WaPo Ombudsman Fumbles

Placed in a no win situation The Washington Post’s Ombudsman Micael Getler manages to do nothing but do a little ass polishing for reporters (Dana Milbank and Jim VandeHei) of the explosive May 31st piece – From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity; Scholars Say Campaign Is Making History With Often-Misleading Attacks. The Washington Post is not known for taking a critical look at their own coverage, unlike the “new look” New York Times which has at least dropped the concept of NYT infallibility as an excuse for lack of introspection.

If you would like to read a more credible assessment of the Post piece, try Byron York’s examination at the National Review Online. He shreds the underlying arbitrary dates used by the Post and exposes the inherent dishonesty of their calculations:

In fact, Bush officials say, the total number of Kerry negative ads is significantly higher than the Post reported. The paper counted the number of negative ads each side has run since March 4, which was when Bush began his ad campaign. But Kerry’s ad campaign was up and running long before that. Citing CMAG figures, the Bush campaign says Kerry ran 15,327 negative ads in the six months before March 4. In all, the Bush campaign says, Kerry has run 28,663 negative ads – still less than the Bush campaign, but more than twice as many as the Post reported.

In addition, Bush campaign officials strongly disagree with the Post’s decision not to include anti-Bush ads run by so-called “527” groups which have spent tens of millions of dollars toward Kerry’s election. Again citing CMAG figures, the Bush campaign says that since the summer of 2003, those groups have aired negative ads targeting Bush 66,087 times (47,791 of those have aired since March 4). If those anti-Bush ads are combined with Kerry’s total, then Bush has been the target of more negative ads than Kerry. (There have been comparatively few third-party ads run against Kerry by pro-Bush groups.) Later he goes on to point out that Milbank himself penned an article criticizing the criticism of negative ads (at least those that were not ugly personal attacks).

How much of this information did the Post Ombudsman address? None…

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