Megalomedia - Wake up to your news

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Well don't that beat all

I'd like to thank everyone who helped with the Actionline alert yesterday, several people contacted the Post and many others signed up for future alerts. And in case you're wondering if it made a difference. . . "A tanker explosion outside the main United States base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, that destroyed five fuel trucks on April 17 has been determined to be an accident, not the result of a Taliban attack. Incorrect information appeared in yesterday's Post." There it is, wedged into the bottom of A2. Not the best play, but it seems to be par for the course in the mainstream press these days to bury corrections on A2, rather than give them the play of the story, as is the ethical journalistic standard. In fairness, the erroneous detail was buried in the story too, and I think we should consider this a very good start. So again, thanks. I'd say the experiment was a success. I'd also really appreciate feedback on the endeavour. It's already been suggested that I link to the stories in question to give people a chance to see for themselves what they're complaining about, a very good idea that I hope to incorporate next time. Any other ideas or comments, please drop me a note at megalomedia.actionline@gmail.com Well, did they? Yesterday I pointed out that the Gazette was the only paper to report on the U.S.-prompted firing of a UN official who highlighted prisoner abuse in Afghanistan. Optimistically I suggested someone else might get it today. No such luck. Okay, they skipped it, but they had other important stuff to report, right? The Toronto Star and Montreal Gazette report today that the CIA's weapons inspector in Iraq said the search for weapons of mass destruction had gone as far as it feasibly could and turned up nothing. He added that there is no purpose in keeping detainees who are in custody because of their knowledge of Iraqi weapons. Hey, remember when this was the case for war? When Bush said they posed an imminent threat and much of the Canadian media agreed? Shouldn't this sort of story make the papers? For shits and giggles, let's see what the Citizen did run in their World section: "Alarms raised as media chase Prince Harry's car" "Air travel can make you sick: study" "Agressive jungle ants engineer unique way of trapping prey" "Exploding toads baffle experts in Germany" "Jackson's ex to testify for prosecution" Wow, that's some hard hitting stuff. How abou you, Post? "British lottery winner just a front man" "Judge rules that Jackson's ex-wife can testify against him" "Elton John plans to wed long-time partner in December for the tax breaks" The Globe skipped the story too, but in fairness to them, their World section is pretty good. It shouldn't be this easy. I shouldn't be able to pull five headlines out of a paper just like that. But I can, and that's sad. Polling polling polling, get those bastards polling. . . I hate polls. I hate polls because I worked as a telephone surveyor for one day, then quit. I've seen the kind of people conducting these polls and I have no confidence that they are presenting the already-biased questions objectively or with any clarity. That said, I also hate polls because they are easy to manipulate to suit your needs. Exhibit A. The Ottawa Citizen's lead story today has the following subheadline: "But poll has ban news for Martin: TV speech didn't halt Liberal plunge or help his reputation. The story cites an Ipsos poll done for CanWest/Global The Ottawa Sun ran a poll story too, originally from the Canadian Press, about a Decima poll. It's headline? "Speech put stop to slide" So which is it? Did Martin's speech stop his slide in support or not? I've already ranted about the fact that polls are media-generated stories, but here's further evidence of their uselessness. Two polls, designed to gague public opinion, came to two different and ultimately contradictory conclusions. What's the point? Oh right, generating coverage.

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