Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is PolitickerMD Starting to Show Its Blue Stripes?

I like PolitickerMD.  I try to read it everyday.  I may not agree with everything I read there, but those folks provide coverage you often can't get anywhere else (online or off).  Whether I agree with their op-ed pieces or not, they are usually well written and fairly well thought out.  However, today the good folks at Observer Media Group crossed a line - a pretty big one.

In an op-ed titled "Andy Recycles, Who Knew?", author David Paulson attacks Maryland Senator Andy Harris across the board.  Sometimes he's factually correct other times he isn't.

It's an op-ed, so normally I wouldn't care.  There's just one problem.  David Paulson is the Communications Director for the Maryland Democratic Party and PolitickerMD doesn't bother to disclose the fact anywhere in the body of the article.

Some of you may simply say, "So What?".  It's actually a pretty big deal.  Op-ed writers have a POV, no question.  However, if you read a column written by a guy who works for a candidate, office holder, or political party, aren't you justifiably a tad more skeptical than you would be reading a column by George Will, Thomas Sowell, or Maureen Dowd?

The good folks at PolitickerMD can respond that Paulson's bio is linked to.  It is.  I link to it above.  However, it's not quite the same thing.  Very few people click to an author's profile.  Not putting a note at the bottom of the post stating that Paulson works for the MDDEM's is a way of making people think that this guy is somehow "objective".

Now I know that some will claim hypocrisy on my part because of the recent brooha about an Andy Harris ad.  They would be wrong.  The Harris campaign made a good faith effort to verify that the quote was valid.  The Daily Times never printed ANY correction until after the ad ran.  To date the Kratovil campaign has only made available an edited version of the audio from the event in question.  There's a big difference.

PolitickerMD, as a rule, does a great job.  While I don't always like what the man writes, Danny Reiter has done an excellent job covering the First District race along with other aspects of Maryland politics.

To maintain their reputation as an excellent source of balanced Maryland political coverage, they just need to be a little more careful.  You know the old say, "For want of a nail ...".  In this case it's, "For want of one sentence at the bottom of an op-ed ...".

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings


Bejamin Jacob Smith said...

sorry my friend, but I think you are incorrect that the link is not sufficient.. for this republican reader, and apparently for you, it is enough.

Don't underestimate the intellectual curiosity of the reader. They are not as naive as you paint them to be.

G. A. Harrison said...

With Respect,

Assuming the intellectual curiosity of the reader is not a good bet. I also understand the argument that PolitickerMD is geared towards "political junkies and insiders".

This is similar to an argument I have had with my local paper. The spouse of the Exec. Editor works for Gilchrest. The spouse of the Managing editor works for the board of ed. They don't disclose. Their responses have run the gammit from "everybody knows" to "well then we would have to disclose that Susan Parker (op-ed) plays for the symphony if we do a story about the symphony".

Always better to err on the side of caution.

Anonymous said...

Politicker should absolutely put in an editor's note about Paulson's paid postion as the Democrats' spokesman. It would be that way with any other news source. Also, knowing that Paulson has a prediliction towards 'untruths,' the editor's note is that much more important.
Similarly, why do they not have anything then from the state GOP? Was the state GOP offered a column? They leave Paulson's up on the site even though he goes weeks without a new column when they should alternate or offer equal space. It's a fairness issue and needs to be addressed by their editors.

Mister D. said...

Bejamin Jacob Smith-

Well then,I guess that The Sun,or any other newspaper for that matter,needn't bother letting the reader know if a politician or someone in politics is a democrat or republican,as they always do.

P. Kenneth Burns said...

And what am I?

Kramer Markus Rickards said...

humans are political animals my friends. It is sort of easy to see a bias if one is smart enough.

A Life Well Lived said...

I read the article. I read the comments.

So far nobody has pointed out any "untruths" within it.

But they sure do talk them as if they are there.

I guess there is a reason for that.

G. A. Harrison said...

Kenny -

I hope that you didn't think that I was throwing any dispersions on you. The post I'm referring to was an op-ed and all I want PolitickerMD to do is place a little note in italics at the bottom of the post.

Besides, you're a media guy not a political hack.

A Life Well Lived said...

does this settle anything for you guys so hot and bothered?

P. Kenneth Burns said...

Fair enough...but keep in mind...I LOVE irony. :-)

Mister D. said...

Irony is good.