As 2013 comes to a close, we at PoliticusUSA thought we’d take a look at some of the year’s biggest winners and losers. For this particular column, we asked several writers to give us their pick for the worst moment by the news media in 2013. Here are the responses that we received. Enjoy!
Sarah Jones: Managing Editor/Columnist
Comparing a glitch in the ObamaCare website to George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq on a lie. One saved lives, one killed.
Justin Baragona: Senior Editor
The worst moment for the news media in 2013 was when Lara Logan ran a wholly inaccurate Benghazi story on 60 Minutes. It wasn’t just the shoddy reporting. It wasn’t just that the witness that Logan interviewed fabricated his story completely. It wasn’t even the awful ‘apology’ that Logan made after CBS realized that their story did not hold up to any journalistic scrutiny. The worst part of the whole affair is that CBS News decided that they needed to feed the beast of the conservative media entertainment complex. If there was one thing they knew that would attract right-wingers to their network and bring a bump in ratings, it was an ‘exclusive’ on Benghazi. Whether it was true or not was irrelevant.
Rmuse: Opinion Columnist
The entire news media were losers for not reporting the dastardly Republican actions in Congress and especially in states where the GOP is decimating the poor, women, and particularly children. Their job is to inform and educate the people nationally and regionally so voters can make informed choices, but across the country they promoted the conservative agenda overtly and by omission. The once crucial Fourth Estate is little more than a 24/7 infomercial for the GOP, Koch brothers, and Wall Street.
Keith Brekhus: Contributing Writer
The only thing more pathetic than the media’s awful false Benghazi coverage and John King’s inept Boston Marathon phantom “arrest scoop” was CNN’s Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow lamenting the plight of rapists sentenced to jail in Steubenville. Pity the rapist. Yikes.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson: Editor/Columnist
This is a difficult one, considering how guilty the mainstream media is on a number of fronts. Fox News is such an easy target that I am going to put them to one side. Fox News, after all, does not even bother to disguise their being a propaganda outlet. But looking at the media as a whole, the hyperbole surrounding the Obamacare exchanges comes to mind, as does the media’s favorite new meme that 2013 was a disastrous year for the Obama administration. But I am going to say that the media’s worst moment was Lara Logan’s gratuitous attempt to revive the Benghazi hoax and then her wholly inadequate apology when the damage had already been done. Already disproved many times over, the mainstream media, despite an initial rejection of the hoax, has been complicit in keeping the fake scandal alive.
Dennis S: Contributing Writer
I submit that the worst moment for the news media in 2013 was the compendium of the daily reporting of the news, especially as it applied to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most noteworthy was the reportage from Associated Press. It seemed that in every story I read locally and nationally that was sourced to AP, ACA was cast in a bad light with content invariably including very subtle editorial positions. I remember the days when AP objectively reported the news. By contrast, in 2013, no matter how good the news about ACA (or Obama), there always seemed to be a negative “balance” within the story. Bad ACA news seemed to be fraught with scary possibilities and hyperbole, much greater than would be called for by responsible journalists. AP’s “dump on Obama and ACA” guy is Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. A few years ago, the right attacked him for his initial health care reporting. He’s obviously learned his lesson.
Black Liberal Boomer: Contributing Writer
Great question. I would have to say that the news media’s worst moment of 2013 was the way they covered the rollout of the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare. Admittedly the rollout was flawed, but the coverage was focused solely on the flaws and not on the many benefits of the program. Many members of the media essentially backed themselves into a corner by portraying the ACA’s troubles as something that would never, ever be fixed. Which was just plain stupid because it was so obvious that this was nothing more than a temporary bump in the road. I don’t blame the media at all for pointing out that there were problems because that is their job. Nor should they have downplayed those flaws. But for them to ignore the full size of the story simply to hammer on one headline-grabbing issue day after day was inexcusable and a disservice to an American public that desperately needed better information to assist them in making better choices and decisions.
And there you have it, folks. These are PoliticusUSA’s picks for the news media’s worst moment of the year. Feel free to comment at the bottom and provide us with your thoughts. We will be posting more of these columns over the rest of the holiday season as we say goodbye to 2013.