Attention Associated Press: Amanda Meyers & David Espo are not fit to be called journalists
By: CDR M (Editor, Clarion Advisory) 1-9-11
It sickened and angered me a great deal when I read this supposed piece of journalism on Yahoo news from the AP; AZ Shooting Targets US Congresswoman, Kills 6. We, America, suffered a tragedy today and I would think that after the news misadventures during Katrina, that they would have learned their lesson and try to get accurate information and report it as such. Evidently journalism school is still failing our journalists. I present to you exhibits A and B, Amanda Lee Meyers and David Espo of the Associated Press. Oh, and for comparison, here’s how they probably should’ve written it. From CNN, Police Actively Pursuing Second Person Tucson Shooting.
The following is from the AP article:
Giffords, 40, is a moderate Democrat who narrowly won re-election in November against a tea party candidate who sought to throw her from office over her support of the health care law. Anger over her position became violent at times, with her Tucson office vandalized after the House passed the overhaul last March and someone showing up at a recent gathering with a weapon.
Much is wrong with this paragraph, especially for a reporter. Is it normal to say that a candidate wants to throw her from office? Usually I would see it written like this; narrowly won re-election in November against a tea party candidate who sought her House seat or who challenged her for the seat or, well you get the idea. I think the reporters here wanted to convey violent overtones and decided to use throw her from office. And then, of course as if right on cue, in the very next sentence, the word violence does appear and violence to these reporters means vandalism??? Vandalism is a violent act now? And what of that case since you mention it. What was violent about it? A back door and window were smashed out. No suspect ever caught. No motive given. It could’ve been a homeless person, a teenage vandal or someone mad at the Congresswoman but as a reporter, you don’t get to make that call but you assign that act to a growing list of “violent” acts directed against her. Shoddy work.
Also, the incident with the weapon. Are you familiar with Arizona’s gun laws? Did what happened at that recent gathering violate any laws? Well I’ll tell you since you failed to inform your readers what happened at this event. No police report was filed you see since the individual was OPENLY carrying his sidearm in it’s holster and it fell out when he went to sit down. It did not discharge and he was not arrested and he did not violate any laws. So how was this violent again??? Don’t believe me on this? Call Officer Marcus Gonzalez, Public Affairs Officer for Douglas PD.
You see what I’m getting at? You so called reporters are trying to establish a violence meme where none exists. Why? How does this help tell the story? Also, why throw that bit in about the health care law after throw her out of office. Was that the ONLY reason why the tea party candidate (whose name is?) wanted to challenge her for her seat (see how easy it is to say something right) the health care bill? Nothing else or are you trying to build up support for the coming Senate vote on the health care bill repeal?
During his campaign effort to unseat Giffords in November, Republican challenger Jesse Kelly held fundraisers where he urged supporters to help remove Giffords from office by joining him to shoot a fully loaded M-16 rifle. Kelly is a former Marine who served in Iraq and was pictured on his website in military gear holding his automatic weapon and promoting the event.
Again, what the hell does this have to do with what happened today? But since you brought it up, let’s discuss it. Jesse Kelly is a former Marine, served his country well. Military guy and used to speaking like a military man. Is saying he wants to remove Giffords from office a threat implying violence? Should we ban the word remove in association with politicians? Of course he’s going to have a picture up of him as a Marine on his flyer. He’s proud of it. It is who he is and that was his campaign, to highlight his Marine background. Is that implying violence or wrongdoing towards Giffords? The last part is asking people to come out to an event and if they come out there they get to shoot an M-16. In Arizona, they love them some guns and it’s not an everyday occurrence that one can shoot an M-16. Again, how is that specifically implying violence against Giffords? This reminds me of looking at abstract art. I looked at the ad and I see a Marine running for office using military lingo who wants people to come out to an event to show support and he’s offering an opportunity to shoot an M-16. Big whoop. You look at it and assume he’s training a team of SPECTRE Agents to then go out into the streets with the their fresh M-16 training and commit violence against Giffords. Really?
Giffords expressed similar concern, even before the shooting. In an interview after her office was vandalized, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including Sarah Palin’s decision to list Giffords’ seat as one of the top “targets” in the midterm elections.
“For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC.
Why even bring up Sarah Palin? Just as with the Marine, you again are reading violent overtones into this. Did you ever write about President Obama when he uses “violent” metaphors in his speeches and blast him for inciting violence (oops, I said blast.)? Remember when Obama said this on Jun 13th, 2008 while in Philadelphia; “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”? Remember when Obama said to a latino audience on Oct 25th, 2010 on Univision to “punish our enemies”? Your silence is deafening. By the way, target lists have been used before. Oh here’s one from The Daily Kos. I remember ZERO articles condemning this target list. ZERO.
Even your quote from the sheriff is questionable.
The sheriff blamed the vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country, much of it occurring in Arizona.
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” he said. “And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
I get that the sheriff said this, but I don’t understand why it’s in your article. But oh boy does it fit your narrative doesn’t it? Last I heard, the suspect has lawyered up and wasn’t speaking and based on other reports, they had no motive. No motive means you can’t say that it was anger, hatred or bigotry that caused this. He could’ve been off his meds, he could’ve hated that it was Saturday or that she was blocking the aisles in Safeway. We don’t know. You don’t know and the Sheriff does not know. Did you ask the sheriff after he said this that does this apply to the shooter? Hmmm? Obvious question no? Sounds like the Sheriff is talking about unbalanced people in general. You make it sound like the guy in custody IS this. That’s just wrong. Ironic that in the paragraph above this you say this to open your paragraph with the Sheriff, “His motivation was not immediately known”.
I find it curious as to all the quotes from staffers about all the supposed violence around the time of the vandalism and some other meetings. Wasn’t this when Democrats were trying to imply Tea Partiers were violent this last summer and in the time leading up to the health care vote? How many violent incidents took place caused by Tea Partiers? ZERO. So what was this fear about? Was it a narrative that the politicians wanted you, the journalists to announce to the world with no empirical evidence to support? Sounds like you are still doing their bidding today with this piece of crap reporting.
You also seemed to leave a lot of parts of the suspects profiles on the internet that are posted elsewhere. Interesting. You seem to post a lot of other stuff in this article not germane to the actual incident but when it comes to stuff about the shooter, it’s on the cutting room floor? You forgot to list his favorite reading books, like Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. You forgot to mention his favorite video on youtube is one of a US flag being burned. You’ve interviewed his neighbors but missed tweets from people that knew him in High School. You know, these tweets and other info you left out.
There was an awful tragedy today and all I see here are two journalists trying to milk this tragedy and turn it into something it isn’t. Disgusting. Immoral. And not very journalistic either. You both should be fired for this crap and the AP should be embarrassed for printing this but knowing their track record, they won’t. You’ll still keep your job, peddling your crap. Perhaps Yahoo might want to change their news source. I’ll give them a call.