Journalism

Fake news: How it happened

Fake news: How it happened

When politicians condemn fake or phony news, it may be of their own making. A favorite topic of President Donald J. Trump is "fake news." In this passage by Jonathan Karl, who is ABC News Chief White House Correspondent, a Trump administration official briefed reporters on background, meaning the information may be used, but the official may not be named. A newspaper then reported what the official said, respecting the rules by not naming the source. Then, President Trump criticized the newspaper for using phony sources. Here's how it happened, as described by Karl: The next day, May 25, the…
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Fake news, meet fake research

Fake news, meet fake research

Do you think we have a problem with fake news? Let me introduce you to fake research. Think of the term "peer-reviewed research." What comes to my mind is the academic or scientific researcher, wearing a white lab coat, dispassionately and impartially following the data and experiments down whatever path they lead. But it isn't always that way. Retraction Watch tracks research papers that have been retracted. There are a variety of reasons for retractions. Honest mistakes are made, yes. But striking is how much outright and blatant fraud exists in the academic publishing world. Here is a sampling of…
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In Wichita: ‘The Future of News in Our Digital Age’

In Wichita: ‘The Future of News in Our Digital Age’

Soon in Wichita: A panel discussion with audience interaction on the topic "The Future of News in Our Digital Age." New Symposium is a group of Wichitans who hold regular meetings of public interest. New Symposium describes its goal is to "engage in the kind of thoughtful and respectful dialogue that is so seldom experienced in our modern world of political propaganda and social media sound-bites ... but which still characterizes men and women of good will when they take the time to step back and logically think things through together." It also uses the motto "New Symposium: Rescuing Discourse…
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Topeka Capital-Journal falls for a story

Topeka Capital-Journal falls for a story

The editorial boards of two large Kansas newspapers have shown how little effort goes into forming the opinions they foist upon our state. Here's a quote from a recent opinion piece in the Topeka Capital-Journal, the second-largest newspaper in Kansas: "If the past year is any indication, Totten is right about the harmful effects of KDOT sweeps on the construction industry in our state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between July 2015 and July 2016, Kansas lost 4,400 construction jobs -- a 7.3 percent decline. This means Kansas ranked 49th in the country for construction job growth." [1.…
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Wichita Eagle fails readers, again

Wichita Eagle fails readers, again

In its coverage of the 2015 election, the Wichita Eagle prints several stories that ought to cause readers to question the reliability of its newsroom. Readers of the Wichita Eagle must be wondering if the newspaper trusts its own reporting. In a fact check article regarding the Wichita mayoral general election printed on March 27, the newspaper looked at claims made by campaign ads. The story examined this claim from an advertisement by Sam Williams, referring to opponent Jeff Longwell: "Supported government handouts for low-paying jobs and then chastised voters when they rejected his plan.” The article's verdict on this…
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Wichita Eagle labels hold a clue

Wichita Eagle labels hold a clue

How Wichita Eagle news stories label outside organizations is a window into the ideology of the paper's newsroom. A Wichita Eagle op-ed references a report released by two think tanks, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and Kansas Center for Economic Growth. (Kansas tax system among the most regressive, January 18, 2015.) Here's what readers can learn about the mindset of the Wichita Eagle. These organizations were named. Named and referenced without labels, adjectives, or qualifications that give readers clues about the ideology of the organizations. That wouldn't be remarkable except for noticing the contrast in how the Eagle labels…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: The Wichita Eagle fails the city and its readers

WichitaLiberty.TV: The Wichita Eagle fails the city and its readers

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: In its coverage of the recent election, the Wichita Eagle has failed to inform its readers of city and state issues. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. For more on this topic, see In election coverage, The Wichita Eagle has fallen short and For Wichita Eagle, no immediate Kansas budget solution.
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In election coverage, The Wichita Eagle has fallen short

In election coverage, The Wichita Eagle has fallen short

Citizens want to trust their hometown newspaper as a reliable source of information. The Wichita Eagle has not only fallen short of this goal, it seems to have abandoned it. The Wichita Eagle last week published a fact-check article titled "Fact check: 'No' campaign ad on sales tax misleading." As of today, the day before the election, I've not seen any similar article examining ads from the "Yes Wichita" group that campaigns for the sales tax. Also, there has been little or no material that examined the city's claims and informational material in a critical manner. Someone told me that…
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Wolf investigation, political to the extreme

The investigation of a candidate for United States Senator by an appointed board in Kansas raises questions of propriety, and Senator Pat Roberts' use of it in advertising is shameful. If you've paid attention to television advertisements in Kansas, you probably are aware that United States Senate Candidate Dr. Milton Wolf has come under investigation by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. His act that lead to this investigation was posting anonymous X-rays on Facebook. The campaign of Pat Roberts is spending mightily to make sure Kansans are aware of the investigation, which was launched just two seeks for an…
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Roberts campaign manager was for debates until he was against them

Roberts campaign manager was for debates until he was against them

For Pat Roberts executive campaign manager Leroy Towns, political debates are important. At least until your candidate doesn't want to debate. Are debates important to the political process? According to a former North Carolina University journalism professor, the answer is yes, debates are very important: Leroy Towns, political journalism professor at UNC, said debates are very important in the political process. “Debates give people a chance to look at candidates close up and see how they act under pressure situations,” Towns said. (Libertarian candidate Michael Beitler kept from debate, Daily Tarheel, September 13, 2010) Fast forward four years. As executive…
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What type of watchdog are you?

What type of watchdog are you?

To help citizens become government watchdogs, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity is providing a new resource. It's the Watchdog Quiz, and it will help you discover what type of role you will want to fill as a government watchdog. The quiz takes just a few moments to complete, and answering the questions will help you discover all the things that citizens can do to be involved in government, especially at the local level. My Watchdog type is "Content Creator." What is yours? Click here to take the quiz. Following is some material from Watchful Citizens Follow Founders’…
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Kansas news reporting questioned

From Kansas Policy Institute. Media should be a neutral reporter of facts By Dave Trabert “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.” -- Thomas Jefferson I wonder what Mr. Jefferson would say about the state of today’s media. Television, cable, print and internet media routinely ignore basic journalistic principles and openly choose sides, often ignoring the facts and perpetuating falsehoods to convince citizens that their view is the right one. In some cases, it’s done in support of conservative causes; most often, it’s in support of "progressive" ideals that strip citizens of their personal freedom. It’s…
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Fact-checking an editor’s biased agenda

Fact-checking an editor’s biased agenda By Steven Greenhut | Special to Watchdog.org TEACHER SAID: There “is absolutely, positively no such thing as an unbiased piece of writing.” During a junior high-school English class decades ago, I eagerly raised my hand to answer a teacher’s question about news reporting. He wanted us to explain the kind of sources we would use and how we would assure that our writing was fair. I would rely on “unbiased” books and articles, I explained. The teacher threw his hands in the air and started yelling (in a friendly manner) that there “is absolutely, positively no…
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Inside the progressive mindset

When I read this opening paragraph of a letter from the leaders of Media Matters, I double-checked that this wasn't a story from The Onion, the humorous and satirical news source: Five years ago, Media Matters was founded with a few staffers dedicated to a singular, and daunting, goal: restoring accountability and integrity to American journalism after both had been systematically eroded by decades of conservative attacks. Until then, no progressive organization had been solely dedicated to this crucial task, allowing the right-wing media machine to run roughshod over one of our democracy's most vital institutions. The consequences were obvious,…
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FrackNation to tell truth about fracking

Documentary filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney have produced a feature film that will help America understand the truth about fracking. Fracking -- short for hydraulic fracturing -- is a method of oil and gas production by injecting pressurized fluid into rock formations. Along with horizontal drilling, this technology has lead to a rise in the production of natural gas, leading to much lower prices for consumers, and to the possibility of U.S. exports. FrackNation, the film that McAleer and McElhinney made, is set for premier on AXS TV on January 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm eastern. I spoke to…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday September 6, 2012

Debbie Wasserman Schultz lies about lying During these convention weeks, advocates on both sides have been fact-checking the other side, and charges are being made about which side is the biggest, boldest liar. But when people lie about lying ... that's a whole new level. Human Events reports on DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and sums up this way: "It was already common knowledge that Wasserman Schultz is a serial liar -- on one memorable recent occasion, when CNN host Wolf Blitzer called her out for lying about Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals, she essentially insisted that the urgency of…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday August 17, 2011

George Soros: Media Mogul. Dan Gainor and Iris Somberg of the Business and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center, have produced a report on the media-related activities of liberal financier George Soros. In the executive summary, Gainor and Somberg report: "George Soros is arguably the most influential liberal financier in the United States, donating more than $8 billion just to his Open Society Foundations. In 2004, he spent more than $27 million to defeat President George W. Bush and has given away millions more since to promote the left-wing agenda. But what goes almost without notice is…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday December 10, 2010

This Week in Kansas. On This Week in Kansas guests Rebecca Zepick of State of the State KS, Joe Aistrup of Kansas State University, and myself discuss Kansas House of Representatives leadership, Governor-elect Brownback's appointments, and voter ID. Tim Brown is the host. This Week in Kansas airs on KAKE TV channel 10, Sunday morning at 9:00 am. Cato scholar to speak on economic freedom. Today's meeting (December 10) of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features noted Cato Institute scholar, Principal Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, and author Timothy Sandefur. He will discuss his recent book The Right to Earn…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday December 7, 2010

Political pretense vs. market performance. What is the difference between markets and politics or government? "There is a large gap between the performance of markets and the public's approval of markets. Despite the clear superiority of free markets over other economic arrangements at protecting liberty, promoting social cooperation and creating general prosperity, they have always been subject to pervasive doubts and, often, outright hostility. Of course, many people are also skeptical about government. Yet when problems arise that can even remotely be blamed on markets, the strong tendency is to 'correct' the 'market failures' by substituting more government control for…
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