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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Foggy AP Reporting Shows Need For Accurate Advocacy Group Disclosure

Recent reports of pro-Bush commentators like Armstrong Williams failing to disclose their government contracts and grants, as well as revelation that an NBC free lancer covering the UN was also being paid by a pro-UN advocacy group, has focused new attention on the importance of the MSM being completely forthright about real and potential conflicts of interest in reporting.

The individual cases got the lion's share of attention, but another vastly more significant arena of gross conflicts of interest in reporting is only now beginning to be examined critically in the Blogosphere. That arena is the use of quotes favoring increased government spending provided by officials of non-profit advocacy organizations that are themselves recipients of federal largesse. See, for example, my Townhall.com "What is Going on at AP?" posting on February 2.

Others are noticing things at AP, too, including blogger Amy Ridenour, who also happens to be the head honcho for the Washington office of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. Amy has a detailed critique of two stories by AP's Charles Hanley that fail to disclose important information about three sources.

None of the three happens to be recipients of federal moneys, but each of the three has clearly stated, easily verified ideological purposes that Hanley's readers should know about. That is the point that caught my eye, but Ridenour has more, much more. You can read the complete posting here. You should also let Amy know your thoughts on her critique.