. Brock personally called the heads of various liberal activist groups to coordinate a message. By the end of the week, Imus was fired.

Another:

Glenn Beck, the former Fox News Channel host, drew the ire of a wide spectrum of liberal groups while his program aired nationally. But according to several people who watched the process from the inside, it was Media Matters that orchestrated much of the opposition to Beck.

Then comes the part where the Daily Caller takes after reporters and bloggers:

“The entire progressive blogosphere picked up our stuff,” says a Media Matters source, “from Daily Kos to Salon. Greg Sargent [of the Washington Post] will write anything you give him. He was the go-to guy to leak stuff.”. . .“The HuffPo guys were good, Sam Stein and Nico [Pitney],” remembered one former staffer. “The people at Huffington Post were always eager to cooperate, which is no surprise given David’s long history with Arianna [Huffington].”
“Jim Rainey at the L.A. Times took a lot of our stuff,” the staffer continued. “So did Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle. We’ve pushed stories to Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne [at the Washington Post]. Brian Stelter at the New York Times was helpful.”

Three points here. One: The Daily Caller reached out to journalists about this matter and got no comment. Speak up, journos — that’s what you ask people to do every day.

Two: If the Daily Caller really wants to call this an “investigation,” then the least it can do is a few searches on Google or Nexis. Have a look at the bona fides of the reporting above: It is using an anonymous source to indicate that journalists pick up Media Matters material. Why not just rely on the public record? Why not just look at a reporter’s clips and determine whether s/he overuses Media Matters material?

Here’s why: Conveying this relationship in the whispers of an anonymous source lends it an air of collusion and conspiracy. That’s far more sexy than going through the clips and determining whether this journalist or that journalist relies on Media Matters as a research arm.

Three: So Media Matters has good relationships with mainstream journalists, huh? Yet more material for fundraising appeals. Betting that Media Matters cannot wait for the next installment.

By  |  09:25 AM ET, 02/13/2012

Tags:  jason whitlock, jennifer rubin, media matters, rachel maddow, new york times, media matters, daily caller

 
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