Tag Archive: Journalism

How Pink is Your Presidential Campaign News?

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This week, we find this rather stunning report from Women’s Media Center on 9 daily papers doing some of the best-read reporting on the presidential election – both primary & general.

There’s not a lot of pink on that chart. And who would have guessed that at the 3 dailies regional to New Jersey – New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Wall Street Journal – that WSJ would have the biggest chunk of pink? The most stories by women covering the election?

Blue Jersey isn’t much different. Loretta Weinberg and I are surrounded on all sides by smart, literate menfolk (we do just fine, thank you). But Blue Jersey should have more women writers, and a bump in diversity.

Do you see yourself writing for Blue Jersey? We’re looking – hit me up.

“A statistically significant drop” goes completely unreported

promoted by Rosi

Someone needs to explain this headline in the Star Ledger for me:

Gov. Christie is no less popular than he was 2 months ago, poll says

Ok, so that is the headline.  Then I went to look at the poll which supposedly “says” this and found that Christie currently has a 54% approval, where as two months ago he had a 57% approval.  And the month before that, he was at 59%. In fact, they never even mention those numbers outside the current 54% in the story. That fact did not escape Pollster Patrick Murray, who also questioned the headline, first tweeting:

54 and 57 are now the same number? | Gov. Christie no less popular than 2 months ago, poll says

Then he followed it up with this:

Except that he is, according to that poll. Down from 59% in April to 57% in May to 54% now – a statistically significant drop

Just to be clear, the pollster who does this stuff for a living says it is a statistically significant drop.  The media outlet that is supposed to report that news says it’s no change. Just sloppy.  

You choose: Public TV analysis? Or Christie front office press release?

Earlier today, I remarked to a very smart woman that NJTV was actually going to cover the governor’s speech today – live, instead of cartoons. Of course they are, she replied drolly, it’s Christie.

Cover they did, live but without commentary. No intro or post-game commentary from Michael Aron or any of the other journalists in their stable. No savvy speculation on what Christie might say or context for today’s special session. Just a rrrrrip from prancing field mice to the big man striding into the chamber.  And a rrrrrip back to cartoons in the middle of Assembly Democrats discussing afterwards. There were some technical glitches – the feed bounced back and forth a few times from the Governor, to cartoons, to Christie, to cartoons. That’s forgivable. Funny, even.

NJTV is one year old. The handover that read like a gold-wrapped gift to the Adubato family is gelled. NJTV can no longer claim baby steps. Said Asm Patrick Diegnan, in a piece in Sunday’s Ledger: “It’s a wake, not an anniversary. Effectively, NJTV is dead. Nobody watches it.” Ouch.

We all have a stake in good coverage, in good journalism, and in the transparency that a network broadcasting deliberations, hearings, and speeches of electeds works toward. And in the accountability that can come with transparency. NJTV is better than its awful first months. But it’s still inadequate. And there’s not enough good journalism going on.

Take, for example, this coverage posted at their site of today’s speech. We don’t post articles in their entirety – you can read it here – but this is how it starts. I ask you – – does it sound like public TV analysis? Or Christie front office PR?

Christie Strikes Conciliatory Tone, Speaks of Bipartisanship in Pitch for Tax Cut



To a special joint session of the Senate and Assembly, Gov. Chris Christie used a gentler tone than the one he has used at town hall meetings to describe the Democratic-controlled legislature. He made an appeal to both chambers of the legislature to adopt his tax cut plan, arguing that giving New Jerseyans tax relief today would create jobs tomorrow.

For almost two thirds of the speech, the governor detailed and spoke glowingly of bipartisan accomplishments of the past two years. “We’ve done something pretty unprecedented, not just for New Jersey, but for our country,” said Christie.

Despite fierce disagreements, he touted the way both sides have compromised to get things done, which he says makes New Jersey a model for bipartisan leadership. “Washington, D.C. has been paralyzed because people talk at one another and not to one another. No one stops for a second to think about how what they fail to do today will lead to failure for our citizens tomorrow. Instead, it’s a constant fight to see who wins the next 24-hour news cycle.”

Isherwood: Joe Scarborough’s Liberal Bent

The media infuriates me in it’s willingness to transcribe not only Chris Christie’s words, but also his entire world-view.  And to treat that world view as if it were fact.  Here’s PolitickerNJ’s Darryl R. Isherwood in a Backroom post:

Look for Gov. Chris Christie to make an early morning stop on “MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” some day soon after the pugnacious governor took host Joe Scarborough to task in a tweet criticizing the show’s liberal bent.

That’s right, former Republican Congressman Joe Scharborough’s MSNBC show has a “liberal bent.”  Presented as absolute, unavailable TRUTH by the reporter’s own words, not Christie’s.

Here’s how Politico, who “broke” the story, introduced it.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s ribbed “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough Monday with a text message suggesting the show has a definite liberal bias.

See, on Politico Chris Christie suggested Scarborough had a liberal bias.  But Isherwood states it as a fact, further supporting the falsehood that MSNBC is liberal all the time.  

BTW, Isherwood didn’t even have the common courtesy to link to the Politico story even though he referenced it.  He’s not only being sloppy, but also has no clue about how to write for the Internet.

A Challenge For Tom Moran:

Dear Mr. Moran:

As the Editorial Page Editor of the largest newspaper in New jersey, you command a pulpit on public policy that is arguably second only to the governor’s. Today, you used that pulpit to, once again, push a specific version of education “reform”:

Sadly, the first casualty could be education reform, the next big item. Christie wants to reform tenure, introduce merit pay for teachers, provide vouchers for private schools, and expand and improve charter schools.

And yet not once in this column – or in previous columns about this subject – have you made the case that this “reform” will actually work.

Dear Blue Jersey Readers

I’m posting this on the sidebar and not the front page as this is my opinion on a much bigger issue – something that to a degree, we have been covering and discussing here for a long time now.  I also want to state unequivocally that this is not in response to the post by Rosi about Oliver – I agree with her position there.

One thing that I always liked about blogging, and even more so since I started posting here 5 years or so ago is that, despite the attempts to portray bloggers as not being serious, there are many many instances where we have been able to ask questions and do digging or research that our counterparts in the corporate media can’t or won’t do themselves.  Over the years here, we have uncovered and broken many important stories – but have also been able to (in at least a small way) help shape opinion with posts on framing that are less of the digging-variety and more of the opinion/thought evoking types.

I’m proud to have been able to collaborate with many great writers and researchers, some of whom are no longer here, on both fronts.  And while there is tremendous value in both, the biggest mistake is one where opinion clouds judgment and “facts” or “evidence” become the basis for assertions where such facts or evidence do not actually exist, or giant leaps are made in order to fit an opinion.  

One thing that has always been a pet peeve of mine is when this distinction is clouded – by the corporate media and more importantly by bloggers – since bloggers already start without the same “benefit of the doubt” as those in the corporate media have.  We have called out members of the media in the past, and we have also developed good relationships with members of the media – even those who we have called out.

The good thing is that the vast majority of writers here strive for something similar – not only to achieve better Democrats, but a progressive vision.  Sometimes, however, what a writer or journalist wishes to be true is asserted as stone cold fact.  This happens.  I’ve done it in the past and I am sure most have as well.  But while this is a dangerous thing to do (even by accident), what is more dangerous – whether it is a blogger or a professional journalist – is to double down when challenged on facts, accusations, assertions and conclusions and make it personal.  Just because someone is certain they are right and repeats their assertions over and over again doesn’t make them right – it only confirms the shallowness of the underlying argument.  This has happened here at Blue Jersey from time to time over the years.

We rightfully laugh when someone like Mulshine does it.  We may reach out to explain to someone like Jane Roe that what she may see as a “food fight” is really a debate about opinion asserted as fact.  And when I get something wrong, I certainly try to consider the source, my conclusion and perhaps edit the diary if necessary.  

To pivot onto a bigger picture item – yesterday’s news brought out more very disturbing information about Governor Christie’s ties to Koch – something that we have also covered here in the past.  Here is a potential Presidential candidate at a secret meeting with Koch, who has lied in the past and covered up his association with Koch, their interests and what very well could be quid pro quo events like RGGI, just to name the most obvious.

This is one of those times that Blue Jersey can take the lead and do something that could burst Christie’s bubble on the national scene in a huge way.  This is something that could ruin Christie.

We are supposed to be on the same page here – working toward a common goal.  The politics of personal destruction are what the Republican Party specializes in.  Most of us agree on 85%+ of things.  It’s too bad when some can’t see the big picture and past the other 10% or so and destroy others to further their own egos and personal agendas.

Blue Jersey has seized the moment before – on many occasions.   Here is another such occasion.  

How much media is Too Much Media?

Btw, tune in to NJN tonight at 6p for my interview on the subject. Special bonus (for those who haven’t been): it was filmed at my office. 🙂 -JG

Yesterday, the NJ Supreme Court ruled that a self-described journalist who posted comments on an internet message board was not covered by NJ’s Shield Law. (The Shield Law allows news reporters to protect the confidentially of sources and news or information gathered during the course of their work.)

The case, Too Much Media v. Hale, involved a New Jersey company that manufactures software known as NATS, which pornographic websites use to keep track of access to affiliated websites and determine what commissions are due the referring sites (talk about niche marketing!) and a woman in Washington State who accused TMM of violating New Jersey law. When TMM sued for defamation, Hale claimed she did not have to submit to a deposition because she was a news reporter protected by the Shield Law. The issue of whether Hale was entitled to that protection made it’s way to our state Supreme Court.

The Star Ledger reported on the decision with the scary headline: “NJ Supreme Court says blogger not protected from revealing her sources” and other media followed repeating the theme that “bloggers” do not enjoy NJ Shield Law protection. But, that’s not what the court said. In fact, the Court made it clear that a blogger would be protected if he/she met the 3 requirements expected of anyone seeking to invoke the Shield Law’s protections. More on the flip.  

Mulshinola

In today’s world, there are many types of journalists. Some, like me, are amateurs. Often referred to as “citizen-journalists”, we write because we love doing it. We don’t get paid, we typically have no formal journalism training, and we make rookie mistakes. In another category, despite the demise of the traditional news industry, there are professional journalists. They ply their craft to make a living, usually are graduates of respected journalism schools, and being human, they too often make mistakes. All journalists should be held to a high standard of ethics and integrity, and many citizen-journalists and most professional journalists write with those standards in mind.

Eagleton Forum on The Future of Journalism in NJ

promoted by Rosi

There’s a great forum on NJN, the future of journalism and the future of public media in NJ at Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics on the Douglas Campus tomorrow, 9/16.

Program starts at 5:30pm, Reception is at 5:00pm.  If you’ve never been to an Eagleton event you’re missing out.  Eagleton is the hub of intellectual activity about NJ politics and a nationally known hub for expertise on Women and Politics.

Woodlawn is an old mansion built in the 1830s and expanded in the 1890s and beyond.  Forums are held in the Drawing Room and are always on point.

Tomorrow’s speaker is Princeton Professor Paul Starr and panelists include the acting director of NJN Janice Selinger and Ellen Goodman a Professor of Law at RU-Camden and Co-Director of the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law.  Eagleton Associate Director John Weingart is moderating.

The Future of Journalism in NJ

The future of Journalism in NJ: NJZ

The NJ Legislative Correspondents Club held their annual Dinner last week, where reporters took turns lampooning themselves. Here’s one of the videos on the future of Jouralism in NJ, NJZ. Enjoy the laugh:

I think I like the other one even better- with the new statehouse security check-in for Democrats, Media, lepers, wretched refuse and gang members. I just posted it after the jump (hijacking Jason’s post with permission) – – Rosi