Blogs vs "Journalists"

Most of you read Atrios’ weblog, so you know that he has been writing about a CBS story – written by their “chief political writer” – calling Atrios unethical for writing a “partisan” weblog anonymously (on his own time) while being an employee of Media Matters. Atrios pointed out that every single fact in the CBS story was wrong. It had the wrong name for his weblog, it had it wrong that he was writing anonymously while working for Media Matters, it even said he had been working for Media Matters long before the organization even existed. And, by the way, Media Matters is by law a non-partisan organization. (CBS has corrected one part of the story – without explaining that they have done this, as blogs do – but has not rescinded the accusation.) Update – A great letter from Media Matters’ President to CBS.

CBS got it wrong.

Today at 1pm PST on the ABC hourly radio news Ann Compton gave a report on President Bush’s plans to borrow one or two trillion dollars to privatize Social Security. At the beginning of the report she said that without changes Social Security is going to “run up trillions in debt,” and later said that “Social Security Trustees say this shortfall will start as soon as 2018.”

This just isn’t so, as many of you reading this already know. Social Security is completely solvent until 2042 at the earliest, and even this date is calculated using an assumption of only 1.9% average economic growth between now and then, and even then there is a very small difference between projected Social Security revenues and benefit payments!

But Ann Compton didn’t know this, and repeated the Right’s strategic lies. I guess I shouldn’t expect a reporter these days to know anything about the story she is covering, but one would think that an organization as big as ABC News would have someone on staff who knows enough about something as important – and current – as Social Security to steer Ms. Compton toward the accurate facts.

ABC got it wrong.