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Monthly Archive

December 2007

Debits and Credits

A valuable warning from the Times; Ben Stein’s not all bad; The Economist malls it in

Editor's note: This Debits and Credits holiday edition reviews the business press from the past two weeks Two days before... More

Who Hates the Press?

From Watergate to the present, confidence in the media has been spiraling down

A new study traces more than thirty years of changing public attitudes toward the news media, and unhappily finds... More

Brief Encounters

Short reviews of books: the AP, the I. Lewis Libby trial, White House communications, and abuses of civil liberties

Breaking News: How the Associated Press Has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else By Reporters of the Associated Press, with... More

Laurel to The Principia Pilot

Send tips and comments to

Laurel to The Principia Pilot for truth-telling under difficult circumstances. When rumors began to circulate that CEO Stuart Jenkins, who... More

Rights and Wrongs

The most common words in politics can be the most deceptive

In 2002, a year after the terrorist attacks on new York and Washington, the Bush administration published a new version... More

Happy Holidays

Keep visiting us for magazine updates; daily coverage will return in ‘08

We'll be updating our magazine articles often during the holidays, so please keep checking back with us to read Aryeh... More

What do the people know, anyway?

While the public lists Iraq as their No. 1 concern, some in the press don’t believe them

I can't imagine the Clinton campaign is terribly thrilled about Matt Bai's article "The Clinton Referendum" that is slated to... More

Best of 2007: Genes, Exoplanets, and a Cardboard Bridge

Magazines diverge on the standout breakthroughs and discoveries of the year

Each December, many magazines deliver their obligatory summing-up issues of the highs and lows of the past twelve months. Time... More

A Consumer View on the FCC’s New Consolidation Rule

Q&A: Mark Cooper on cross-ownership

Tuesday, in a party line vote, the Federal Communications Commission issued a rule allowing certain newspapers and television stations to... More

Letting Sleeping Watchdogs Lie

The business press rediscovers regulators

Reading business-press coverage of Henry Paulson over the past few months was disorienting. Something was missing, but you couldn’t put... More

The X Factor

Q&A: Tim Townsend on Romney and religion

Tim Townsend has been the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s religion reporter since June 2004, and his religion coverage has also been... More

Foreign Policy Tells You What You Don’t Know

And some things you probably wish you didn’t

Think you're up on all the latest stories? Even better, do you think you have a pretty good handle on... More

No Such Thing as Dumb Questions?

League of Conservation Voters says TV news overlooks climate

The League of Conservation Voters has issued a challenge to the top cable and network TV news reporters: quit asking... More

Downie Overdoes It

A mostly reasonable defense of a reporter oversteps a fairness boundary

In an otherwise reasonable and spirited defense of a reporter, The Washington Post’s Leonard Downie Jr. trips by employing ad... More

PEJ Study Won’t End Partisan Bickering…

But it does reinforce our belief that there isn’t enough coverage of the troops in Iraq

While it is unlikely to change anyone's mind about what stories the press should cover in Iraq, or the endless,... More

We Have A Winner!

Is the Times’ Leibovich first to note a newly-plump Huck?

A week ago, I wondered to a colleague about how long it would be before a journalist pointed out that... More

Deception in Des Moines

The Register’s Media Watch might want to check the mirror

On Saturday The Des Moines Register weighed in with one of its Media Watch features, which critiques political ads and... More

Le Blog du Temps

Fashion goes online at the Met

The venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art, sentinel of centuries past, has officially joined the 21st: in its new exhibit, “blog.mode... More

Who’s Gonna Win Iowa?

Why you’ll never know

In today’s New York Times, Iowan Gilbert Cranberg (a past CJR contributor) and two co-authors have an excellent op-ed explaining... More

Think Globally, Read Locally

Strong business reporting from around the nation

In early December, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran more than a dozen pieces over several days on one of the... More

The Iowa Debates

In defense of boring

The Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television took a lot of knocks last week for the Republican and Democratic... More

Orwell Abuse

Orwell: muse, not model

Once in a great while, one encounters a writer who seems not only to have a finger on the pulse... More

Howie’s Got This One Right

Watch those blind quotes

Props to Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz for chiding campaign reporters who regurgitate stinging, anonymous quotes. He's got a... More

The Internets Win This Round

While local TV news reports hoax email as fact

Remember that "leaked" list of seventy-five suspected Major League Baseball juicers that came out on Thursday afternoon, a couple hours... More

Debits and Credits

Journal can’t get out of own way; Bloomberg blows up McClatchy; Kelly’s conflicts, etc.

The Wall Street Journal has a difficult job covering itself and the radical changes it faces with News Corp.’s takeover... More

Above the Fold: Ross, Kiriakou, and Waterboarding

Charles Kaiser takes on ABC’s torture coverage

This article originally appeared on December 17, 2007, at It is reposted here with the permission of the rightsholder,... More

The Times Comes Clean

Rumors are rumors, but not all are deflated

After we've repeatedly hammered the press for reporting as news the very narratives that they themselves create while covering the... More

Dems Shun Fox News

The great debate

In an age where charges of "bias" flow fast and furious at any reporter or news outlet that doesn't cover... More

Speed Flattens Shorts

It’s not easy being short, but Bloomberg gets it right while Reuters trips

Wire reporters sometimes turn out as many as two-dozen 300-word stories a day. This process inevitably requires quick compression of... More

‘Surge,’ Meet ‘Escalation’

The fight for clarity in language: a case study

Nothing has the capacity to frame political debate more successfully than a good turn of phrase, characterization, or metaphor; nor... More

Harassed, Arrested, Gagged: A Report From Somalia

Mogadishu’s Independent Media Battle a Government Crackdown

Mohamed Farah Italy, a reporter with independent Radio Simba in Mogadishu, was helming one of the station's call-in shows on... More

The Best Political Team On TV…

…Is in the “spin room” before debate even starts

Here's CNN's Candy Crowley, moments before this afternoon's Republican presidential debate, struggling to explain why, after debates, she and her... More

Watson’s Remarks Continue to Spur Argument

In debate about intelligence and race, little talk of what I.Q. means

The debate about the relationship between intelligence and race rages on in the wake of some controversial remarks made by... More

What He Said

Wise words from the FT’s Martin Wolf

An exceptionally wise column by Martin Wolf in this morning’s Financial Times strikes me as important for even casual business-press... More

America, Will You Accept This Rose?

AP fantasizes about the “Bachelor President”

In an Associated Press article headlined, “Bloomberg: A Bachelor President?” reporter Sara Kugler writes: “For all of his billions, Mayor... More

Climate Goes Prime-Time with Couric

CBS candidate interviews lack substance, but the time slot’s hard to beat

Global warming went prime-time last night as CBS's Katie Couric asked each of the presidential candidates to answer a single... More

Huckabee on Health

How about some details, Mike?

Candidate Mike Huckabee walked into the Oscar Frazier Community Center in Bluffton, South Carolina, the other day and charmed a... More

Iowa Hog Farms and Presidential Politics delivers unique report on local campaign issue

With less than month until the first presidential caucus, the media are turning more of their attention to Iowa, where... More

The Dowd Watch

All eyes on the most recent ex-political strategist to join journalism-land

Another political operative, this time former George W. Bush strategist Matthew Dowd, has been hired by ABC News as a... More

Fake Terrorist Calls for Violence

And it gets reported as if he were real

According to a New York Times report about new violence in Iraq this morning: Three days ago, a prominent Sunni... More

Eight Questions Reporters Should Ask Huckabee

Beyond (Wayne) Dumond

The campaign lurches along under more journalistic surveillance than ever before, but like other observers I'm often struck by questions... More

Parting Shot

WFB shores up his place in the establishment

A confession: back in June of 1988, when journalist John Judis (The New Republic) published his respectable and respectful biography,... More

Debits and Credits

Fortune suspends disbelief with Cheney; WSJ and FT advance knowledge, etc.

Fortune published an exclusive interview with Dick Cheney on the economy under the headline, “Why is Dick Cheney Smiling?” The... More

Journal Plays a Broken Record

Editorial board is clearly still bitter about Gore and climate

The disconnect between The Wall Street Journal's excellent coverage of climate change as a credible, man-made threat, and its editorial... More

Murdoch and that Lying Thing

Will be a problem for the Journal

He said that he admired the Dow Jones chief executive, Richard F. Zannino, and the newly appointed top editor,... More

NRO’s Editing Breakdown

Seems to be a problem with “opinion” mags these days

It looks like we won't have W. Thomas Smith to kick around anymore. The freelance National Review Online writer, who... More

A Health Care Mirage

How candidates (and reporters) misuse the word “universal”

By now we all know that the Democratic candidates are fighting about whose plan is more universal. Their sparring in... More

Mitt Romney, Mormon

Did you know they wear magical underwear?

Earlier this week, Marc Ambinder predicted in the Atlantic that one of the “cons” of Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America”... More


A bad mistake yields an inadequate correction, and lessons for the Journal

Readers know errors are a fact of newspaper life, and business-press readers are no different. Errors are to be regretted,... More

The Big Picture

Movie journalists get an image makeover

The movie poster for this fall’s The Hunting Party features a black-and-white photo of Richard Gere and Terrence Howard, press... More

Iraq and the Cost of Coverage

Serious stories, serious money

The debate about the ramifications of the U.S. troop “surge” that began last winter in Iraq is both highly politicized... More

Herd, Not Seen

The biggest winner of NPR’s Democratic debate? Its format

Yesterday afternoon, in a small room two doors away from the lobby of Des Moines' Iowa State Historical Building, two... More

The WaPo Keeps on Giving

But isn’t making much sense

I come not to defend CJR against the Washington Post's Assistant Managing Editor Bill Hamilton. I come to criticize further.... More

A Silver Lining at the Union-Tribune

Environment reporters not eligible for buyouts

Tough times at the The San Diego Union-Tribune - the paper wants to cut 43 newsroom employees. After buying out... More

Staying Together for The Earth

Marriage More Eco-Friendly Than Divorce

Yesterday, news outlets around the country jumped on a particularly lame study that just appeared in the journal Proceedings of... More

Fake Press Release Tricks the Morning News

Bali climate talks provoke little excitement otherwise

Despite some 1,500 articles from around the world already (according a Google search), there is as yet little news coming... More

Conduct Unbecoming…

A female presidential candidate (named Clinton)

Remember what happened to the presidential aspirant the press decided was The Angry Candidate four years ago? Surely, seasoned campaign... More

Another Free Ad on NYT’s Front Page

Surprise! Howard Wolfson thinks Hillary-as-nominee is good for Congressional Dems

In this morning's New York Times, reporter Carl Hulse tells the story of Nancy Boyda, a House Democrat who won... More

The Times’s Three-Year Silence on Pakistan’s Nukes

What did the paper know? When did they know it? And why didn’t they tell us?

On November 18, as the Musharraf rĂ©gime’s hold on power began to look more tenuous, The New York Times published... More

TNR and NRO, Together at Last!

It’s an editorial problem

Lt. Col. Bob Bateman, military historian and one hell of a bright guy does the best job I've seen yet... More

NRO Joins TNR in Walk of Shame

Another day, another reporter making stuff up

It looks like war-time fabrication isn't just the domain of The New Republic anymore. The National Review's W. Thomas Smith,... More

Play the Juggernaut Match Game!

Kurtz reports on the tragicomedy that is covering Clinton

For all you reporters cursed with the thankless task of covering Hillary Clinton’s campaign-turned-juggernaut, we feel your pain. Iowa’s a... More

Debits and Credits

Journal, Morgenson help navigate subprime torrent; Fortune walks into sandstone building, hurts nose

The business press is paddling like mad to keep up its head above the swirling subprime tide, making creative and... More

New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true - Data from Project Word quantifies challenges of freelance investigative reporting

Why one editor won’t run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation’s top economist - A reply to Paul Krugman on state taxes and job growth made some incorrect claims

Why we ‘stave off’ colds - It all started with wine

The New Republic, then and now - Tallying the staff turnover at the overhauled magazine

Why serious journalism can coexist with audience-pleasing content - Legacy media organizations should experiment with digital platforms while continuing to publish hard news

The rise of feelings journalism (TNR)

“Bloom engaged in an increasingly popular style of writing, which I’ve discussed on my blog before, which I call “feelings journalism.” It involves a writer making an argument based on what they imagine someone else is thinking, what they feel may be another person’s feelings. The realm of fact, of reporting, has been left behind.”

Things a war correspondent should never say (WSJ)

“The correspondent retelling war stories surely knows that fellow correspondents had faced the same dangers or worse”

On WaPo trying to interview a cow (National Journal)

“‘I wasn’t milked on the White House lawn by a strange man,’ The Washington Post—the venerable institution that would later come to break the Watergate scandal and win 48 Pulitzers—quoted her, a farm animal, as saying”


Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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Who Owns What

The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Study Guides

Questions and exercises for journalism students.