What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 14, 2006

WPXI: Stupidity or Bias?

I caught this on PCNC's repeat of WPXI's evening broadcast:

Co-anchor David Johnson was reporting on Israel's bombing of Hezbollah's headquarters. By way of background, he said that Hezbollah had kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, and that:
Israel started bombing Hezbollah.
That is either very bad shorthand or bias.

Yes, Israel is bombing Hezbollah, but they are also attacking Lebanon's infrastructure and receiving not a little criticism for that (even from Sen. John W. Warner (R-VA), chairman of the Armed Services Committee).

WPXI now has three platforms to put out this drivel: WPXI, PCNC and FOX 53.


Rob said...

Hezbollah has been doing more than kidnapping soldiers: they have also been using missiles and engaging in other attacks against Israel.

The missile attacks are often staged at civilian locations; when Israel wants to take out a missile location, civilian infrastructure also goes up.

Cutting electricity and phone hobbles Hezbollah's ability to coordinate more attacks.

Hezbollah is part of the governing coalition of Lebanon. Lebanon is now paying for that.

So tell me: stupidity or bias: WPXI and 2 Political Junkies?

Rob of UnSpace

(PS: I think it's both their faults. Hezbollah engaged in a deliberate act of war and Israel is now to the point where they will be condemned if they sneeze, so if world opinion is going to condemn them, they might as well go all out.

Years of hatred by both sides has crippled both sides' ability to be intelligent.

Maria said...

I was not making any comment on fault or history. It was a lousy soundbite that did nothing to inform their viewers of the complexities of the situation.

I know that a local news show is not going to spend 20 minutes on international news, but saying "they attacked Lebanon's infrastructure to disrupt Hezbollah activity" paints a different picture than saying "they attacked Hezbollah."

Fuck it, it doesn't just paint a different picture, it's simply not accurate.

Reasonable people can disagree on the the former as a tactic.

Isn't that part of the problem?

There are those who think that Israel can do no right and there are those who think that they can do no wrong (and the same for the other side).

WPXI did not add to the conversation, they only added to the noise.

Shawn said...

Sad to say, Maria, but you're right. But then again, American media (outside of 'niche' media like Foreign Policy magazine or academic journals), left, right, or center, doesn't ever make any effort to give anything but the most cursory coverage to international affairs. (And I'll cop to a bias here myself in that I'm rooting for Israel to hand Hizbollah its millinealist ass.)

OTOH, would you actually expect WPXI to break form and actually deliver any sort of news coverage that was anything other than insipid?

Maria said...

I get insipid but I refuse to tolerate inaccurate.

I remember when there was a Kerry rally at Pitt and they said repeatedly for DAYS that "hundreds" of people attended.

However, the video that they broadcasted clearly showed thousands.

They must have receivbed a lot of complaints because they finally said 'thousands' in a broadcast a few days later.

I know that crowd sizes for rallies/marches are always disputed, but they were clearly WAY OFF on this one.

Sherry P said...

if the writers of any local newscasts sat and thought for 5 minutes about each piece, and there really aren't that many, big ben, the mayor, an accident or two and the national news, i'll bet they could put things accurately and without bias, just facts. i think all the writers would have degrees and/or experience, wouldn't you??

Anonymous said...

"I remember when there was a Kerry rally at Pitt and they said repeatedly for DAYS that "hundreds" of people attended."

Again, the left using college institutions to push their political agenda. I wonder how much college tuition money went into that rally?

And Maria, must you nitpick over what was said in regards to the number of people attending said rally? Is your life that narrow that your blood pressure gets high over *that?* Shit, you sound as if you're a real whiner. In fact, you are a whiner...a spoiled little whiner who stomps her feet and jumps up and down when she doesn't get her way all the time. Typical liberal, in other words.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #.007: As for WPXI, most errors, however politically skewed, can be attributed to slopping writing by low-paid, recent journalism graduates, and anchors who, like Peggy Finnegan for example, work a 3-6:30 shift each day and are paid well to essentially do nothing more than read this writing while on autopilot while looking as vacant as possible (Jodine Costanzo exels in the "vacant" look).

Often, this writing is just taking an AP or Reuters report and shortening it for time's sake, so they have more time to cover stories about crack addicts on the North Side, since we all know there are none in the suburbs.

No matter what kind of political bias we might charge their parent company, Cox with, once you get down to the local stations, most of those involved in the operation of such from management down wouldn't be smart enough to know a bias if it hit them on the head.

So Maria, why don't we stomp together. Stomping isn't a bad thing, really. ;-)

Anonymous said...

#.007: And this is why Rob could never work in the TV news industry: He is way too thoughtful and thinks things through thoroughly! Additionally, he always presents a counterpoint in a way that is neither offensive nor uninformed.

So as they say in Pittsburgh, Rob: Woo hoo! for you. :-)

Anonymous said...

#.007: Obviously in that first post of mine I meant "sloppy" writing. And successfully proceeded to give you an example of it at the same time. ;-)

Anonymous said...

#.007: Also, not to belabor a point (LOL), but I meant I don't think most of them would recognize a bias of this scope (excepting of course, Scott Baker ;-).

For certainly there are many local biases they are well aware of an actively promote. A harmless example would be, say, a Steelers bias!

Maria said...

I'm OK with coming down on the side of stupidity -- I did give it the edge in the title.

Anonymous said...

David Johnson was correct, you are wrong. Attacking infrastructure is attacking Hezbollah. Hezbollah uses the roads, communications, power, etc. So from a military point of view, you attack the enemy by killing them and destroying their capability to fight. But this is nothing new. Back in 1944 when the Allies bombed the crap out of northern France, Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite reported that the Allies were attacking the Nazis, not the infrastructure of France.