Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nebraska Watch Dog Joe Jordan's Yellow Journalism

We pretty much choose not to criticize or pay much heed to local area bloggists and reporters, with some exceptions. Today, we just can't refrain from taking exception with 'Nebraska Watchdog' Joe Jordan.

Jordan whose 'watchdog' efforts are financed by conservatives seems intent at letting his anti-conservative personal philosophies dominate his latest iteration of 'journalism'. Jordan's efforts at 'investigative reporting' and asking politically tough questions over the the years while he was employed at KMTV are no stranger to Omaha politicos and there is nothing wrong with investigative reporting or asking tough questions but years of observation would seem to substantiate that Jordan's journalism shows an obvious bias against conservatives. We'd go further and say his style is not journalism but 'yellow journalism' (see definition below). The latest example is today's 'Watchdog' piece, "News Update: Video Special: Bruning Lashes Out As Criticism Mounts‏."

Yesterday, Jordan covered Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination Jon Bruning's appearance before the Republican Forum held at Anthony's Restaurant in Omaha. Several of our contributors were in the room and heard the same things that Jordan did so we are not offended when Jordan repeats what actually happened:

"Bruning told a roomful of Omaha Republicans that Stenberg is a Senate also-ran. “He can’t win,” said Bruning. According to Bruning both Stenberg and a 3rd Republican in the race, Schuyler businessman Pat Flynn,” are not going to beat Ben Nelson.”" Fact, that is what Bruning said and unlike Jordan we'll tell you that we agree. But for Jordan, who obviously has a bias against Bruning, he just goes on to tell folks what Stenberg says. "Stenberg’s campaign tells Nebraska Watchdog that Stenberg, who lost to Nelson by just 2 points in 2000, already leads Nelson in some polls." Somehow Jordan fails to acknowledge that Bruning leads Nelson in the same poll by a substantially higher number.

When Bruning told the attendees of Nelson's fund raising efforts and methods, i.e., raising more than $500 million from special interest groups and intimidating donors to give to him and not his opponents, Jordan just comes up with a shot at Bruning courtesy of the Nelson campaign, ""A spokesman for Nelson’s campaign says it’s Bruning who uses his office for “pay to play politics.”" But does Jordan do anything to actually 'investigate' Brunings charges? NO. Does Jordan make an issue of the huge amount raised by Nelson from PACs? NO.

As his final biased effort to go after Bruning, Jordan has to bring up the comments made by Bruning about his then finance chairman David Sokol after the Berkshire-Hathaway Lubrizol details surfaced. Interestingly, Bruning didn't mention the issue at all during his presentation at the forum nor was he questioned about it. To further lay it on Bruning, Jordan then brings up an editorial by the Omaha World-Herald taking Bruning to task over the issue. We've already expressed our opinion that Bruning's quick defense of Sokol might have been a little hasty and that we hope he will be more tempered in responding in the future. But none of what Bruning said yesterday had anything to do with Sokol. Jordan simply wanted to raise the issue, again showing his bias against Bruning. And unlike us, Jordan doesn't have the guts to overtly tell us his opinion even though it's less than veiled under his yellow journalism guise of 'reporting'.

If Jordan wants to be a columnist he should simply give up the mantra of being a reporter. If Jordan wants to be a reporter he should give up the bias he shows in his 'reporting'.

P.S. defines 'yellow journalism' as:

Yellow Journalism Law & Legal Definition

"Yellow journalism is the type of journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates news to create sensations and attract readers. This method of journalism is used to increase circulation. However, news provided in yellow circulations is not given high news value by authorities. It is mostly considered as inflammatory and irresponsible reporting. Newspapers that practice yellow journalism are called yellow press. Now a days, yellow journalism is considered as an unprofessional or unethical practice."

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