Aug 21, 2019

The Many Times The Washington Post Has Betrayed The Public's Trust

When a newspaper prints something you expect it to be true because that's thier job. Nowadays that isn't really the case in most of the media (as shown in the links below these extracts). This post specifically focuses on the Washington Post. All extracts are from the professional media researchers at Media .

Media Matters: How shameful and misleading Wash. Post reports on disability insurance could be the preamble for cuts “Mean-spirited” and “cartoonish” depictions of Social Security Disability Insurance are a disservice to millions of Americans

Disability advocates hammered The Washington Post for its second misleading portrayal of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients, saying it was a “mean-spirited” and “cartoonish” illustration of the struggles of those living with poverty in rural America. The second feature-length profile published by the Post has drawn consternation for its poverty-shaming, while also generating fears that these misleading depictions from mainstream news outlets could set the pretext for draconian budget cuts to programs that provide basic economic security to millions of Americans.
The Post’s previous foray into coverage of SSDI recipients did not end well; Media Matters joined disability advocates in criticizing the paper’s “dystopian portrait” of the program and its enrollees and was later found to be replete with critical data errors. The piece promoted the same misleading talking points about the program that are commonly touted by right-wing media. Despite these concerns, the Post’s editorial board used the deeply flawed article as its proof for justifying unnecessary cuts to the SSDI program.
The paper’s June 2 article in its series on disability coverage is just as misleading and problematic as the first. The article, titled “Generations, disabled,” attempts to chronicle the trials of a low-income Missouri family that relies on meager SSDI benefits. The article relied almost exclusively on anecdotal evidence drawn from the Tidwell family to buttress characterizations of SSDI and its recipients as succumbing to multi-generational dependence on federal assistance.
The article earnestly focused on the fact that one or more members of four generations of Tidwells have received federal assistance and detailed their daily routines in a way that political scientist Katherine Gallagher Robbins of the Center for American Progress (CAP) likened to the depictions of poverty and disability in Of Mice and Men. As CAP’s Rebecca Vallas pointed out in her damning review, “the article’s text makes no mention” of the fact “that disability often runs in families” and neglects to mention that disability benefits are “incredibly hard to get.”
The Post seemed to depict generational disability as a cultural problem, but as Annie Lowrey of The Atlantic pointed out, the article never provided any data to prove this or demonstrate that multiple generations of a family receiving SSDI is evidence of them being undeserving. Vox correspondent Matthew Yglesias voiced even stronger criticism, labeling the article as “incredibly mean-spirited” and “smack[ing] of the worst kind of moral panic.”
Issues with the Post’s story didn’t end there. In a June 5 column published by The Poynter Institute, journalist S.I. Rosenbaum added that the article misled readers by claiming to describe a family “on disability” without ever verifying that the Tidwell family are indeed all receiving benefits from SSDI, rather than other anti-poverty programs.
The generally exploitative tone of the piece was not the primary problem with the Post’s return to the topic of disability. The biggest problem created by the piece is how it could be used by political interests seeking to implement deep cuts to the American social safety net.
As Vallas pointed out in her response, by “pushing the nastiest of myths about Social Security disability benefits and the people who rely on them,” the Post set the pretext for budget cuts that will restrict access to the program. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities voiced the same concern, arguing that “reporting by anecdote runs the risk of fostering harmful policy changes” such as those already proposed by the Trump administration. Economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) came to a similar conclusion, mocking the Post’s “poetic description” of farming jobs available in rural Missouri, which suggested that disability recipients simply refuse to work those jobs. Baker added that the United States actually has one of the least generous disability programs in the world, but countries with more generous programs are not suffering labor shortages:
The obvious next segment in this series would have a Post reporter going to Germany or the Netherlands or some of the other countries that manages to have a larger percentage of their population working even though they have considerably more generous disability systems. The article can tell readers how they manage to structure their programs so that everyone doesn't quit their jobs and fake disability so that they can live off the government. For some reason, I don't think this is where the Post series is going.
We have already seen a Post report on SSDI result in the paper’s editorial board calling for unnecessary cuts to the program in a way eerily reminiscent to Fox News’ campaign against the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which immediately resulted in Republican-authored legislation in Congress slashing the program and eventually trickled down to GOP-led state houses. The Trump administration is already targeting Social Security’s disability program for budget cuts next year and media outlets have largely failed to hold the president accountable for an obviously broken campaign promise to safeguard Social Security. The American people would be well-served if, rather than publishing more dehumanizing portrayals of disability recipients, the Post and other news outlets contextualize the hardship millions of Americans would face if SSDI and other vital programs are subjected to new cuts and restrictions.

Media Matters: The Wash. Post Has A Lobbyist As A Writer; Here Are 12 Times They Didn't Disclose Conflicts Of Interest Editorial Page Editor Says The Post Wasn’t “Initially Clear Enough With” Ed Rogers “On Our Expectations” But Defends Paper

The Washington Post has repeatedly failed to inform readers about major financial conflicts of interest in pieces by opinion writer Ed Rogers. Rogers is a leading Republican lobbyist who has used his Post column to advocate for the interests of his firm’s clients without disclosure in at least a dozen instances since the beginning of 2016.
Rogers writes for the publication’s PostPartisan blog. His columns also regularly appear in the Post’s physical edition and are syndicated across the countrythrough its syndication service.
The Republican lobbyist is the chairman of the BGR Group, which he co-founded in 1991. The firm is one of the country’s largest lobbying groups and had over $17 million in lobbying revenue in 2016.
His Post credentials are touted to potential clients in his corporate biography, which states: “Since 2011, Ed has been an opinion writer for the Washington Post, where he writes about politics and the current state of affairs in Washington, D.C., from a Republican point of view.”
Lobbying experts told Media Matters that the Post’s arrangement with a lobbyist of Rogers’ stature is “rare” and “highly unusual.”
Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at New America and author of The Business of America is Lobbying, said that “It's pretty rare for a megalobbyist to have a gig as a columnist in such a prominent venue.”

Media Matters: Wash. Post overstates the NRA’s ability to influence legislation and elections To explain the Virginia legislature's refusal to take up gun safety initiatives, look to racist GOP gerrymandering, not NRA power - The Washington Post undeservedly credited the National Rifle Association with blocking a package of gun safety proposals in the Virginia General Assembly to set up a contrast with the massive turmoil the gun group is currently experiencing. In doing so, the paper baselessly overstated the NRA’s power to influence the legislative process and elections in Virginia. 
In fact, the primary reason Virginia's GOP-controlled legislature is in a position to vote down gun safety laws and other progressive proposals is racist and partisan gerrymandering implemented by the state’s Republican lawmakers. 
On July 12, the General Assembly’s GOP leadership adjourned just 90 minutes into a special session called by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to vote on several gun safety proposals. Northam had called the session in the wake of a May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach in which a man armed with a suppressed handgun and high-capacity magazines killed 12 people in a municipal building. No votes were taken on Northam’s proposals, which included implementing universal background checks, reinstating Virginia’s one-gun-a-month law, and banning silencers like the one used by the Virginia Beach shooter.
Writing about the NRA’s activities leading up to and during the special session, The Washington Post published an article with the headline “The NRA is in turmoil. But in Virginia gun debate this week, the group flexed its muscles.” The report claimed that the session’s early adjournment “was a display of political muscle for the NRA, a brand that has appeared crippled in recent months” -- a reference to the massive turmoil and infighting occurring in the NRA -- and that “this week’s events in Richmond showed that the organization continues to wield significant influence at the grass-roots level.” The article described routine NRA outreach and lobbying activities -- including briefing lawmakers, holding events prior to the special session, emailing its supporters, and handing out T-shirts and pizza -- in crediting the NRA with blocking Virginia’s gun safety proposals.
The article included only a single piece of plausible analysis. Contrary to the narrative adopted by the rest of the piece, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia Director Lori Haas told the paper, “I don’t believe that Republicans in the General Assembly are doing this only because of the influence of the gun lobby” because “most of them believe in an extremist version of the Second Amendment.” (I previously worked with Haas at CSGV.)

Media Matters: Wash. Post called out for needlessly scandalizing Elizabeth Warren's past work in bankruptcy law - On May 22, The Washington Post published an article detailing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) work as a lawyer while she was also teaching, drawing mostly upon information Warren provided on her website and supplemented with additional Post reporting. While the article contained valuable information about Warren’s past career, the Post was criticized for its framing of the story, which seemingly attempted to scandalize the compensation Warren received as a bankruptcy attorney.

Media Matters: Wash. Post fails to disclose that op-ed writer advocating military strikes against Iran is on the board of a major defense contractor
The Washington Post published an op-ed on Friday by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael G. Vickers in which he called for “limited U.S. military strikes” against Iran. But the newspaper failed to disclose that Vickers serves on the board of BAE Systems Inc., the American subsidiary of a majormultinational defense contractor.
BAE Systems published a press release in December 2015 saying that Vickers had “been appointed to its board of directors for a three-year term.” The company confirmed on June 24 that Vickers is still an active member of its board.
But in Vickers' June 21 op-ed, the Post identified him only as “a former special forces officer and CIA operations officer” who “served as assistant secretary of defense for special operations, low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities (2007-2011) and undersecretary of defense for intelligence (2011-2015).” In the column, Vickers urged President Donald Trump to authorize military strikes against Iran, writing, “The Trump administration should respond to these recent attacks with strikes of its own on Iranian and Houthi air-defense assets, offensive missile systems and Revolutionary Guard Corps bases. A measured but firm response is what is required.”
This isn’t the first time the Post has had disclosure issues with authors writing for its opinion section. Previously, the newspaper repeatedly published articles by opinion writer Ed Rogers about issues of interest to his lobbying firm’s clients without disclosing his financial conflicts of interest.

Media Matters: The Washington Post gave discredited gun researcher John Lott a platform to push repeatedly disproven nonsense
The Washington Post published an op-ed by gun violence researcher and National Rifle Association favorite John Lott Jr., in which he rehashed false claims that nearly all mass shootings occur in so-called “gun-free zones.” Lott’s claim has previously been debunked by the Post’s own fact checker.
The Post published the article co-authored by Lott and Virginia Republican state Sen. Richard Black ahead of a Virginia legislature special session on firearms scheduled to start on July 9. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam calledthe special session after a gunman opened fire in a Virginia Beach municipal building on May 31, killing 12. During the session, the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly will vote on proposals to ban silencers and high-capacity magazines, to implement universal background checks, to limit gun purchases to one handgun per month, and to extend the state’s ban on guns in city buildings.

Media Matters: Wash. Post editorial board ignores decades of violence and harassment by anti-abortion extremists It’s not “hard to imagine” anti-abortion harassment because it happens every day

After Trump administration officials faced protests at restaurants in light of the administration’s policy of separating families at the border, The Washington Post’s editorial board called on readers to “let the Trump team eat in peace.” Arguing for “civility,” the editorial board asked, “How hard is it to imagine, for example, people who strongly believe that abortion is murder deciding that judges or other officials who protect abortion rights should not be able to live peaceably with their families?”
For abortion providers, patients, and clinics across the country, it’s certainly not“hard to imagine” the inability to “live peaceably." Pro-choice providers and patients are routinely targeted with death threats, harassment, and even assassinations at clinics and in their homes.
Since 1993, at least 11 people have been killed in attacks on abortion clinics, including abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated in 2009. Tiller’s murder was fueled in part by rhetoric like that of former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who repeatedly attacked him as “Tiller the baby killer” and suggested that “there's got to be a special place in hell for this guy.” As ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Ressler explained, abortion providers often feel “under siege” and live “in a state of heightened fear and anxiety because targeted harassment follows them everywhere.” Providers have described abortion opponents picketing their homes and their children’s schools. For example, the anti-abortion group Operation Save America is known for distributing flyers to providers’ neighbors with identifying pictures and home addresses under the headline “KILLERS AMONG US.”

Media Matters: The Washington Post's Hugh Hewitt problem Hewitt’s firm represents “clients before the US Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency”

The Washington Post repeatedly allowed Hugh Hewitt to write columns praising Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt without disclosing that Hewitt’s law firm does work before the agency. Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt told Media Matters that Hewitt would no longer write about Pruitt. 
Hewitt is a conservative radio host who also works as a host for MSNBC and a contributing columnist for The Washington Post. Off air, he is a partner at the law firm Larson O’Brien.

Media Matters: The Sorry State Of Both-Sides Political Analysis Right Now, In One Blog Post The Fix Goes After Bernie Sanders For Saying Trump Lies (He Does)

This is not a difficult conclusion to draw. You don’t need to be a bitter partisan to come to this conclusion. It’s perhaps the single most banal conclusion to draw from Trump’s behavior over his political life.
That political life began when he lied about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. He refused to back down from that lie for years, until he eventually lied about his birtherism.
Trump lies habitually -- not strategically, as many politicians do, but constantly, on matters great and small. His lies appear to be contagious, with his aides forced to pick up his bullshit and carry it onward.
“There has never been a serial exaggerator in recent American politics like the president-elect,” wrote Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler in December. “He not only consistently makes false claims but also repeats them, even though they have been proven wrong. He always insists he is right, no matter how little evidence he has for his claim or how easily his statement is debunked.”
Trump’s actions take a blowtorch to general standards of political discourse.
And so it was surprising but perhaps not shocking to discover that a writer at The Washington Post’s The Fix blog declared Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) tweets criticizing Trump for “shamelessly” lying were a tragic violation of our political norms.
At The Savvy House That Chris Cillizza Built, Amber Phillips presents Sanders’ comments as equivalent to Trump’s evidence-free, much-denied claim that Obama illegally ordered his phones tapped (Four Pinocchios, according to the Post’s Fact Checker blog):
One side of the aisle is accusing the president straight-up of lying. In 2017, that's just another day in politics.
This is the state of our political discourse right now. Political norms — like, don't accuse the president of the United States of lying without evidence, or don't accuse the former president of the United States of wiretapping your phones without evidence — have been eviscerated.
Trump says Obama tapped his phones without evidence, Sanders says he’s lying, and Phillips concludes that Both Sides are at fault. Trump's tendency to lie is so brazen that he's actually managed to get Sanders and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to agree on the subject. But for Phillips, calling Trump a liar is not an accurate diagnosis of reality, but a partisan Democratic tactic. In 2017, that's just another day in political analysis.
“Plenty of nonpartisan observers would agree that the extraordinary claims Trump is making have no precedent in modern-day politics,” Phillips writes. “Here's the problem with using the ‘L’ word in politics, though. To say someone's lying suggests that you know they don't believe what they're saying.”
Phillips is channeling the talking points of the Trump administration. Sean Spicer used his first appearance before the press corps as White House press secretary to, in the words of Post columnist Margaret Sullivan, “brazenly lie” to them. Asked at a subsequent briefing if he would “pledge never to knowingly say something that is nonfactual,” Spicer responded that his “intention is never to lie,” but at times he will unknowingly pass along incomplete or inaccurate information, and that it would thus be unfair to “turn around and say, ‘OK, you were intentionally lying.’”
Kellyanne Conway, for her part, has termed critics calling Trump a liar “dangerous to the democracy,” not too far from Phillips’ declaration that comments like Sanders’ are destroying political discourse and making it harder for Trump to pass legislation.
“All of that is why we in the media are careful not to call Trump a ‘liar,’” Phillips concludes. “But top Democrats like Sanders feel no such hesitation.”
The press has at times been hesitant to call Trump a liar, but the hard and fast rule Phillips wants to cite does not exist. At the Post, her colleagues SullivanGreg SargentErik Wemple, and Jennifer Rubin have all highlighted Trump’s “lies.” Rubin is a conservative, suggesting that one need not be a partisan to use such terminology; writers at National Review and The Weekly Standard have done the same.
If what Phillips means is that major news outlets have not referenced him as such in their news coverage, she is closer to the mark -- but still wrong. Several outlets, including the Post, have followed the line of reasoning Phillips uses in explaining why they don’t call Trump a liar in their news pages.
But not all of the Post’s competitors have taken that path. The New York Timeshas twice called out Trump for using a “lie” on its front page -- in Septemberwhen referencing his “‘birther’ lie,” and in January when discussing his “lie about [the] popular vote.”
Both statements were among those Sanders highlighted as lies.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to demand that politicians adhere to the same standards for rhetoric as news reporters. It makes even less sense to say that they should adhere to the standards of the Post and not that of the Times.

Media Matters: Wash. Post health care reporter has a history of spreading misinformation about abortion
On February 14, Washington Post health care reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham garnered significant attention for tweeting that it was “super weird how people are blaming their diminished sense of well-being on the Trump administration” when “personal events determine [her] quality of life; not who’s in the [White House].” Beyond this insensitive tweet, Winfield Cunningham also has a history of spreading right-wing misinformation about abortion and reproductive health in her reporting.

Note: Its funny that there are so many instances of actual fake news in the Washington Post when thats what the right claims for all media that isn't it. But all of right wing media likes to run fantasy rather than fact so a "fake news" accusation from them has little to no validity to a modern citizen.

Here is the NRA's latest in a laundry list of attacks against the First Amendment

The National Rifle Association’s broadcast platform NRATV has launched its latest attack against freedom of the press, this time targeting The Washington Post, calling the newspaper a “fake news outlet” and claiming it is where “journalism dies.”
On July 11, the Post published an article calling an NRATV video about political unrest in the U.S. “dark.” The article noted that the video condemned “Democratic politicians, the media and activists as the catalysts for political upheaval” in this country, “with one glaring omission: firearms.” According to the article, the video focused on “political discussions” around public safety during civil unrest, “with less clear connections to Second Amendment rights.”
On July 17, NRATV released a response video featuring NRATV host Grant Stinchfield, who called out the Post reporter by name and slammed him for “tell[ing] us we can’t have an opinion unless it’s about guns.”
The video also accused the Post of “spreading lies about those who disagree with their radical agenda” and said the newspaper is pushing “organized anarchy” that is “destroying our country.” Stinchfield went on to claim, “You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm.”
Less than one day after the video’s release, The New York Times’ Max Fisher tweeted that the video is “edging right up to the line of endorsing violence against journalists,” while HuffPost called it “disturbing.”


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