Friday, December 08, 2006

The Omaha Daily Fishwrap


In one final dig at the Pete Ricketts campaign, the Omaha World Herald came up with a rather idiotic way of assessing the spending for the ’06 Senate campaign (Ricketts spent three times as much per vote as Nelson – OWH – 12/7/06).

The final spending numbers came out, showing Ricketts spent about $12 million in his campaign to unseat incumbent Senator Ben Nelson, where Nelson spent about $7 million to defeat the political newcomer. Of course they left out the additional $2 million that the national Democrats spent on behalf of Nelson, where the national GOP did not spend on Ricketts. So that makes it approximately $12.7 million to $9.3 million right?

Well, no, the OWH presents it to you this way: Ricketts spent $60 per VOTE versus Nelson’s $19 per VOTE. As if Ricketts’ plan was to garner only 36%. Most normal media outlets would calculate per VOTER in such an analysis. If done correctly, it comes out that Ricketts spent, approximately, $21 per voter and Nelson spent approximately $15 per voter. That’s a hell of a lot different than what the OWH came up with, isn’t it?

And just so you Omahans who don’t read anything else can compare, take a look at the REPORTING on this story that Nate Jenkins of the Associated Press did (Campaign reports: Ricketts spent nearly twice as much as Nelson – LJS – 12/7/06). (However, we would also like to point out to Jenkins that he left out the $2M chucked in by the national Dems, and that when that amount is added in, it comes out that Ricketts spent more like 1.3 times more than Nelson -- not twice as much.) We’d also point out that Jenkins made the effort to reflect the Consumer Price index of 1988 dollars versus 2006 dollars when comparing the amount spent in the other high-priced Senate campaign – which the OWH again neglected to do.

This is a ridiculously asinine, biased and frankly unethical reporting of the news by the OWH. What is their motive? We guess it’s something along the lines of trying to shame candidates from spending huge amounts in a campaign (which Ricketts obviously did). (And that’s even being kind on our part, since their motive could rather be just to suck up to the newly elected Senator, who they biasedly supported all along.)

But hey, guess what? That’s not what the NEWS SECTION is for. At least it shouldn’t be. That’s why there’s an EDITORIAL page – so people can at least see, by definition, that the paper is expressing an opinion, as opposed to just reporting the news.

Papers and the other media can talk all day long about politicians being honest and ethical. But when the Omaha World Herald pulls this kind of crap, it’s time THEY get called on it. If only THEY could be voted out of office…

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

In addition to the biased Ricketts' coverage, we should still be talking about the World-Herald's endorsement of Democrat Scott Kleeb in the 3rd District contest.

The OWH's Kleeb endorsement was one of the most questionable decisions ever made by any Nebraska newspaper. And it brought into question the integrity of the OWH's editorial staff.

Here is why:

* The OWH's half-page endorsement hardly mentioned any of Kleeb's qualifications. It did, however, go out of its way to personally attack Republican Adrian Smith -- serving as in-kind contribution for Kleeb, the left winger.

* The OWH editorial was published nearly a month before Election Day, and on the morning of Smith & Kleeb's final debate (Oct. 15).

* The World-Herald’s endorsement was widely used in Kleeb's TV and radio advertisements, as well as in Kleeb's campaign literature delivered during the 72-hour get-out-the-vote efforts.

The editorial and its timing beg serious questions regarding the motives of the World-Herald editorial staff and OWH publisher John Gottschalk -- a close, longtime friend of Bob Kerry.

The OWH editorial staff and a few other elites decided to make the 3rd District race personal. How sweet it was to see the media kings so soundly rejected by the voters of "outstate" Nebraska.

The OWH endorsed the losing candidates in most of the state's major races. The paper continues to lose credibility in the Cornhusker State. Somewhere on Dodge Street, little tubby John Gottschalk should be sweating bullets.

-Ed Randolph

asecurityguard said...

Ed Randolph-
As I recall the OWH endorsed Heinemen, Terry and Fortenberry, all three of these won. They did endorse Nelson, he won. They did endorse Kleeb, but he lost my a much larger margin than most thought was going to happen. If a candidate does get an endorsement from a paper it is his own personal right to use it in a commercial if he so uses. Ricketts used articles from OWH news stories in some of his ads. And to everyone, how is the OWH so liberal based and biased??? They endorsed democrats and republicans and I dont have it with me right now, but I bet they endorsed more republicans than democrats.

Street Sweeper said...

Just so this conversation doesn't go skidding off in the wrong direction, let me refocus: While some may accuse the OWH of a "liberal" bias, I'm fairly certain that any real East or West Coast liberal would laugh at that assertion. What IS obvious, is that the OWH picks its issue or candidate, and then lets that opinion permeate their "news" stories as if it were fact.

Anonymous said...

SecurityGuard: The endorsements you reference came two days before the general election. Why would you attempt to defend the OWH's Kleeb endorsement, which came 24 days before the vote? Also, you have failed to recall the OWH primary endorsements(including the OWH's endorsement of John Hanson, David Kramer and Tom Osborne); you're not counting the endorsements in the other major state races (including the OWH endorsement of Kate Witek); and you forgot the state Legislature races, where the OWH endorsed mostly Democrats, including hardcore lefties like Bill Avery. The partisanship of the OWH editorial staff (Geitner Simmons, et.al.) is showing...

-Ed Randolph

Anonymous said...

Can anyone say "Cindy Gonzales". She made no effort toward writing an unbiased story for the South O sweetie Esch. I wonder if all those South O Dems will still like him after he moves into his $200,000 house in "New Little Italy". I hope he is not counting on any contributions from his new neighbors, once the new houses are up and all their taxes go up, they won't have a penny to spare for little Jimmy.

OmaSteak said...

Street Sweeper has it right when stating the OWH consistently has its editorial bias shape its "news" coverage. I think part of their motivation for this particular story is also a slap at candidates not spending enough of the millions on OWH ad space. In an era of declining subsriptions and readership, the OWH is working hard to convince the public that they are still valuable. Their coverage and endorsement of a candidate in any given race still does have a quantifiable impact, specially in local races without an incumbent. The local broadcast media are really no different except that their coverage is so limited. Does anyone think Joe Jordan from KMTV is unbiased in his reporting???

mom at home said...

Yes, I do think Joe Jordan is unbiased in his reporting. He goes after whomever has let their blood drip into the water and does not stop until the entire story, Chapters 1, 2, and 3, have been vetted. He seems to enjoy both Republican and Democrat candidates, equally. Frankly, he is probably the only decent reporter at channel 3 that still does stories (no anchoring).

It seems the only thing that hinders his desire to cover politics is his station management's lack of desire to allow him to do so.

Put it this way, I like his political coverage about half the time!

OmaSteak said...

Joe Jordan is as biased as they come. He is very "creative" in the editing bay. I know of candidates that would only speak with him if they were allowed to do their own audio/video recording of the complete interview.

Anonymous said...

So what side of the political bias do you feel convinced he is on?

Anonymous said...

The Omaha World Herald doesn’t have a liberal bias. It has a personal bias. And that’s worse.

Like an over-indulged only child, operating without competition, the newspaper doesn’t care about differences between editorial ooinion and news reporting.

Not unlike Josep Goebbles’ Press, the World-Herald has a captive audience that keeps sticking dollars into the Publisher’s pocket regardless what he publishes. And thus do facts, truth and the paper’s opinion meld into ethical meaninglessness.

Without the stress of completion to keep it healthy, the Omaha World-Herald is a degenerate newspaper that acts as an anchor on that which it should buoy.

Anonymous said...

In Republican-vs-Dem contests for the Legislature, the only Democrat the Herald endorsed this year was Kent Rogert, who faced Bush (who was so discredited he received no help from the state GOP).

The commenter said the Herald endorsed Bill Avery, but that's not correct at least in terms of the fall contest. Swanson got the paper's endorsement this fall, as did Ojeda in his contest. It's a major setback that both those lost to the Democratic opponents. The same in regard to Stothert (endorsed by the paper), who is behind Lathrop. Stothert ought to file a formal complaint over some of the provisional ballots. A lot of GOP activists know how questionable the Democrat-manipulated ballots were in that contest. Is Steve Grasz the main one helping Stothert with legal advice on that? I believe he is.