August 05, 2003

Journalists are Scum

I believe this John Derbyshire column was the most insightful piece of commentary I saw in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal. I bring it up now because of this:

Last week I got a call from a reporter (not Jonathan Alter) who wanted to talk to me about my blog post from July 2 that encouraged Republicans to donate money to Dean...

So here's what appeared in Alter's story:

Then there’s Tom Bevan, a 38-year-old former advertising executive from the Chicago area with a conservative bent. He wrote a $25 check to Dean last week after seeing him surge. “The further left he goes and the Democrats go, the better for my man Bush,” Bevan says. “Some of the more centrist candidates would present more of a challenge to a Republican.”

Well, let's see: First, I'm 34 years-old, not 38. Second, I contributed $20 to Dean's campaign, not $25. Third, while I like and support President Bush I have never referred to him either in public or in private - and most certainly not on the record to a reporter from Newsweek magazine - as "my man."

That's 2 factual errors and a misquote in 62 words of copy. I'm sorry, but that's pretty shoddy journalism.

There's also the curious omission of any mention of our blog or web site despite the fact that the reporter contacted me specifically to discuss my blog post from July 2. Referring to me as a "former advertising executive from the Chicago area with a conservative bent" is technically true but also somewhat misleading: it doesn't describe what I currently do and have been doing for more than three years which is running the RealClearPolitics web site. Even if Alter didn't want to mention our site by name, it seems to me that referring to me as a "conservative blogger" or "editor of a conservative political web site" would have been more appropriate and accurate.

RealClearPolitics is a fairly popular site-- check out the many prestigious fans. Doesn't that make it all the more ridiculous that Newsweek framed Bevan's quote as if he were an average Joe they happened to chance upon?

Posted by John Tabin at August 5, 2003 03:29 AM