And CBS Wonders Why It’s in Last Place??

Here is an interesting item, courtesy of media Matters, that is the quintessential example of why journalists throughout the mainstream media absolutely MUST go back to fact reporting, and stop injecting their own analysis into every report.

Look at this report from through  Media Matters :

At one point, Obama seemed to take aim at Edwards, who has tried to make poverty the main issue of his candidacy.

"This kind of poverty is not an issue I just discovered for the purposes of a campaign," Obama stressed just nine minutes into his comments. "It is the cause that led me to a life of public service almost twenty-five years ago."

The timing of Obama’s speech — scheduled on the same day that Edwards scheduled his tour’s finale in Kentucky — suggests that Obama plans on fighting Edwards for title of defender of the poor. In fact, Obama pointed out he turned down lucrative offers at major law firms to return to the south side of Chicago as a community organizer, while Edwards went on to make millions as a trial lawyer before beginning his career in public service.

Jonathan Prince, Edwards’ campaign manager, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that while Obama had "been working hard throughout his life to make a difference," Edwards was "committed to the issue of poverty long before he was in public life."

Asked about Obama’s comment, Prince responded by emphasizing Edwards’ record on the issue, adding, "I have no reason to think that Senator Obama was talking about Senator Edwards at all."

You know, one of the things I have found striking about the 2008 campaign so far, is that the near-complete respect the tope-tier candidates have for each other (Clinton and Edwards’ overheard discussion notwithstanding, of course.), and Prince’s reaction to this absolutely absurd question was right on the mark. Here is an excerpt of Obama’s speech, including context, and it is clear to anyone who actually listened to it exactly what Obama is talking about.


But poverty is not just a function of simple economics. It’s also a matter of
where you live. There are vast swaths of rural America
and block after block in our cities where poverty is not just a crisis that hits
pocketbooks, but a disease that infects every corner of the community. I’ll be
outlining my rural agenda in the coming weeks, but today I want to talk about
what we can do as a nation to combat the poverty that persists in our


kind of poverty is not an issue I just discovered for the purposes of a
campaign, it’s the cause that led me to a life of public service almost 25 years


I was
just two years out of college when I first moved to the South Side of Chicago to
become a community organizer. I was hired by a group of churches that were
trying to deal with steel plant closures that had devastated the surrounding
neighborhoods. Everywhere you looked, businesses were boarded up, schools were
crumbling, teenagers were standing aimlessly on street corners, without jobs,
without hope, without prospects for the future.


He’s not talking about John Edwards; he’s talking about HIMSELF. He is saying that he didn’t just discover poverty for the purposes of HIS campaign. He’s not casting aspersions on anyone else, and Prince’s response was right on.

How about a  quick journalism lesson; who, what, where, why and how.  If you can’t answer any or all of these questions, you don’t report it. Edwards’ name was not mentioned in the speech, so what sort of journalist would report that he was talking about Edwards without asking first. And no, you didn’t ask, Whitney Smith, CBS News intern. You asked Prince to comment on what Obama said, and even he said that he didn’t think Obama was talking about him. And yet, you STILL wrote that Obama "seemed to" be talking about Edwards.  Given that Edwards’ spokesperson didn’t think that was the case, don’t you think you should have re-read and re-evaluated what you thought you heard?

And I refuse to blow this off, because Ms. Smith is "just an intern." As an intern, it’s pretty much a guarantee that someone above her approved this sloppy piece of writing, and did not hold her up to the journalistic standards that CBS News used to be known for.

Again; if you want to know why people don’t pay attention to the mainstream press, this is why. if people want personal news analysis, there are a million blogs out there, including this one, to provide that; why in God’s name would they go to CBS News to get some intern’s take on what she thought Obama might have meant.

Stick to the facts. There is more of a market for them, anyway. The opinion market is saturated.

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