Tuesday, December 14, 2004

CBS can't make anyone happy these days! A number of blogs (here, here, here, here, here and here) are attacking the network for a brief segment they did last week on Social Security. In the course of the story, CBS "fail[ed] to properly identify a typical man on the street as the National Taxpayers Union shill he really is," claims Three Way News. Only, well, that's not true, as you can see from the photo of Tad DeHaven below.

National Taxpayers Union employee

The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum started the ball rolling with this post. I think the CBS segment could have been better-conceived (a criticism you can also level at most of my work...) but it's just not the case that Mr. DeHaven was presented as "just an ordinary white collar working stiff like you and me" or "some random guy off the street" given his clear identification as an employee of a right-wing outfit.

UPDATE: Just to make clear, you can watch the video here.


At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the author of one of the blogs you link to, thought I'd respond. As I see it, you're half right. First, a disclaimer: After reading Drum's post, I watched the segment at the CBS News website, but did not watch the broadcast version; if it differed substantially, then perhaps my critique does not apply.

It is true that he is identified as working for NTU. However, it is curious he is also called an "employee" rather than something like "analyst." The choice of words puts an emphasis on his status as a working guy rather than a policy wonk. Also, the questions posed to him are not about the NTU view of privatization, but what he as a 20-something sees. Again, though the NTU is identified, he is asked to comment as just another guy.

Given the fact that most people probably don't know what the NTU is, and the piece does not discuss the organization in any detail, the average viewer is left to think that this was an interview of an ordinary working 20-something. So, yes, CBS did the bare minimum by identifying his employer, but the effect they left by the report was more than a little deceptive.


At 9:42 AM, Blogger Derek said...

i think that's a fair comment ... in retrospect they certainly would have been much better off getting some random guy off the street.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Derek said...

Here's the link to the video of the segment.

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Derek said...

I think that's a fair comment. You can watch the video for yourself
(the link should launch Microsoft Media Player)


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