Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is the Enquirer Biased or Looking for Controversy?

I know, most are going to answer the title's question "Is Enquirer Biased or Looking for Controversy?" with a "Both" answer. The Provost at of The Phony Coney questions the timing of the Enquirer's coverage of the Bortz-Streecar Voting "controversy" as being, shall we say, ill-timed.

Yes, it is rather obvious that someone has been pushing the story to the Enquirer and the rest of the media around town. I don't know if I believe there is a full borne effort to disrupt the Streetcar project in the newsroom of the Enquirer. There may be individuals who oppose it, but the reporters are getting marching orders.

I do believe without a doubt that there is a desire for scandal, something media outlets nearly universally are guilty of doing, and doing without care in appearances or importance.  I believe that desire isn't just in the editors' minds, it in this case is in the reporter's mind.

The only scandal with Bortz is in appearance. He made a public relations error in how he responded to the ethics letter. He didn't tell everything. That's his sin. The local media feels like he lied to them. They are pissed. Furthermore, where there's a lie, there's a scandal, so no matter the circumstances. Bortz and the Streetcar in association are going to get punched by the Enquirer. They will punch with same sin Bortz committed, the sin of omission.

So, the Enquirer is trying to sell newspapers and isn't doing or at least isn't publishing that is has done it's homework. That is bad journalism. It is good business. It brings more eyes to paper.

More evidence that I think sums up the problem comes in their editorial:
The streetcar may be a real step forward for Cincinnati. We don't oppose it. But we object to the way it has - or hasn't - been planned, explained and justified. So far, city leaders have been asking Cincinnatians to support a pig in a poke.

Again: Where's the plan?
Saying you don't oppose something you do nothing to support is as much dancing on the head of a pin one editorial can offer. If the Enquirer supports the Streetcar, then why are they giving people like Tom Luken and Chris Smitherman credibility when they oppose it with no fact or substitute plan for the development it would spawn? Neither person has any credibility, yet they are driving the Story. They are the opposition to the project, so they get the same level, and often a much, much bigger level, of a voice in the debate than the supports of the Streetcar.

When other issues are pushed by Enquirer, I rarely see opponents getting the same credibility as Luken and Smitherman are getting.  Those other opponents never drive the story. Anti-war protesters didn't get the credibility. People commenting on the death of a Notre Dame football recruit are cut off, not allowed to do anything to drive the story. These groups have limited voice and limited chance to influence the story, but Luken and Smitherman get quoted at will and on topics they know nothing about.

We don't need a manufactured controversy. The Enquirer has been the primary maker of that controversy surrounding Bortz and it is a bias they have, a bias for profit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be an idiot or your post will be deleted.