Usually, you just have to take what a newspaper decides to print and reach a decision about the content with no other source of information. Mike Dunford of the Questionable Authority has a post comparing and contrasting the 2 April Seguin Gazette-Enterprise article on a speech given by Eric Pianka against a transcript of the same speech released today. It’s a doozy. It shows an absolutely damning pattern of media bias on the part of the reporter, Jamie Mobley. Mike does the hard slogging of matching up what got in the newspaper with what was in the transcript. Also, Mike takes up audio sources to fill out more details. If you are looking for an instance of the mainstream media caught with its hand in the cookie jar, this is the one. Go read.
Update: The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise apparently also thought Mike’s piece was hard-hitting. They are now carefully scrubbing their website of any trace that they had ever said anything about Eric R. Pianka. Obviously, letting people compare the transcripts to what they had originally reported illuminated clearly the sort of bias that journalists supposedly don’t do. Like so many in the USA, they seem to interpret those sort of guidelines in terms of getting caught rather than in terms of doing the right thing. The right thing now would be to retract the claims of the earlier articles that were based upon a dishonest slanting of the material and issuing a formal apology, both to Dr. Pianka and to their readership. We’ll see whether the removal of the false material is a prelude to the appropriate course of action within a couple of days. The best place for it would be to put the apology in the Sunday paper, the one with the largest readership. If we get to Monday and there’s no apology, I think that the removal of the erroneous material will best be explained as the paper’s management taking up some tips from Orwell’s 1984.