Monday, August 17, 2009

TV Stations Flip On Protest Coverage


Reporter Kate Luck, fairest of them all this Saturday.
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You may recall that we kept score on the disparate coverage of the three area broadcast stations during the recent protests. Thursday in Springdale, KNWA (Liz Hogan)and 40/29 KHOG (Tess Maune) gave fair coverage that day, KFSM's Carla Scallan lagged far behind.

This Saturday there was another protest of a Senator Blanche Lincoln event in Bella Vista. This time the grades were reversed. KFSM's Kate Luck gave by far the fairest presentation of the real story- the confusion caused by the DNC's "Organizing For America" Operation. OFA put out an email that this was a public event even though it was really a DNC fund raiser. Opinion was sharply divided in the Tea Party movement about the propriety of protesting an OFA/DNC event. Most of the leadership was against it, but when the word came down from President Obama's astroturf organization that it was a public meeting, the grassroots could not be held back. The protest was on. Luck made that point very clear in her report.

Angelica Duria of 40/29 also gave a fair report that covered the true story. A viewer could tell what really happened by watching either of those reporter's pieces. Shouldn't that be the standard by which reporting is judged?

Now for the bad score. KNWA's Allison Woods delivered a dreadful propaganda piece that gave viewers no idea of the role that the Democrats themselves played in the confusion. She even had Benton County Democratic Party Bill Williams on saying "we have every right to exist, we've been here a long time and we are not going away".

It was a complete strawman that Woods stuck the name of the protesters on so it could be knocked over by debunking positions that the protesters did not hold. The report set it up like the protesters were out there protesting the fact that the Democratic party existed in Benton County. That was absurd. In fact not one protester was found that was there to protest their existence. They were protesting Blanche Lincoln's triple talk and evasion on health care and other issues. It was DNC organs that spread the word, erroneously as it turned out, that it was a public meeting. That fact was covered fairly in the other two reports, but not in KNWA's.

I have the links, go judge for yourself. KFSM and KHOG got it right and KNWA gave a completely different, and misleading, story.

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