Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lazy Journalism

You know, I don't envy journalists. If you do your job properly, it can be a difficult task between fact checking and research, multiple sources and looking for the scoop. So imagine my surprise when I saw this from the LA Times:
Mississippi officials blast BP, U.S. government as oil hits coast -
Gov. Haley Barbour condemns a lack of resources; Rep. Gene Taylor is 'dumbfounded' by 'wasted effort, wasted money and stupidity.'

Yes, Heehaw reject Haley Barbour is pointing fingers at the federal government for the lack of response and failure to capture the oil offshore before hitting Mississippi's shores. Rep. Gene Taylor, whom I've written about before regarding the BP disaster, was equally outraged:

At a news conference Monday, Barbour said that "the plan we agreed to with the unified command and BP wasn't being given the resources to be totally effective." As a result, he said, "there continues to be more oil in the [Mississippi] Sound than we have the capacity to deal with, unless we get lucky."
Speaking at the same event, Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), whose district lies on the coast, said he flew over the spill Saturday and "was dumbfounded by the amount of wasted effort, wasted money and stupidity that I saw."
I scanned the rest of the article for mention of Barbour's dismissal of the oil spill, tar balls and it's non-toxicity. I looked for quotes from Gene Taylor saying the oil would evaporate within a week. But I saw nothing. The two actors were being reported on, were shaking their fists at the evil government, but there was no perspective. There was no ironic twist being that said actors shrugged their shoulders two months ago, with Barbour especially whining about the media making such a big deal about the spill it would hurt his state's tourism.

So I e-mailed Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Richard Fausset, the authors of the article.
Subject: Re: Mississippi officials blast BP, U.S. government as oil hits coast
From: [Broadway Carl]
Date: June 29, 2010 10:31:39 AM EDT
To: richard.fausset@latimes.com, molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

Dear Mrs. Hennessy-Fiske and Mr. Fausset,
Perhaps a little perspective on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Rep. Gene Taylor would have behooved your article of June 29th, "Mississippi officials blast BP, U.S. government as oil hits coast," such as the fact that for weeks, Barbour has been downplaying the oil spill in an attempt to get tourists to go to the beaches, or that he's had 6,000 National Guard troops at his disposal to prepare for the oncoming oil slick and has only deployed 58. Or that's he's called the oil not unlike a food mousse and not poisonous. Now he's singing a different tune that the oil has reached his shores.
Or Rep. Gene Taylor, who said the oil would evaporate within a week during the first few days of the disaster, also calling it chocolate mousse in consistency.
For these men to dismiss this catastrophe weeks ago when it first began and now turn their flippancy to blaming and finger pointing is absolutely disgusting and should be called out.
[Broadway Carl]
Mr. Fausset was kind enough to respond:
From: Fausset, Richard 

Subject: RE: Mississippi officials blast BP, U.S. government as oil hits coast
Date: June 29, 2010 4:54:12 PM EDT
To: [Broadway Carl]
Mr. [Broadway Carl]:
Hi there. I agree that I should have mentioned Barber's earlier downplaying of the spill. My bad.
Richard Fausset
LA Times Atlanta bureau
That's it. No update on the web article. Sigh. At least he answered his e-mail.


veralynn said...

excellent BC!

NowhereMan said...

You just pointed out why newspapers are dieing.For consumers of the news like us, it annoys us to no end that when we follow a developing story,lazy reporters like these act as stenographers.They print quotes but don't bother to simply google the politician's discrepancy statements in the past!
Why should I spend money on a newspaper when I can get a better picture of the story on my own!?maybe reporters have arthritis in their fingers or just totally incompetent.How about the time Rudy told Stephanopoulis that we were never attacked by terrorist under Bush and wasn't challenged!?He responded the next day the same way that shmuck did-MY BAD!