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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Huffington Post Teaches NYT, WAPO, NPR and the Rest How to Report the News

Huffington Post Teaches NYT, WAPO, NPR and the Rest How to Report the News

Friday, 06 May 2011 12:43

Reporters have full time jobs reporting the news. This means that they are supposed to have the time to learn about the issues on which they are reporting. This is in contrast to their audience who generally have full time jobs doing something else.

This means that reporting both sides of an issue does not mean writing "Joe said the X" and "Jane said not X." It means that reporters are supposed to take a few minutes to find out whether or not X is true, and then share this information with readers.

This issue comes up with regard to Republican plans to "drill here, drill now" in response to the recent run up in gas prices. The Republicans claim that if we just allowed the oil companies to drill everywhere they want, it would get the price of gas back down to an acceptable level. Environmentalists and some Democrats have argued that given the size of the world oil market, any additional drilling can only have a minimal impact on oil prices.

The NYT, WAPO, and NPR have all reported this one as a he said/she said leaving it to their audience to determine who is right. By contrast, the Huffington Post did a bit of homework. They talked to some experts in the field. These experts told their audience that even if we make very generous assumptions about the potential increase in domestic oil production it will take at least 5 years to notably increase output and that it would have minimal impact on gas prices.

This is the way a real news organization deals with issues.

Comments (4)Add Comment
Sometimes Get's Reporting
written by muysuave, May 06, 2011 1:57
Nice comment about Huff Post, however, they sometimes slide into comfy MSM mode reporting. Example, this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...58218.html

They don't cite other expert opinions. Obviously US manufacturers are doing a PR blitz.
written by Moopheus, May 06, 2011 6:34
Too bad that ethic doesn't extend to the medical quackery they promote pretty regularly in their pages--Chopra, Weil, Mercola, etc., etc.--if it's woo they go with it.
written by S.D. Jeffries, May 07, 2011 10:20
Considering the sputtering start HuffPo began with, I think the recent shake-up in the journalistic quarters and the ensuing layoffs made some good reporters available, and HuffPo had the good sense to hire some of them - at least as guest writers. We'll see whether reporting actually improves across the entire publication, but they've been publishing some good pieces on economics lately, including from our host, Dean Baker.
Read a little closer, Dean
written by Tim Kr., May 09, 2011 10:34
Here's what the NYTimes story on the bill said: the "bill that would not bring down prices at the pump."
And the "NPR" story was actually an Associated Press story that HuffPost had also posted on its site.
Somebody needs to do a little more homework before they "beat the presses."
It's more than a little frightening that you're promoting the 'journalism' of the aggregator of all aggregators as "a real news organization."

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.