Saturday, November 24, 2007

San Francisco Chronicle Caught Cooking the Paper

JimJam, a blogger at Investigate the Media, has caught the San Francisco Chronicle selectively editing comments to its on-line version of the paper in an apparently deliberate effort to deceive its readers.

It works like this: Like most papers, the Chronicle solicits comments from its on-line readers. Comments that for whatever reason the editors don't like are deleted, a practice that nearly all on-line websites and newspapers follow from time to time. No problem so far. What makes the Chronicle different is that when the Chronicle makes a comment disappear it goes away for everyone except the writer, who continues to see his comment and who naturally thinks that everyone else can see it, too, and who then believes, however naively, that his opinion has registered with other readers.

It's an invisible ink strategy, or an eat your cake and have it too. Commenters are mollified, they've had their say. Other readers aren't troubled by comments the paper finds troubling…  including those on its ethics.

Perhaps the federal government could pick up on this. The next time Warren Buffett calls for tax increases on the very wealthy, everyone could say, "Great idea, Warren!", raise the rate on Mr. Buffett, while letting everyone else stay the same, but at the same time tell him that we're all in it with him.

Win, win, win.

Talk about not believing everything you read in the papers! You might be the only one reading it. Better not quote the San Francisco Chronicle at the office, now that you know it comes in editions as small as one.


The legacy media pretend to publish newspapers and we pretend to read them.We post comments, and they pretend to print them.

1 comment:

JP Blickenstaff said...

greetings, I always thought that taxation by representation is a good idea -- those House Represenatives that want higher taxes should get higher taxer for their district. That would increase the accountability. Jan