Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Walter Dobius’

September’s Yellow Journalism Award Winner

Posted by sanityinjection on September 17, 2008

Although the month of September is only half completed, we already have a clear winner of the Sanity Injection Walter Dobius Yellow Journalism Award. (The award bears the name of the arrogant, disingenuous, totally biased but highly infuential and respected journalist in Allen Drury’s award winning political novel, “Advise and Consent”.)

This month’s winner is CNN’s Jack Cafferty. Cafferty, who fancies himself as CNN’s version of Andy Rooney, has a history of offensive commentary, having earned the ire of Arabs and Chinese in his previous blatherings.

Lately, Cafferty has been blogging about the Presidential race. In his latest opus, dated yesterday, Cafferty references a perfectly reasonable article by Time’s Michael Grunwald discussing the role of race in the campaign and why Barack Obama has been reluctant to whine about racism among the voting public (article here:,8599,1841109,00.html). Cafferty’s contribution to this topic is to openly state that racism is the biggest factor in this election and that it is the only reason why Barack Obama isn’t way ahead in the polls. He further implies that there could be no sensible ground on which someone could prefer John McCain to Obama other than racism – which will come as news to Senator McCain’s African-American supporters.

However, the Dobius Award is never based on just one piece of writing. A perusal of Cafferty’s CNN blog ( shows a wealth of entries with no sign of any commentary that wouldn’t feel at home in the Obama campaign’s talking points. Consider the following titles: “McCain V.P. pick younger, less experienced than Obama”; “Was Palin properly vetted to be McCain’s V.P.?”; “Should McCain consider replacing Palin?”; “Does Palin help or hurt McCain?”; “Clinton v. Palin: Who has more credibility?” And that’s just within the last two weeks. A look at Cafferty’s blog categories indicates 2,599 blogs in the “Barack Obama” category, but only 1,659 in the “John McCain”: category. That is 56% more mentions for the Democratic candidate.

Cafferty’s motivations for deliberately skewing his “commentary” seem clear: He was originally a supporter of the Iraq war, then turned against it, believing that the Bush Administration deceived the country (and more importantly, Jack Cafferty.) In other words, he had to admit he was wrong about something, and blames the Bush Administration for it. His wholehearted embrace of the “anti-war” candidate, Barack Obama, is both his way of trying to cover up his mistake and of punishing Bush and the Republicans.

None of this would be a problem if CNN presented Cafferty’s comments as what they are: Taken right from the Obama campaign’s talking points, and balanced them with a similarly partisan Republican commentator. (Cafferty is, after all, free to express his opinions.) The problem is that neither Cafferty nor CNN is willing to acknowledge Cafferty’s naked bias – rather, he is presented as a presumably objective journalistic voice with no counterpoint.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge that Cafferty has recently suffered the loss of his wife. I considered delaying the announcement of this award so as not to kick a man when he’s down, but his latest offense is against the very nature of democratic elections. Are we to be coerced into voting for a minority candidate under the threat of being labeled racist if we do not? Or, as a blogger recently stated bluntly, “From now on I’ll only disagree with Obama’s white half, OK?”

Congratulations to the recipient and the network that supports him. I hope they consider it a “dobius” distinction 🙂

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