Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kudos to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on ACORN Coverage

Editor & Publisher has published an article on the media coverage of ACORN, "Have the media 'falsely framed' ACORN," by Christopher R. Martin and Peter Dreier. There is an interesting section on the Pittsburgh newspaper:

Ed Blazina, who works on the local news desk at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, had a similar experience. “It was a national issue,” Blazina said about the allegations of voter registration fraud. “When we checked locally we found there were some concerns.” But, after contacting the director of the Allegheny County Elections Division director and local ACORN representatives, they found that “ACORN people weren’t encouraging people to commit fraud,” Blazina said. “In fact, they were turning in false ones for Allegheny County, and separating them into two piles”—one for good registrations and one with bad registrations they flagged. The Post-Gazette ran a front-page story the day before the election reporting the election director “said concerns nationally about ACORN producing thousands of improper voter registration cards barely caused a blip here.”

Instead of presenting the conservative framing of the story, perhaps with competing truth claims, the three local newspapers went directly to county election officials and verified the most essential facts of the story—whether the accusations against ACORN were true and whether any of the alleged voter registration problems would have an impact on the election. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, the national news media didn’t do this. However, the Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Minneapolis newspapers, using sources outside of the D.C. Beltway and in their community to verify the story, were much less susceptible than the national news media to the “panic” about voter fraud.

This kind of local coverage is what we lose when city newspapers cut staff or close.

(h/t Suburban Guerilla)

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