Yellow Journalism – who can you trust?

The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.
Carl Bernstein

From Wikipedia: Yellow journalism is journalism that downplays legitimate news in favor of eye-catching headlines that sell more newspapers. It may feature exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, sensationalism, or unprofessional practices by news media organizations or journalists. Campbell (2001) defines Yellow Press newspapers as having daily multi-column front-page headlines covering a variety of topics, such as sports and scandal, using bold layouts (with large illustrations and perhaps color), heavy reliance on unnamed sources, and unabashed self-promotion…The term was extensively used to describe certain major New York City newspapers about 1900 as they battled for circulation. By extension the term is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion, such as systematic political bias.

Interesting story from October 6, 2008 here.  It says in part:

Yet, take Biden’s statement from the debate on the role of the vice president:

“Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

“And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

“The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive, and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.”

One should be careful when throwing around terms such as “most dangerous” and “bizarre.” But Biden is confusing which part of the Constitution covers the Executive Branch (it is Article II, not Article I). More importantly, the notion that the vice president can preside over the Senate only when there is a tie vote is simply wrong. Nor is it true that the only legislative involvement the vice president has is to break tie votes. The vice president is the president of the Senate, where he interprets the rules and can only be overridden by a vote of 60 senators.

Early vice presidents spent a lot of time in the Senate. Thomas Jefferson even spent his time writing “A Manual of Parliamentary Practice: for the Use of the Senate of the United States.” Modern vice presidents may show up only when they think tie votes will occur, but that is their choice.

This isn’t rocket science. The Constitution on this point is very straightforward: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.”

Instead, it was Palin who got it right. Besides correctly stating that the vice president holds positions in both the executive and legislative branches, she also noted that:

“Of course, we know what a vice president does. And that’s not only to preside over the Senate and [I] will take that position very seriously also. I’m thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chooses to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president’s policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.”

But just as the vice president’s job includes more than simply being ready to assume the presidency if the president dies, the Constitution merely states what the vice president’s minimum responsibilities are.

Sarah Palin has been kicked around as being ditzy and bimbo-ish since she was named as McCain’s Vice Presidential nominee.   Clearly, it’s she, and not Joe Biden, who has a handle on things.

Read the story on other Biden misstatements, including:

— health care taxes

— Obama middle class taxes

— War spending – Iraq versus Afghanistan

— Hezbollah

— Obama meeting with Iran without preconditions

— Iraqi budget surplus

The story goes on to say:

Unfortunately, voters who are trying to get an accurate count on whether the candidates are telling the truth can’t rely on the media. FactCheck.org mentions only one of these points, the size of the Iraqi surplus. The Washington Post mentioned Biden’s misstatement on Hamas and Katie’s restaurant. AOL’s coverage of the errors in the vice presidential debate was by far the worst, though that might not be too surprising given that Tommy Christopher, who wrote their news analysis, also blogs on the Obama Web site. None of these checkers mentioned Biden’s statements about the role of the vice president.

And then details some of the unchallenged errors in Palin reporting.

What the American public wants is the facts about the candidates.  For the last several elections, the media has become more and more invested in a particular candidate and less likely to do objective reporting.  It’s a shame.  Americans are busy people and don’t have time to sift through the mountains of information to find balanced information.

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