We were sitting at our desks yesterday playing solitaire when all of a sudden up on our screens pops an e-mail from Charles Simpson, Research Analyst at the Media Research Center. He was sending along to us a just-released study on Lou Dobbs entitled, “Trade Secrets: ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight’ Hides Good News Behind Negative View of Free Market“. As the blogger’s apprentice said, this was manna from heaven. It is an exhaustive study (it’s exhausting for us just to watch him for a week!) of the content of Dobbs’ show. Among the findings:
— CAFTA “never even received neutral consideration” on Dobbs’ show. Seventeen separate stories took the hard anti-CAFTA position. How’s that for balance?
— Dobbs continually uses the phrase “so-called” as a modifier for “free trade”. This from a so-called journalist?
— Lou devoted some 33 stories to China during the four-month period of the study. (Actually it was a week — it just felt like four months). Of those, 89% criticized trade with China. More balance from the big man. This is journalistic vertigo!
— In his haste to further his obsession with outsourcing, he failed to mention the 5.4 million jobs that are insourced by non-US companies doing business here. It’s why they call it “global” trade, Lou.
Of course, all of this was well-chronicled on the blog, but we were very excited to see an independent and scientific assessment of the same car wreck from an outside viewpoint. The report concludes with some recommendations (fat chance!) for improved business coverage from this so-called business reporter: give free trade a fair hearing; separate news from commentary; don’t be selective with the facts (what facts?); stop harping on the trade deficit and find and utilize free market experts (what, get somebody on the show who disagrees with King Lou?).
Here’s a link to the Executive Summary, and here’s a link to the full report. There are also video clips of the one-sided Dobbs in action on there as well. As Dan Rather said, the camera never blinks (but it must doze off some times, no?) We will do our best to disseminate this report far and wide and will post it on www.dobbswatch.com, a site for the fair-minded.
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