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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 08:57 AM ET, 03/21/2012

Media news derivatives: March 21

In case you missed it---Michael Wolff wrote yesterday in the Guardian that “most” journalists cannot write. That was the lead-in for a piece defending Mike Daisey against his media-critic detractors. Daisey writes well, and that’s the point that the critics should focus on, Wolff said. Not on whatever factual lapses he may have made. But does Wolff have the writing chops to malign an entire crowd of journos for poor written expression?

Also: A news outlet affiliated with the Washington Times failed to get some answers out of Anita Dunn, the former Obama aide and current PR exec. So the Erik Wemple Blogger stepped in.

Elsewhere:

*More from the Oregonian’s Bob Caldwell scandal. You’ll recall that Caldwell was the editorial page editor who died recently. His paper at first reported that he’d died of a heart attack while in his car, based on information from a friend of Caldwell’s family. Well, that friend was an editor at the Oregonian — Kathleen Glanville — and the information was wrong: Caldwell died after having sex with a 23-year-old woman. Willamette Week now reports that the woman is a call girl and that Glanville took things a step beyond just giving her own paper false information to protect Caldwell’s reputation. She also moved Caldwell’s car away from the scene. She’s no longer with the Oregonian.

Willamette Week’s piece answers a lot of questions about the affair. It tells about the life of the 23-year-old while concealing her identity; it addresses the history of Caldwell’s editorial page on the question of prostitution (16 unsigned editorials); it’s a fun read. But it’s hamstrung by the Oregonian’s own lack of accountability: Its editor and publisher declined to answer Willamette Week’s questions. (h/t Andrew Beaujon)

*TheWrap writes about more staff downsizing at the Los Angeles Times. And a day before those cuts, the paper advertised an opening for a reporter.

*A thoughtful segment on the “O’Reilly Factor” about the Trayvon Martin case:

*TV Newser reports that Dick Morris has been reprimanded for auctioning off a tour of Fox News to benefit the Lake Country Republicans in Florida. Fox told him this was a bad idea and forced him to withdraw the offer of the tour.

*Brent Bozell blasts MSNBC for keeping Al Sharpton on its talent roster.

Sharpton not only anchors a TV show, but with MSNBC’s permission he moonlights as an activist as well, leading his marches and crusades. A few days ago, NBC’s “Today” brought on Sharpton to condemn Rush Limbaugh for being “offensive and misogynist,” with co-host Amy Robach wondering: “Is this something the Republican Party needs to deal with right now?” Like a good company servant, Robach had nothing to say about whether Sharpton is a judge of anyone else’s moral integrity or political appeal.

*Village Voice lashes back at Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. On Sunday, Kristof wrote a front-pager in the paper’s Sunday Review attacking Village Voice Media for its Backpage.com classifieds portal. Echoing concerns voiced by clergy and law-enforcement, Kristof wrote that Backpage.con helps to enable prostitution. He cited the case of someone he identified only as “Alissa”:

After Alissa testified against her pimps, six of them went to prison for up to 25 years. Yet these days, she reserves her greatest anger not at pimps but at companies that enable them. She is particularly scathing about Backpage.com, a classified advertising Web site that is used to sell auto parts, furniture, boats — and girls. Alissa says pimps routinely peddled her on Backpage.
“You can’t buy a child at Wal-Mart, can you?” she asked me. “No, but you can go to Backpage and buy me on Backpage.”

Now Village Voice is saying there’s a problem with the story. It notes that a video with the Kristof piece online had this title: “Age 16, She Was Sold on Backpage.com.” The Voice: “That is not true. According to Alissa’s court testimony, she was 16 in 2003. Backpage.com did not exist anywhere in America in 2003.”

Could be more developments on this one.

By  |  08:57 AM ET, 03/21/2012

Tags:  michael wolff, nicholas kristof, washington times, bob caldwell, kathleen glanville, oregonian, bill o'reilly, trayvon martin

 
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