September 18, 2012

The Trib's Misleading You. Again.

Today there's two ways that the Tribune-Review's editorial board's misleading you.

First by shifting, ever so slightly, the context of a new NYTimes/CBS Poll.  Here's how they characterize it:
A New York Times/CBS News poll suggests that President Barack Obama “is erasing” Mitt Romney’s “edge” regarding the economy. If the poll is accurate, it’s indicative of an electorate’s fatal ignorance. [emphasis added]
Note the verbs I emphasized.  The first requires no explanation but with the second, the implication is clear:  the process of "erasing" the "edge" is currently taking place.  The verb phrase actually comes from the headline of the Times piece, not the text - and so it was written by someone else.

Now let's look at the Times' original:
President Obama has taken away Mitt Romney’s longstanding advantage as the candidate voters say is most likely to restore the economy and create jobs, according to the latest poll by The New York Times and CBS News, which found a modest sense of optimism among Americans that White House policies are working.
Note the verb.  Whatever the poll shows, it's already happened. There's no "suggestion" of it. It's happened already. Past tense.

See the subtle?  Scaife's braintrust is softening the context, and thereby changing the meaning for you it's loyal readership.

But there's a deeper mislead here:That quoted phrase comes from a Monday headline on a Wall Street Journal commentary by five quite astute economists, including Carnegie Mellon University’s Allan Meltzer. Their recitation of the facts shows that the U.S. economy is on the edge of disaster because of this administration’s policies and those of the Federal Reserve.
“We risk passing an economic, fiscal and financial point of no return,” writes Professor Meltzer and four colleagues associated with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, including former U.S. Treasury Secretary George Shultz.
Ok, let's pause right there.  Hoover Institution...Hoover Institution...where have we heard that name before?

That's right, it's the recipient of millions of dollars of Scaife Foundation money.

Again, funny how Richard Mellon Scaife's financial connections to the nation's conservative think tanks are never ever mentioned when his editorial board uses them as" informational" sources.

Disclosing that information would discredit the op-ed, so misleading you is what they do.

1 comment:

Adam R. Kirk said...

Just wanted to say that "suggest" is a typical way pollsters describe their results... Polls are not 100% accurate, and the people who take them use the word "suggest" to note that. If you read the analysis from the pollsters themselves you'll see it being used.

The "is erasing" is a typical active writing style that is showing up in a lot of media these days. Can't tell if that's bias or not. Use of active verbs is certainly nothing nefarious, unless as you charge, it's being done to mislead.

As a long-time reader, sometimes I think you see bias where there is none because you overanalyze what you automatically think you'll disagree with.