Thursday, August 16, 2007

WJTV: You are getting rather obvious.

http://www.wjtv.com/gulfcoastwest/jtv/search.apx.-content-articles-JTV-2007-08-01-0014.html (WJTV Story)

http://media.mgnetwork.com/jtv/080107_McMillin_Commercial.asf (McMillin ad)

Now that the election for the Hinds County Sheriff's race is over, I can say what I really think about something that occurred recently. On August 1, WJTV aired a report on Sheriff Malcolm McMillin that was definitely a hit piece. The Sheriff, who has an impeccable record of fighting crime, was the subject of an attack by the leader of the Axis of Melton (WLBT being the other member). Mr. McMillin has some patrol cars appearing in the background of his ad and some deputies appeared in the ad as well (Any identifying characteristics of the officers and cars are not visible except for the colors).

In the interview (which is worth watching), http://media.mgnetwork.com/jtv/080107_SheriffInterview.asf, the reporter, Carole Carr, is clearly out of her depth as McMillin takes her to task, accusing her of setting up the interview under false pretenses. Ms. Carr begins the interview immediately asking when the ad was made, who was involved in its production, and the time cards for the deputies. An ignorant Ms. Carr asked McMillin if the deputies could volunteer to appear in the ads of his opponents. Ignorant because, as a sharp friend of mine pointed out, Ms. Carr apparently did not know that all deputies serve at the pleasure of the Sheriff and he can fire them at any time if he chooses to do so.

An exasperated Sheriff finally lays down the law (pun intended), telling her that she had called to request an interview so they could discuss the campaign, not the use of deputies in his ads. A shaky Ms. Carr lost control of the interview even further as McMillin chewed her out for setting up an interview under false pretenses while not reporting that JPD officers were passing out handbills, which would be a violation of the law. WJTV said it would pursue McMillin's allegations about these actions by JPD officers, but never reported its findings.

One would think that if McMillin's allegations were unfounded, that WJTV would have jumped at the opportunity to prove him wrong. Since this story fell into a black hole at WJTV, one assumes that the Sheriff was correct.

It is obvious that this story was a hit piece on McMillin. WAPT, WLBT, The Clarion-Ledger, and the other Jackson media outlets ignored this story. It was mentioned briefly in some local internet forums. One should not be surprised by WJTV's tactics. They have earned the nickname The Axis of Melton for a reason. They have consistently ignored prominent stories that were less than flattering to Mr. Melton. McMillin's opponent, Tyrone Lewis, was backed by Mr. Melton, who hosted a fund-raiser for him at his home. Some of the more recent examples of WJTV's bias are:

The lack of coverage when Melton hosted a fund-raiser for Tyrone Lewis at his home. WLBT, WAPT, and The Jackson Free Press all gave coverage to this story. One would think that the Mayor hosting fund-raisers for an opponent of a popular Sheriff, a popular Sheriff who arrested him, would be newsworthy for WJTV. (See http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2007/07/melton-backs-sheriffs-opponent-part-of.html for commentary on the coverage of this story.)

The lack of coverage concerning Michael Taylor, Melton's young soljah who likes to display guns on Myspace, and his recent bouts with the law while associated with the mayor. (See http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2007/07/media-coverage-on-jacksons-youngest.html for additional commentary and coverage.)

Of course, while WJTV tries to take down the Sheriff for Mr. Lewis, it completely ignored Melton harboring Michael Taylor when he was a fugitive from the law (there were outstanding warrants for his arrest, see http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2007/07/meltons-protege-set-free-to-terrorize.html). When the Sheriff sent some deputies to pick up Taylor, who was at a gathering with Melton and JPD officers, Melton had JPD officers take Mr. Taylor away. There was no mention by WJTV of Mr. Melton keeping a thug from the authorities while it tried to attack Sheriff McMillin.

One must ask how long this broadcast blowjob of Melton by WJTV will continue. As its bias becomes more obvious, it ignores stories that are not favorable to Melton covered by the rest of the local media, while promoting stories that help Melton. It must be noted that the stories covered by WJTV are minute in terms of being newsworthy in comparison to the ones that are not favorable to Melton. These are the more recent examples of WJTV's bias as it has earned a reputation for pro-Melton Pravda-like coverage on several local internet forums. I didn't comment on this interview during the election because it was obvious it was a hit piece by WJTV on the Sheriff. The Sheriff was probably right when he said someone made a phone call to WJTV. The proof is in the pudding: no other media in Jackson covered this so-called story and WJTV did not provide additional coverage of the Sheriff's allegations concerning JPD officers.

One last question for WJTV: How thick are your kneepads?

Update: Just watched the interview again and noticed something. When McMillin twice said that his opposition had put WJTV up to these allegations, the info-boob didn't deny it either time. Interesting.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

How does it benefit WJTV to look the other way re: Melton? What is the motivation? What is the reward?

Every media outlet looks the other way. Including the Jackson Free Press.

Tom Head said...

I think you're being a little hard on WJTV, and here's why:

The alternative media and blogosphere frequently take the mainstream media to task for "ignoring" stories.

Thing is that the alternative media and blogosphere have the luxury of choosing stories because they are under no obligation to provide comprehensive coverage of everything. The C-L covers many more news items in a daily issue than the JFP does in a weekly issue. So of course if you have a situation where an editor can afford to sit down and go "What do I want to cover?," you're going to have a different scenario than you do when there are daily, rolling deadlines.

I used to bash the C-L something fierce, but I didn't have to spend much face time with C-L reporters to realize that I wasn't being fair. Daily papers, and daily TV media, are run in a different way than media that provide more long-term, targeted coverage, and even with the can't-miss stories, it's hard to remember to drain the swamp when you're up to your ass in alligators.

There are ways for citizens to participate in the MSM. I have had great success, over the years, in correcting potentially misleading content by calling the newsroom and pointing out my concerns. (Email does not work as well.)

Most journalists are good, intellectually curious people. But the busier ones do need to be nudged in the right direction sometimes, and it's better to do that privately before the fact than publicly after the fact.

Kingfish said...

I understand what you are saying. However, I'm seeing a pattern out of WJTV. That was nothing but a hit piece. No one else in the media made an issue out of it. Their non-coverage of certain things that have something to do with a certain individual certainly stands out.

I disagree with you about reporters. Most of the ones I have met, and their have been more than a few, have their journalism degrees and don't know much about anything. I have found them to be poorly read, not intellectually curious, and not that good in terms of writing ability.

I do know Donna Ladd is always putting down on their writing. You know what? She SHOULD be a better writer than the local ones. She has a Master's from Columbia, attended law school, wrote for the Village Voice. I expect her to be a better writer than most of the local ones just as I would expect anyone from the WSJ to writer better than any CL ones if one was to move to Jackson and write here.

What is driving much of the blogosphere is people who are truly educated and well-read are tired of the poorly educated reporters writing bad stories and missing obvious angles.

Tom Head said...

'Fish, I hear what you're saying, but if you compare the amount of stuff Donna writes in a week to the amount of stuff a full-time C-L reporter has to cover and write in a week, and take into account the fact that the C-L does not get to choose his/her stories, the comparison reaches apples:moon rocks territory.

Donna is of course an intelligent and talented journalist, but what she does has nothing to do with what the C-L reporters do. I trust that when Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel, he did not walk around Rome laughing at artists who only painted walls in one color because he knew they had to paint two or three houses a day, and he didn't.

As far as the C-L reporters go, I can think of five people I know from over there and I would not describe any of them as poorly educated or intellectually non-curious. I would describe them as busy.

Kingfish said...

We will respectfully disagree on this somewhat as I have a different view of reporters.

As for this story, yes, I was hard on the reporter but she needed it. She was very weak, asked stupid questions, apparently misrepresented herself to McMillin, and lost control of her interview. She deserved the criticism because I am sure her boss over at WJTV didn't criticize her as focused as they were on gotcha journalism.

As for WJTV, you are correct about story selection but I can also make note of a certain pattern that is appearing and question if it is true or not.

If you haven't noticed, I criticize all media at some point on this blog.

Tom Head said...

I agree that the interview warranted criticism, but I occasionally produce sucky content, too. See also George Lucas, Howard the Duck. Happens to the best of us. I would not view this as demonstrating any broader problems with the reporter, much less WJTV as a whole.


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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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