Friday, October 30, 2009

Being a Pundit, Newscaster and Analyst X

It seems that Lou Dobbs of CNN has been lying, or at the very least stretching the truth. The Huffington Post reports that on his radio show he said that "'They've threatened my wife, they've now fired a shot at my house while my wife was standing next to the car.' Concluding with a call for 'truth, justice and the American way,' Dobbs cautioned 'if anybody thinks that we're not engaged in the battle for the soul of this country right now, you're sorely mistaken. And during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, Dobbs spoke again about the gunfire incident, linking it to 'threatening phone calls tied to the positions I've taken on illegal immigration.'"

The problem with Dobbs' statements is that the New Jersey police differs in their assessment of what happened. "In a phone interview conducted yesterday, Sgt. Stephen Jones, a NJ State Police spokesperson, chuckled out loud after he heard about Dobbs' account of the gunfire incident. Jones commented that he 'wouldn't classify it [the gunfire incident] as very unusual." He also confirmed that there are hunters in the area, and stated that, "at this time of year hunter [shooting] complaints go up.' Another policeman

"Another New Jersey State Police spokesperson, Sgt. Julian Castellanos, noted that 'it's a wide open area and there are hunters in the area.' Castellanos explained that the bullet had hit the house in vicinity of the attic; it 'hit the vinyl siding and fell to the ground' without penetrating the vinyl, he said. While Lou Dobbs' wife, Debi Lee Segura, was standing outside the house at the time of the gunfire, the bullet did not come close to her; it 'struck at the apex of the house, near the roof,' and thus considerably higher than a standing person, Jones observed."

It's shameful what newscasters will do for attention. CNN is looking pretty bad, right about now, especially after their intense following the balloon box hoax. Whatever happened to the dignity of the likes of Walter Cronkite? Dobbs' story seems to have all to do with ratings. I guess he's trying to compete with the Glen Becks and Rush Limbaughs of the world. Does CNN think that we want this kind of news?

Why else would Lou Dobbs think that he can titillate us with such deception? I skimmed passed a Dillon Ratigan article on the Huffington Post today. He was dressed as Thomas Jefferson and I just didn't even feel like reading it. A few weeks ago Ratigan was dressed as Dracula during one portion of his show. I stayed tuned anyway and I was happy to have done so. Some excellent points were made. However, this time I just wasn't up for it. I did not read the article. I wonder how others feel about the decline in ethics and news.

12 comments:

zorro said...

Dylan Rattigan drives me nuts. I almost always switch channls when he is on. Its not because of his politics - I bet we agree on politics about 80% of the time. The problem I have with him is he continually mixes his opinion with news. He can't seem to go more than 10 minutes without calling the people on Wall Street criminals
(I'm not saying they aren't - but I wouldn't mind some facts so I can form my own opinons).
In depth non-biased (or at least have it as a major goal to remain non-biased) reporting of the news would be an actual service. The problems we face are complex - in most cases, there is no good guy dressed in white and bad guy wearing a black hat.

Judith Ellis said...

I agree with you about Ratigan. (Ed Schultz also sometimes bothers me, although I appreciate his stance on the public option and holding banks accountable. But when I heard him yesterday suggest that Health Care Reform should be chucked yesterday. I turned him off too.) This statement is also agreeable: "The problems we face are complex - in most cases, there is not good guy dressed in while and bad guy wearing a black hat." I'm not too sure if that was ever really the case, even when it comes to all of the -isms: socialism, communism, capitalism, feminism, etc.

Marion said...

I agree, Judith, that's news doesn't seem to have much actual 'news' in it. It seems to lean more toward entertainment and sensationalism. Great post. Blessings!

zorro said...

I get the impression the Ed even gets on Chris Mathews nerves.
I used to listen to Ed when he was only on Air America. At the time Al Franken had a show that popular. Al made kind of a big splash in the liberal radio world and Ed would actually go off on that. He was ticked off that Al was getting a lot of press even though Ed had been around for a few years but hadn't recieved as much fanfare. That turned me off. If he felt that way, he should have kept it to himself. He also admitted on his radio that at one point, he had been a right wing talker. That even made me more suspicious of his motives - that taken with his rants about Franken made me think he was more about ego and having a good size audeince than what he belived in. But then again,I think his ranting on MSNBC might actually be helping with the Health Care bill. But I do find him to be very irritating much of the time.

Judith Ellis said...

Yes, Marion, news seems largely opinion these days. This is sad.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - I didn't know that story between Ed and Al. Chris Matthews seems quite opinionated himself and sometimes more than a bit sensational. I'm pretty sick of the whole news scenes these days. I rarely ever watch Fox News. In fact, I never have.

Corrie Howe said...

Journalism is more about entertaining and "me" than when I when I graduated with a journalism degree. I'm grieved and irritated. Honestly, I try not to watch anymore. I'd rather read.

Judith Ellis said...

Corrie -You are most certainly not alone. I'm afraid that it is merely a reflection of our "me" society.

John O'Leary said...

Is Dobbs still questioning whether Obama is a citizen? That's where he lost serious credibility with his peers.

Judith Ellis said...

Oh, John, how could I forget that? I think Dobbs lost more than the respect of his peers. Geraldo Riviera said that Dobbs single-handedly destroyed the image of Hispanics in the media. He also said that Dobbs isn't wanted at Fox. It looks like he might be boxed in. Do you know what's really strange? Dobbs' wife is Hispanic. Go figure!

zorro said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/opinion/02krugman.html?hpw

Krugman is one of my favorite columnsts. He is one of the names on the recently released White House visitors list. And he placed #3 in the Fortune (or Forbes) mosting infuential business leaders list.

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks for the article, Zorro. I knew that Krugman was advocating a much larger stimulus. GOP leader Boehner recently said "the trillion-dollar stimulus package isn't working and no amount of phony statistics can change that." The really sad thing is that this statement appears totally political in preparation for 2010. What would have happened without it? We would have been in much worse shape undoubtedly, having lost more jobs in both the private and public sectors. We were losing some 500 thousand jobs a month when President Obama took office. It was the highest jobs rate loss since the Great Depression. Cities remain strapped. Without the stimulus, many more public safety and teaching jobs would have probably been lost. The shameful thing about Boehner and his colleagues is that their only aim seems to do nothing in order to regain power in Congress. For them, and many of the conservative democrats, they appear largely driven by pure ideology and motivated to do nothing but support those industries that support their campaigns. The GOP leaders in Congress haven't offered another plan in relation to the economy or health care. The interest of their constituents and more pragmatism is needed.