Jun 21, 2007

Another Misleading Drudge Report Headline

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I find the Drudge Report to be a useful site for breaking news stories, but I find myself getting irritated over Matt Drduge's tendency to issue misleading headlines. Today I clicked on the site to find the following headline screaming at me:

THE GREAT DIVIDE: REPORTERS GIVE DEMS MONEY OVER REPUBLICANS 9 TO 1!

Ah, I thought: is the this smoking gun that points out the supposed liberal bias in the media? I clicked to learn more, curiosity piqued.

The hyperlink led to this story by MSNBC's Bill Dedman, an investigative piece that found 144 people linked with the media who donated to political campaigns, PACS, or political parties between 2004 and 2008.

And yes - the ratio of this pool of contributors is indeed 9 to 1.

Yet given the tens of thousands of people who work in American media, the sample size is quite small, while those on the list of journalists with political contributions worked in a wide variety of positions, including graphic artists, film critics, fashion editors, and sports copy editors.

Thus Drudge hooked me again, giving me a deliberately sneaky headline to an article that - while interesting - hardly proves anything, except that the vast majority of journalists avoid donating to political causes, and that the headlines on the Drudge Report should never be taken at face value.

9 comments:

SensorG said...

I read Drudge once in a while, but I feel like a need a shower after I'm done.

Anonymous said...

Why do even read that fascist, Mike?

historymike said...

(laughing at SensorG, hands over a bar of virtual soap)

Man with the Muck-rake said...

The 9:1 ratio makes sense to me because the reporters are right there, learning all of the dope and dirt.

Their conclusion is that the Democratic Party has more to offer the citizens than the Republican Party.

Who would want to be a Republican, especially during the past 6 years?

historymike said...

I'm not sure that Drudge is a fascist, Anonymous.

In fact, I am not sure WHAT Drudge is. Some days the slant reads like that of a libertarian, while at other times Drudge seems like a hipper Rush Limbaugh.

I do find the site to be timely, although geared toward the sensational in its coverage.

I suppose my reason for Drudgery is simply to fill that internal need I have for breaking news; my Top Five news-scanning sites are CNN, BBC, Drudge, FOX, and Reuters.

historymike said...

MWTMR:

Having worked in journalism for some years, I might generalize that editors and publishers are more conservative, while reporters are less so; there are, however, plenty of examples that call even this generalization into question.

That being said, I have never written for a mainstream media outlet that exhibited a particular bias. The focus is first and foremost on the story and its accuracy.

Anonymous said...

I read Drudge & often find headlines are designed to give a mistaken impression about the actual story. Still, like you, I like the breaking news. I also like his odd-ball, human-interest stories. But for quite a while now I've noticed that he's not updating the site like he used to. As a result, I visit far less often.

historymike said...

Anonymous #2:

Agreed that Drudge can be hot-and-cold.

When Drudge is on full-bore anti-Dem mode, I just stop visiting.

However, he seems to go in streaks, and of course I enjoy the goofy UFO stories and weirdness he posts.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I used to visit Drudge on occasion, but I sensed that some of his reports were there for less than honorable reasons, i.e., just to generate traffic.