02 June 2012

The Degraded Skills of Journalists

Fact Checking Connecticut Newspapers

Opinion Piece by Aldon Hynes at OrientLodge.com
It has been interesting for me to read various newspaper articles and editorials about the arrest of Chris Donovan's former finance director. Following the issue closely has revealed just how poorly Connecticut's paper are really doing in covering important state news.
Perhaps the most glaring error is that several newspapers such as The Day are reporting, Donovan to sit out special session as FBI probe continues. The heading is inaccurate. Speaker Donovan will participate in the special session, however, as the article goes on to state, he "will temporarily relinquish his leadership role during the state legislature's forthcoming special session". The Patch is similarly reporting, House Speaker Chris Donovan Won't Take Part in Upcoming Special Session. In The Patch's case, it does not appear that the article corrects the error in the headline.
Matt DeRienzo is also particularly sloppy in his editorial, OPINION: Chris Donovan’s betrayal of Connecticut’s working families. He writes,
On Thursday, the FBI arrested his finance director, charging that Donovan, or “Public Official Number 1,” as he is referred to in court documents, used his position as speaker to squeeze campaign contributions out of businesspeople affected by pending state legislation he controlled and then hide it from the Federal Elections Commission.
However, that's not what the FBI said. The affidavit talks about the conspirators hoping to get the Speaker to oppose a certain bill, but there is no indication that the Speaker even knew of the effort, let alone tried "to squeeze campaign contributions out of businesspeople". I'm fairly disappointed in Matt, because in other cases, he has tended to rely on facts instead of conjecture or hyperbole.
[...please read entire post but here's a touch more...]
The public does need to be diligent to make sure that elected officials cannot be bought and that their staffers properly do the job they are hired to do. Yet the public also needs to be diligent to make sure that the fourth estate is properly doing its job, and so far, it appears as if in several cases, the fourth estate is has not been up to the task.

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