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Adopt a Campaign Journalist in 2004: The Drift of a Suggestion

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Dec. 23. At the Daily Kos, Vet 4 Dean reacts to discussion at Blog For America, the Dean campaign’s main gig:

Earlier today on DFA, there was a good bit of discussion of the latest piece of “journalism” committed by Ms. Jodi Wilgoren in the NY Times.
Well, I decided it was time to lose my blogging virginity and created The Wilgoren Watch.

Dec. 23. And he does. The Wilgoren Watch: “Dedicated to deconstructing the New York Times coverage of Howard Dean’s campaign for the White House.” (The inaugural post.)

Dec. 28. At Steve Gilliard’s News Blog, Gilliard says he has had enough: Time to Take the Gloves Off:

The media in America lives in a dual world, one where they want to hold people accountable, yet flip out when people do the same to them…

I think it would be a really, really good idea to track reporters, word for word, broadcast for broadcast, and print the results online. Not just for any one campaign or cause, but to track people’s reporting the way we track other services….

Keeping score of who’s right and wrong, how many times they repeat cannards like Al Gore invented the Internet and make obvious errors. Not accusations of ideology, but actual data and facts.

Dec. 30. Reacting to Gilliard’s idea, Atrios gives it a second. Hardball: “We should have an ‘adopt a journalist’ program. As Steve suggets, people should choose a journalist, follow everything they write, archive all their work, and critique and contextualize it where appropriate.”

Dec. 30. Atrios returns to the subject, noting that the Wilgoren Watch already exists: “I’m not going to organize this but feel free to forward on links. I’ll set up a special blogroll section.” But he cautions:

…ideally whoever does this shouldn’t just be doing instant reaction. I’m thinking of archiving all of their work (on your hard drive – copyright and all), and really tracing through and providing context for all their work. This includes talking heads appearances, too.

Dec. 30. Ex Lion Tamer: “Gilliard’s Modest Proposal.”

Dec. 30. See Why? “Eschaton has a cool idea.”

Dec. 31. At Liberal Pride, an Adopt-a-Journalist Forum is created, “to facilitate the project that was conceived at Eschaton.”

Jan. 1. Shadow of the Hegemon: “I’d like to see two versions of it.”

The first is that it should be per-journalist. I think that makes sense, and will provide a real impetus to change when the journo figures out that the only way to get this guy off his back is to stop pandering to the right.

The other idea is a per-issue focus, where specific falsehoods like “Al Gore created the internet” are targeted.

I don’t think these two are incompatible. What would be most useful is if those who were focusing on specific falsehoods create “falsehood FAQs…”

Jan 3. PressThink on horse race journalism: “Meanwhile, the weblog world is starting to stir a bit with the idea of monitoring individual campaign reporters. (But for what?)…”

Jan. 5. Halley of Halley’s Comment in the comments at PressThink: “I especially liked the idea of bloggers tracking reporters (per Steve Gilliard) and anticipating what they will say. Their no-story reporting style is lamentably obsolete.”

Jan. 6. Pipeline: “Look for the way they use various labels for unnamed sources to insert their own ideas and biases into stories. David Brooks isn’t really a reporter, but I feel like I’m covering his columns every day they come out, so maybe I’ll adopt him.”

Jan 6. Reporter Alan Judd of the Atlanta Constitution emails PressThink: “The idea of ‘tracking’ individual campaign reporters–as on Wilgoren Watch–is absurd. The people behind such efforts would be satisified with nothing other than stories effusively praising Howard Dean and blasting Bush as the great satan. What they advocate isn’t press criticism, it’s stalking.”

Jan. 9. Wilogren Watch, “Welcome Ms. Wilogren: “…my little blog has attracted 16 ‘regulars’ who have signed up for the Yahoo Group! e-mail list to be notified of new posts. Including, it seems, one Ms. Jodi Wilgoren from the NYTimes. Welcome, Ms. Wilgoren.”

A Reference Point. The Charen Watch has been in existence since Jan. 17, 2003. Mission statement:

Mona Charen is a Media Whore.

What exactly is a media whore? A “journalist” in name only, perfectly willing without any hesitation to distort, obfuscate, exaggerate, skew, or hide the Truth to advance their personal views or agendas….

Charen Watch is a site devoted solely to critiquing Ms. Charen as her work is posted bi-weekly from the Creators Syndicate site.

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