Views of the News: Fact errors matter, but so does that hug

Nov 19, 2013

Credit @moon_melanie / twitter

Members of the local, state and national media found themselves embroiled in debate this week about the impartiality of journalists covering Ryan Ferguson's release from prison. 

At the center of the discussion was KPLR-TV anchor/reporter Melanie Moon, who acknowledged via Twitter that she hugged Ferguson and his father, Bill.  She dismissed the ethical implications of the embrace, arguing on Twitter that the story was one of "innocence" and "prosecutorial misconduct." Later, Moon having not read the full 54-page appellate court decision vacating the conviction.  Those tweets have since been deleted.

Joy Mayer, "How a St. Louis TV reporter got both ethics and facts wrong"

Joy Mayer “A debate about facts and ethics becomes a debate about hugging

Ryan Famuliner, KBIA: “Why this Melanie Moon thing with Ryan Ferguson actually matters

Derrick Hinds, RTNDA: “Reporter hugs subject of story

Kevin Eck, Mediabistro: “St. Louis reporter’s hug ignites Twitter debate over journalism ethics

Joe Holleman, St. Louis Post Dispatch: “KPLR’s Melanie Moon defends hugging man whose murder conviction was overturned

Jim Romensko, “St. Louis TV reporter: Yes, I hugged Ryan Ferguson

Kristen Hare, Poynter: “For journalists to hug or not to hug isn’t the point

Lindsay Toler, Riverfront Times: “Tweet and Delete: How KPLR’s Melanie Moon got the facts wrong on Ryan Ferguson’s release

Melanie Moon, KPLR: “Ryan Ferguson spends his first day out of prison"

New Flint, Mich. councilman… a murderer?

Credit via Facebook

Wantwaz Davis confessed to murder in 1991 and he served 19 years in prison for his crime. Earlier this month, he was elected to the Flint, Mich. city council, beating his opponent by 71 votes. Davis was upfront with voters about his past, but it never once appeared in a report on the local television news or in the local paper prior to the election.  Did the local media fail the electorate?

Huffington Post: “Flint, Michigan City, elects 2 felons to city council, including a convicted murderer

Dominic Adams, “Flint voters elect two convicted felons, two others with bankruptcies to city council

Vincent Duffy, RTDNA: “When journalism falls between the cracks

Shawn Paul Wood, Mediabistro: “#MediaFail: Convicted murderer gets city council seat due to media oversight

MSNBC suspends Alec Baldwin for two weeks

Credit david_shankbone/flickr

The cable news network announced Friday it was suspending Alec Baldwin after using an anti-gay slur directed at a photographer.  "Up Late with Alec Baldwin" was pulled from the Friday night programming line-up on Nov. 15 and Nov. 22.  Baldwin has apologized, buy denies using some of the words he'd accused of saying.

Ellie Hall, Buzzfeed: “Alec Baldwin suspended from MSNBC after anti-LGBT slur

Tim Kenneally, The Wrap, “Alec Baldwin suspended by MSNBC following anti-gay comments

Alec Baldwin, Huffington Post: “Two requests in light of recent events

Andrew Kilell, Mediaite: "Ann Coulter: MSNBC shouldn't suspend Alec Baldwin 'just for a curse word'"

Dorsey Shaw: Buzzfeed: "Alec Baldwin hints this his MSNBC show might not return"

NFL, MLB join networks in Aereo fight

The National Football League and Major League baseball have gotten into the game, filing legal briefs threatening to remove their broadcasts from over-the-air television if the court rules in favor of Aereo.  The service is currently operating in New York, digital streaming of network television programming using mini-antennae.  Networks have sued, claiming Aereo undermines their ability to charge retransmission fees.

Peter Kafka, All Things D: “NFL, MLB tell Supreme Court: If Aereo wins, we’re bailing on broadcast

Ted Johnson, Variety: “NFL, Major League Baseball warn that Aereo could trigger end of free tv game broadcasts

NFL, MLB Amicus Brief (PDF)

Self-censorship at Bloomberg?

Hong Kong-based reporter Michael Forsythe says he's no longer with Bloomberg News.  Late last week he was suspended after being suspected of leaking details of how the news organization handled controversial stories about China.

Keith Kelly, NY Post: “Bloomberg boots ‘China leak’ scribe

Huffington Post: "Bloomberg News suspends Michael Forsythe, reporter suspected of China leak"

Edward Wong & Christine Haughney, New York Times: “Bloomberg News suspends reporter whose article on China was not published

Rallying around "Batkid"

Five-year-old cancer patient Miles Scott played the ultimate superhero Friday.  The pint-sized caped crusader made his way throughout San Francisco -- transformed into Gotham -- making the city safe. It was all made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  The local media played its role, too. 


Vivian Ho & Kurtis Alexander, SFGate: “Batkid: Thousands cheer on pint-size superhero

San Francisco Chronicle, “Special ‘Batkid’ front page to appear in Saturday’s Chronicle

Lisa Fernandez, KNTV: “SF Morphs into Gotham City for ‘Batkid’ battling leukemia

Christina Ng, ABC: “Batkid’s Make-A-Wish spikes donations, interest in donations