Case study in bad journalism: USA Today

This is on USA Today’s home page.

It is beyond me how good newspapers hire such morons. Seriously. I’m sure the guys who write at USA Today are nice people and all, but where do they get off publishing a piece asking readers to vote on who they “think” went negative first, after basically telling the readers that it was McCain and the RNC who went negative first? This is classic neo-journalism, as I may start calling it. They take an issue that’s decided, that we already know the answer to, that THEY already know the answer to, and they muddy it up and pretend that there are actually two sides to the story and maybe, just maybe, the truth isn’t so clear after all. Except that USA Today basically tells you that the RNC and the McCain people went negative first, and then Obama responded – but then they follow it with comments suggesting that Obama may just be wrong. Maybe the RNC and McCain’s ads weren’t negative at all, just comparative, whereas Obama’s was the real negative ad, they suggest. Maybe. And maybe pies will come shooting out of my ass.

Do your freaking job, people. Stop pretending like there are two sides to a story when the answer is already known, and worse, when you already know the answer – no, worst of all, when you’ve already told your readers the answer, then you undercut yourself in order to appear “fair.” This is sloppy journalism. And spare us the “it’s only our blog” defense. I’m not permitted to get things wrong on my blog, USA Today shouldn’t either.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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