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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Unfair Balance at the Times

David Rosenbaum, David E. Sanger, Edmund L. Andrews, Robert Pear and Scott Shane.
do a excellent job of pointing out Richard Cheney's lies in todays Times . I am assuming that Mr Shane is not really named ScottShane and is not a representative of one of the ethnic groups that uses only one name. However, they are required to be balanced, which in this case, requires them to come close to libeling Edwards writing "Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards often stretched the facts last night on issues including the war in Iraq and medical malpractice lawsuits."

The only example of a fact allegedly stretched by Edwards that I can find in the article is "Mr. Edwards suggested an improper relationship between the Bush administration and Halliburton, the company with large contracts in Iraq that Mr. Cheney led before he ran for vice president." In this case the stretching is noting that there is a conflict of interest in a case in which there is no proof of "pulled strings." By that standard, the Times has stretched a few facts from time to time, as in, for example, whenever they discuss conflicts of interest, the appearance of impropriety etc etc etc. When the reality as determined by the hard working researchers is one sided, the headline and lede should not be balanced.

Struggling for balance Rosenbaum writes " Mr. Cheney said correctly that Mr. Edwards had missed most votes in the Senate this year, as well as many committee meetings." I wonder if the idea is to balance the long long list of Cheney's lies and distortions with a complete list of everything he said that was true. I didn't watch the debate. I wonder if Cheney had any other episodes of honesty.

Finally, what is the point of illustrating the story with a photo of the debate which adds no new information instead of the photo of Cheney and Edwards at the national prayer breakfast as posted by Kos, which adds the information that Cheney told a totally pointless lie on which he was sure to be caught ?

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