Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A quick bit of media commentary

Posted by Craig Westover | 6:36 PM |  

Following a story closely, as I have with the Dean Johnson controversy, one is struck by how misleading the news media can be on a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day basis. Case in point --

I just watched a KSTP news report on the Dean Johnson ethics complain. The ran video of Johnson the parallel this report from the Star Tribune as released by the state GOP.
“Senate Republican leaders filed an ethics complaint against DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson this morning, saying an investigation is needed to get to the bottom of a recorded conversation in which Johnson said Supreme Court justices had assured him they would not overturn state law to allow same-sex marriage. … Johnson said he had not yet read the complaint and would have more comment this afternoon. But he said, ‘I expect this is just further political shenanigans.’” (Patricia Lopez, “Ethics Complaint Filed Against Senate Majority Leader,” Star Tribune Website, March 22, 2006)
To its credit, the GOP also released comment Johnson made later in the day, several hours before the KSTP report I just watched. Here Johnson now says he takes the ethics complaint seriously.
“The ethics complaint filed against me today is being taken seriously. We have a process in place in the Minnesota Senate which I respect. I intend to let the process work.” (“Senate Majority Leader Johnson Issues Statement Following Filing Of Complaint Against Him,” E.C.M. Publishers Inc. Website, March 22, 2006)
You can read this as a “flip-flop” or that it says something about Johnson’s arrogance or simply as, at this point, an embattled man trying to salvage some dignity and speaking without thinking. The point is, KSTP presented only half an image -- the image it had on video, and left out Johnson’s later comment.

Incidently, bringing that perspective to the news is what I believe is a primary function of an Opinion Page.