Sunday, March 14, 2004

Leftoid Freaks and Lardass Reporters

Matthew Continetti does a little digging on the bogus 9/11 ad kerfuffle in The Weekly Standard - How to Stage a Controversy:
For much of the controversy can be traced directly to a press release issued by the Institute for Public Accuracy, or IPA, at a little after 2:00 P.M. on March 4.

The IPA is a five-person media clearinghouse located in the National Press Building. According to GuideStar, a website that tracks nonprofits, the group "promotes the inclusion of outlooks that usually get short shrift." It does this by issuing press releases. It has been issuing press releases since April 8, 1998. These go out to about 7,000 journalists and television producers. They promote speakers and experts whose outlooks are generally of a far-left bent. When I asked Sam Husseini, the IPA's communications director, whether the outfit was left-liberal, he told me, "I'm so far beyond labels, just give me the facts." But the IPA's facts are often questionable (mass starvation in Afghanistan, a massacre at the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002, and so on), and their opinions are always hard-left. After the Clinton administration began its bombing of Kosovo in March 1999, the IPA promoted the antiwar punditry of Howard Zinn, the radical historian, who claimed Clinton had "deceived" the United States into war against Slobodan Milosevic. And when the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, the IPA turned reporters onto similar radical ideologues who opposed the war. Ditto with the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Second, the IPA press release directed reporters interested in the Bush campaign ads to Adele Welty, David Potorti, and Colleen Kelly, members of a group called September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. All three had lost relatives in the September 11 attacks. All were promoting Adele's upcoming peace mission to Afghanistan. And all were also "available to comment on the Bush advertising campaign," with their phone numbers provided.

And comment they did. Sifting through the news coverage of the controversy over Bush's ads, one finds the same individuals--Schaitberger, Potorti, and Kelly--quoted again and again. Schaitberger and Kelly are both quoted in a Boston Globe story that ran on March 5. Schaitberger and Kelly Campbell, a spokeswoman for September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, were the sources for the Washington Post's account. Kelly, Potorti, and Jeff Zack, a spokesman for the International Association of Fire Fighters, are quoted in the AP dispatch on the Bush ads. Potorti is quoted in USA Today's story.

In fact, members of Peaceful Tomorrows are often quoted without any mention of their group affiliation. In what looks like an egregious case of lazy reporting, multiple news outlets treated members of Peaceful Tomorrows as if they were nonaffiliated people-on-the-street in order to make the controversy over the Bush ads seem widespread.
Nice to the see that the guardians of the republic didn't have to stir their buns from the bar at the National Press Club (in the National Press Building). Of course, when it comes to promoting leftoid whines, they wouldn't have it any other way.