The ABC’s of Journalism’s Eroding Integrity – Tea Party Nation


The ABC’s of Journalism’s Eroding Integrity – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

I joined the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in April 1979, thirty-three years ago. The preamble to its Code of Ethics says, “Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility” and that journalists should “test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent errors.”

Someone needs to send a copy of SPJ’s Code of Ethics to the news staff of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

ABC News and other practitioners of sloppy reporting prompted me to found The National Anxiety Center in 1990 as a clearinghouse for information to debunk “scare campaigns” designed to influence public opinion and policy. Part of that effort was a 2008 series “The Enemies of Meat” in which I examined the scare campaigns related to ranching.

The most troubling trend in recent times has been a steady erosion of journalism’s integrity.

In particular, the latest example has been ABC’s lax ethics that visited devastation on a company with a thirty-year history of safe operation, Beef Products, Inc. The company pioneered the provision of lean, finely textured beef which is blended with fattier hamburger to make it more learn and nutritious. It also protects it against pathogens with a process that won the coveted 2007 “Black Pearl” award from the International Association for Food Protection.

ABC reporter Jim Avila, in hot pursuit of a journalism award, wrote a series of reports claiming that BPI was producing “pink slime” with the network hyping the term by using it 52 times in a two-week period in March. Any reporter investigating BPI would have swiftly found a mountain of evidence exonerating the company from any hint of the allegations made against it.

Avila’s reporting put BPI in jeopardy of closing down entirely, forcing the suspension of business at plants in Texas, Kansas, and Iowa, while the headquarters plant in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, struggles to continue operations. So far 650 employees have lost their jobs with several thousand more jobs at risk at companies that relied on BPI, affecting their families and communities.

The company’s founder, Eldon Roth, wrote in a March The Wall Street Journal ad that “Before last summer, we could not have imagined the personal, professional, financial and spiritual impact of the campaign of lies and deceit that have been waged against our company and the lean beef we produce.”

When challenged on the job losses by Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center, Avila arrogantly tweeted him saying “Let’s be clear. No one job loss if bpi had been upfront with consumers” and dismissed a rebuke from the American Meat Institute’s Janet Riley, saying, “I’m saying we don’t go to lobbyists paid by meat industry to get our experts.”

Not upfront with consumers? The product in its present form has been used for more than a decade with coverage in the Washington Post, the New York Times, a Hollywood movie and more! As for the “experts” in Avila’s reports, he chose a former federal bureaucrat who called the product “pink slime” in a ten-year-old email to fellow employees at the Department of Agriculture.

In an April Bloomberg Business Week article, reporters, Bryan Gruley and Elizabeth Campbell examined the way BPI had been subjected to “sliming”, noting that its finely textured lean beef had been purchased for use by McDonald’s, Wal-Mart Stores, Burger King, Kroger, Taco Bell, and scores of grocers for many years. In short, if you have had a hamburger in the past decade, you have eaten lean finely textured beef and enjoyed it.

Avila repeated the formula in July when ABC aired a story about “super bugs” that it alleged was a strain of bacteria in chicken that could lead to urinary infections in women. ABC did acknowledge that “there is no study showing a definitive link between the presence of e-coli in chicken and infection in women…” but not until viewers had become alarmed by the report.

Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., the vice president of science and technology for the National Chicken Council, noted that, even if there was a “super bug”, it would be easily avoidable through “proper cooking and handling of poultry products, because all bacteria, resistant or not, are killed by proper cooking.” Cooking meat properly is a 10,000 year-old practice, but when someone forgets to do it, Avila and ABC thinks it is news.

The kind of reporting that has become the hallmark of ABC News is an insult to everyone. In the case of BPI, it constitutes a bogus attack on the meat industry and is destructive of the livelihood of everyone fortunate to bring home a paycheck in those industries.

What happened to BPI can happen any time a reporter like Avila dispenses with the most fundamental standards of journalism.

The ABC News product increasingly ceases to be journalism. It is sensationalism. It is reprehensible. It’s time to let ABC News feel the sting of public disapproval.

© Alan Caruba, 2012


How many times do they have to be wrong? – Tea Party Nation

How many times do they have to be wrong? – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

This morning, ABC News breathlessly announced the news they had been waiting for.  They finally had an incident involving violence, this being the mass murder in Aurora Colorado and they thought a Tea Party member did it.

 There was celebration at the office of Democratic Media, otherwise known as ABC News. 

 Then reality came crashing down on them.

 The gunman was identified as James Holmes and there was a Jim Holmes identified as a member of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots

 Only Jim Holmes is a 50 something year old man, not a 24 year old murderer. 

 Brian Ross and ABC News have apologized.

 Gee, that was nice of them.

 Perhaps they could learn the first rule of journalism, namely get your facts right the first time.

 The real problem with ABC news and the rest of the dinosaur news media is they are little more than shills for the far left.  How many conservatives are working for ABC News in an on air capacity?  Zero.

 How many liberals?  There is George Stephanopoulos, there is Robin Wright, there is Diane Sawyer and the list just goes on and on. 

 ABC does have its pet Republican, George Will who they bring out on Sunday talk shows so he can sit there, outnumbered three to one and offer non-offensive, not to mention non-effective Republican talking points.

 The narrative of the Tea Party member committing crimes is a narrative the media has been desperately trying to push since 2009. 

 Does anyone remember earlier this year?  A man named Michael Kobulnicky was arrested for rape and kidnapping.  Kobulnicky had been active in the Tea Party movement in San Diego for a period of time but had stepped down.

 The media went gaga.  MSNBC heralded the news they had been waiting for.   They could now gleefully ignore the rapes at the occupy mob camps throughout the nation.  They had a Tea Party criminal.

 Only then did something tragic happen.

 When the case went to court a few days later, the victim who had been raped and kidnapped said, he isn’t the guy who raped and kidnapped me.

 All of the drive by media outlets that reported on Kobulnicky’s arrest were amazingly silent when the charges against him were dismissed.

 In January 2011, when then Congressman Gabby Giffords was shot, the media again jumped.  We have a Tea Party assassin.

 No, that one didn’t work out either.  Turns out he was not that interested in politics.

 And now we have today’s incident.

 There is a remedy that should be sought.  Whenever someone offends liberal sensibilities the usual requirement is sensitivity training and affirmative action.  Well, this is the perfect case for it.  ABC should require all of its on air staff as well as its editorial staff to attend conservative/Tea Party sensitivity training.   In addition, ABC should show its contrition by hiring a couple of conservatives for major roles on the network.   After all, if it can hire a communications director from the Clinton administration who had never done a news show before, why can’t they hire one or two Tea Party activists for a major role on the air?

Obama’s Ghetto Style Tax and Spend Economics, PRICELESS! For everything else there’s…………… The China Card (via Voting American)

Mr. President the Chinese want their Money Back! All the eloquent speeches from the Anointed One will not improve our economy nor is it in any way shape or form going to create jobs. We now have a President that is so full of himself that America is suffering another financial setback that all the Kings men and all the Kings Czars cannot put back together again. The good news is that America is waking up and we have put real American Patriots in … Read More

via Voting American